Deepening the foresight conversation

Dear Futurists,

Regular readers of this newsletter will know that I’m keen to find ways to extend and deepen the ground-breaking discussions that often take place in London Futurists webinars.

These webinars draw to a close after 90 minutes, often with important ideas hanging in the air. What’s the best way to follow-up at least some of these unfinished conversation items?

I’ve tried a number of different approaches in the past, but will be trying something a bit different for the next few meetings – starting with the one this Saturday.

I’ll describe this new experiment in a moment. But first, a reminder of the topics being addressed by our next three webinars.

1.) The Future of Transhumanist Studies – Sat 31st July

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working through the online course Introduction to Transhumanism that was created by our speaker on Saturday, Humanity+ Executive Director Natasha Vita-More.

It’s a course that skilfully dispels many of the misunderstandings and confusions that sometime spread about transhumanism. It also makes clear why the transhumanist worldview is especially relevant in the present time of multiple fast changes in society.

By the way, if you’re unsure about the meaning of transhumanism, this is from the Transhumanist FAQ which is maintained by the Humanity+ organisation:

Transhumanism is a way of thinking about the future that is based on the premise that the human species in its current form does not represent the end of our development but rather a comparatively early phase…

Transhumanism can be viewed as an extension of humanism, from which it is partially derived. Humanists believe that humans matter, that individuals matter. We might not be perfect, but we can make things better by promoting rational thinking, freedom, tolerance, democracy, and concern for our fellow human beings. Transhumanists agree with this but also emphasize what we have the potential to become. Just as we use rational means to improve the human condition and the external world, we can also use such means to improve ourselves, the human organism. In doing so, we are not limited to traditional humanistic methods, such as education and cultural development. We can also use technological means that will eventually enable us to move beyond what some would think of as ‘human’.

On Saturday, Natasha will be sharing her views on the need for Transhumanist Studies, the course material that’s already available, the roadmap for new courses, and how people can become involved in this important project. She’ll also be answering audience questions on the past, present, and future of transhumanism.

For more details about the event, and for the links to register to attend, click here.

2.) Inventing World 3.0 – Evolutionary Ethics for AI – Sat 7th Aug

Our event on Saturday 7th August will feature Matthew James Bailey of AIethics.world – the author of the new book Inventing 3.0: Evolutionary Ethics for Artificial Intelligence.

Matthew’s book presents a comprehensive proposal for how human civilisation can advance beyond the limitations it faces today, into a future that honours the precious gift of all forms of intelligence and life. The “World 3.0” that is envisioned is a future where the human mindset has grown in its maturity, and where all peoples of the earth and our environment flourish.

Key to this transformation, in this proposal, is the emergence and liberation of an Evolutionary AI with a rich ethical digital mindset – an artificial intelligence that is dedicated to honour our humanity and sovereignty, and is committed to assist humankind leap beyond the challenges of today and liberated into new freedoms.

This can also be described as “a configurable Singularity for humankind.”

For more details of this event, and for the links to register to attend, click here.

3.) The Science and Technology of Growing Young – Sat 21st Aug

Our speaker on Saturday 21st August will be Sergey Young – an investor with experience spanning over 20 years, which includes managing a $2 billion private equity fund.

Sergey has set the following mission for himself: to extend the healthy lifespans of one billion people. He is the founder of the $100M Longevity Vision Fund – one of the few funds specializing exclusively in longevity and helping to accelerate longevity breakthroughs. He is also the Development Sponsor of Age Reversal XPRIZE, a global initiative designed to cure aging and age-related diseases.

That’s not all. Sergey sits on the Board of Directors of the American Federation of Aging Research (AFAR). He is also a Financial Advisory Board member of the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Longevity, which is helping to shape the UK’s national life extension strategy.

And… Sergey is the author of the book whose ideas will be under discussion at this event: The Science and Technology of Growing Young.

For more details of this event, and for the links to register to attend, click here.

4.) Deepening the foresight conversation

For all three of the events just mentioned, the formal part of the gathering will conclude after 90 minutes (that is, around 5.30pm UK time), but everyone in the Zoom audience at that time will be welcome to stay in the Zoom room as it transforms into a different mode.

In that new mode, everyone who stays will be raised to the status of “panellist”, meaning that your mics and (if you wish) your cameras can be turned on.

That will happen after a 5-10 minute comfort break, with nothing happening on screen at that time (apart from a holding display).

By this stage, the webinar recording and live-streaming will have been switched off, to help encourage a freer exchange of views.

I’ll then be looking for people to make spoken comments of up to one or two minutes in length on any combination of:

  • What they particularly liked about the event
  • What they would like to add into the discussion
  • What they suggest as a follow-up after the event

I’ll aim to invite people to speak in the order in which they raise their virtual hands (an indication that they wish to speak). I’ll try to give everyone who wishes to speak a chance to speak at least once before anyone speaks twice, and so on.

In parallel with that audio/video discussion, the text chat can continue too.

I expect to close down the entire session after around 40 minutes of the informal part. But let’s see how things go!

5.) Recording of our most recent event: Anticipating a sea-change

Our event held on 18th July, featuring SENS founder and Chief Science Officer Aubrey de Grey, was something very special. That’s what I heard from many who took part in it, or who watched the recording subsequently.

If you haven’t seen it already, here’s a link to the recording. Enjoy!

6.) Survey on the Future of the Crypto Economy

What are your views on the future of cryptocurrencies?

Friends of London Futurists, Fast Future, are conducting a study into that topic, in partnership with the communications agency Fire on the Hill.

If you have invested in any cryptocurrencies, or have obtained some cryptotokens for any other purpose, or are just thinking about doing either of these things, Fast Future invite you to take part in an online survey. It should take you between 10 to 20 minutes to complete it.

As a gesture of appreciation for sharing your views, everyone taking the survey will be invited to select a free eBook from the Fast Future bookstore.

You may find that some of the questions don’t directly apply to you. In that case, feel free to skip them. Overall, you’ll probably find the questions to be stimulating and thought-provoking.

The survey is open until August 18th.

Once the study has been completed, some of the findings will be included in a future London Futurists newsletter – and (subject to suitable scheduling) in one of our webinars.

That will be another way of extending and deepening the foresight discussion.

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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