The Good Generation

Dear Futurists,

1.) The Good Generation

The Good Generation is a plan for the whole world to agree on a new set of values, virtues and skills that every country on earth will teach its children. This way, we’ll raise a new generation that makes the world work.

That paragraph is an excerpt from the website of Simon Anholt, the speaker at the London Futurists event taking place tomorrow (Saturday 28th November).

Simon’s project “The Good Generation” is one of several vital topics that will feature in tomorrow’s discussion.

In preparation for that discussion, I’ve been listening to the audio version of Simon’s latest book. The first thing to say about that book is that it’s a very human book. The narrative drew me in and held my attention, as it featured numerous personal encounters from around the world – comic mishaps, gentle misunderstandings, flashes of recognition, friendships forged, insights emerging, and lots more.

I found myself comparing mental notes from my own encounters with remarkable people during my personal travels – Bhutan, Iceland, Finland, Kazakhstan…

But this book, The Good Country Equation, is far more than an uplifting travelogue. As I listened, I started jotting down a number of ideas on an A4 piece of paper. With each new chapter – especially toward the end of the book, as it gathered together threads of ideas from previous sections – my set of notes grew denser, and now cover five full pages of A4.

One key takeaway from the book is a proposal (as in its subtitle) for “how we can repair the world in one generation”.

Simon and I will be discussing this proposal in tomorrow’s webinar. To watch it live, and to be in a situation where you can raise your questions for Simon to answer in real time, follow this link to the meetup page, which will in turn prompt you to register for a Zoom session.

As usual, if the Zoom registrations slots have all been taken by the time you try to connect, you’ll also be able to watch a live stream of the event on the London Futurists YouTube channel.

2.) The pandemic that should never have happened

My thanks go to Debora MacKenzie, the speaker at our most recent London Futurists event, for being such a compelling speaker on a topic of great importance – what we can, and should, learn from humanity’s encounters with pandemics (especially the ongoing Covid-19 crisis).

If you missed watching it live – or if you would like to refresh your memory of some of the many strands of important discussion – the video recording is now available.

3.) The ethics of the abolition of aging

Will anti-aging technologies impact society for better or for worse?

That’s the subject I’ll be speaking about on Monday, 30th November, to a meeting jointly hosted by the Oxford Society of Aging and Longevity and Effective Altruism Oxford.

Topics I’ll be addressing include:

  • Implications for over-population and climate change
  • Implications for social fluidity: the perils of “immortal dictators”
  • The risk of distracting attention from projects that will deliver wider benefits
  • Economic considerations: the Longevity Dividend
  • Scenarios in which breakthrough new technologies increase social inequality
  • Possible loss of meaning if life stretches out endlessly ahead
  • Thinking clearly when the terror of death lurks deep in our minds
  • Options to increase the benefits and to avoid the risks

For more details, and to sign up (attendance is free), see this Eventbrite page.

4.) The future of implantables

The speaker at a London Futurists event earlier this year, Anna Luisa Schaffgotsch of Impli, has been in touch with some news that I believe will interest many of you.

Here’s what she has to say:

The last time Impli visited London Futurists, we presented our vision for the future of implantables. Engaged in an interactive discussion, we had a chance to express the strong beliefs and the potential of implantables, to not only make life more convenient and safer, but also revolutionize the way we harness health data.

So what happened next? And where are Impli and implantables now?

Amongst COVID-19 lockdowns and the diverse theories involving (or possibly evolving) the implantable space, we have managed to launch our product ImpliCaspian to market. Our vision has gotten closer to a reality:

  1. We have partnered with GetADrip, a company that allows our customers to get their ImpliCaspian under the supervision of experienced nurses.
  2. Our strong commitment to provide security for our customer’s data has been achieved with the help of CircaGene, a company that enables us to use fast homomorphic encryption to secure our platform and ensure data integrity.

The demand for a safe and reliable way to store personal health data, accessible at any time, has never been greater. We have seen traction from the general public and specifically commuters as well as people with specific medical conditions such as diabetes or allergies.

Our future milestones lie in the advancement of our sensor-based hardware products and our data platform and analytics. We at Impli want to enable each individual to access their own health information and provide a safe platform to make use of it.

If, like us, you share the belief that implantables can play a crucial role in shaping the future of healthcare and the control of our personal data, visit our website and follow us on social media. You can also get an implant from one of the two GetADrip centres in BoxPark, Shoreditch and Westfields, White City.

5.) Foresight and Radio Drama

In 2016, long-term futurist Tony Diggle produced a play he had written in honour of the four hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death entitled “A Kingdom for a Stage” at the Chelsea Theatre. Subsequently, a radio version of the play was made.

What has this to do with foresight you may ask?

One of the wellsprings for the play was the idea of the bard coming back to London today and finding that not much had really changed. In one respect the play seems to have been a little more prescient than was intended with the “outbreak of plague” that happened regularly in Shakespeare’s day. Also, at the end of the play, Shakespeare recalls his horror at how things went after his death, looks ahead to the great plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666, and challenges the audience to do better with their future. We might read in a pandemic worse than Covid-19 and climate change for these events if we don’t get our act together.

At any rate, the radio version of the play is going to be broadcast again on the free spoken-word 24/7 radio station Act I will be broadcast on Friday, 27th November (today) at 12noon, 8pm and 4am the following day, and Act 2 will be broadcast on Saturday, 28th November at the same times. Each act lasts an hour. All you need to do to listen to go the website and click on “Listen Now”.

6.) Neurotech 2020

I’ll finish this newsletter with a quick reminder about Neurotech 2020, which is taking place each day from 4pm to 7pm GMT for the ten non-weekend days from 30th November to 11th December.

Here’s how the event is described:

Are you a biohacker, scientist, investor, AI enthusiast or meditator? Do you want to learn more about biometrics, increase your brain power, invest in the industry and optimize your health? Then join us online.

The event is free to attend, though there’s also an option to purchase a VIP ticket with additional benefits.

My presentation at Neurotech 2020 will take place on Tuesday 8th December. The title of my talk will be “From enhanced phones to enhanced brains”. Here’s the abstract:

Over the last twenty years, mobile phones have grown enormously more capable. Virtually every aspect of human life has been transformed as a result. Over the next twenty years, a similar transformation may take place, not in the devices we hold in our hands, but in the operation of the brains inside our skulls. What are the lessons from the remarkable successes – and many failures – of the smartphone industry, for the emerging neurotech industry?

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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