Reinventing democracy, reinventing education

Dear Futurists,

1.) Reinventing democracy

“An evolved system of liberal government that incorporates direct citizen participation in policy decision-making, while adopting and using human-centric automation technologies to provide equal opportunities for personal and collective growth and economic development.”

That’s how George Zarkadakis describes the concept of “Cyber Republic” which he’ll be reviewing at tomorrow’s (Saturday) London Futurists event.

The idea is nothing less than the reinvention of democracy.

George is an Artificial Intelligence engineer and author. He is the Digital Lead of Willis Towers Watson, an international business consulting firm, where he leads the Future of Work practice in Great Britain.

George is also a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a bipartisan political think-tank in Washington.

George has authored several fiction and non-fiction books, including In Our Own Image, published by Penguin in 2015, where he explored the possibility of conscious machines.

To give you an idea of the topics likely to be covered in tomorrow’s event, here are the chapter titles from his most recent book:

  1. Democracy Versus Liberalism
  2. Machines That Think
  3. A World Without Work
  4. Machines at the Helm
  5. A New World Order
  6. Citizen Assemblies
  7. AI For Good
  8. The Web of Everything
  9. Democratizing the AI Economy
  10. Scaling A Polis

To watch the event live, and to be in a situation where you can raise your questions for George 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.) Reinventing education

The London Futurists event last Saturday, 28th November, with speaker Simon Anholt, also featured some proposals for radical reinvention:

  1. Transforming the way countries interact in the world
  2. Transforming the principles and values that lie at the heart of education.

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

I had the pleasure to speak on Monday, 30th November, to a meeting jointly hosted by the Oxford Society of Aging and Longevity and Effective Altruism Oxford. The full event was recorded. Here’s a copy:

One line of questions in this event was whether:

  • to work on improving treatments for infectious diseases that are still killing far too many people around the world – diseases such as diphtheria, hepatitis B and meningitis
  • or instead to prioritise addressing the possible root causes of all age-related chronic diseases.

My answer was that human society needs to do both. For an example of what looks like a great initiative in the first category, read on.

4.) Keeping vaccines active longer

Friend of London Futurists, Mike Halsall, has drawn my attention to Ideabatic, whose mission is “keeping vaccines active”. Here’s an extract from their website:

Here at Ideabatic, we are driven by a single goal; giving every person a chance at life. Vaccines are often damaged by temperature fluctuations in the crucial ‘last mile’ of their journey.

​Current carriers are, at best, inefficient cool boxes.

SMILE, our Smart Last-mile Cooling System, a freeze-free and fail-safe carrier that will allow us to transport these life-saving vaccines using our SMILE technology.

We want to help eradicate debilitating diseases such as diphtheria, hepatitis B and meningitis for the next generation of children everywhere. SMILE could also facilitate and strengthen our cold-chain logistics for pandemic response globally such as for COVID-19.

We aim to change this by preserving vaccines and protecting humanity in the difficult last mile of life. 

Let’s work together to reach out to every one. 

For more information about Ideabatic and SMILE, click the picture:

5.) The metro map of transhumanism

The second episode of the new audio podcast Humanity Unshackled has just been released. This podcast series features the ideas and projects of Transhumanist UK – “a technoprogressive activist organisation, committed to positive social change through technology”.

The guest on this episode is Transhumanist UK co-founder Chris Monteiro, who is also the originator of the diagram shown above – a diagram which Humanity Unshackled host Rusty Burridge has dubbed “the subway metro map of transhumanism”.

The idea of the diagram – as covered in the show episode – is to assist the classification of the different ideas and practices within the broad spectrum of transhumanism and related initiatives.

If you think you’ve seen the diagram before, but can’t remember where: it features as one of the main entry pages to the online wiki H+Pedia.

As the notes for the show state,

H+Pedia is a collaborative volunteer project. Transhumanist UK encourages our friends and supporters to help update and improve the information it contains. Every little helps!

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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