Normally the start of a London Futurists event features me speaking for a few minutes as chair of the session before I hand over to the main speaker for the day. But at our webinar tomorrow, Saturday 2nd October, I’ll be handing over to myself, as it were – switching from my London Futurists hat to my Transhumanist UK hat. In that different guise, I’ll be providing the scene-setting presentation for the event on “A new future for politics”. Read on for the details, as well as for information about other projects that may interest you.
1.) Transhumanism 2024?
The ideas behind the proposed “Transhumanism 2024” project are as follows:
- Technology is about to change everything – for good and for ill
- Technology is about to change numerous aspect of city life
- We need to get ahead of technology, and steer it in beneficial directions
- Done well, a city can experience profound social progress as a result
- But most politicians are distracted from these issues, or misunderstand them
- They’re focussing on present-day issues, rather than on near-future ones
- Failing to anticipate is, in many cases, anticipating to fail
- So let’s elevate the discussion of these technology opportunities and risks
- If one party focuses intensely on these issues, others will need to respond
- This could be done in the run-up to the UK mayoral (city) elections in 2024.
The basic message of the campaign (as presently conceived – but it’s still very early days) is “Steering Technology for Profound Social Progress”. In turn, this could be broken down into a number of individual proposals, as illustrated in this picture.
At the London Futurists event tomorrow (Saturday), I’ll be offering some context, and then briefly describing each of the 15 proposals in the picture. I’ll also be raising some practical topics.
At that point, I’ll be looking for feedback from members of the audience, who I will be inviting to “come onto the stage”, as it were. Tony Czarnecki, Managing Director of Sustensis, is preparing one response, and I’m sure other attendees will have valuable comments and suggestions too.
2.) How AI will transform everything – Sat 16th Oct
As I was just saying, technology is about to change everything – for good and for ill.
One of the most disruptive aspects of technology is artificial intelligence. Martin Ford, a futurist and New York Times best-selling author, has just released a new book with the title “Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence will Transform Everything”. That book has some very powerful commendations, including from Erik Brynjolfsson, Stuart Russell, Judea Pearl, Tyler Cowen, and James Manyika.
Martin will be joining London Futurists on Saturday 16th October to highlight key themes from this new book and to answer audience questions. For more details, and to register to take part, click here.
3.) Audio versions of chapters from Vital Foresight
A number of you have been asking me about the availability of an audio version of my own latest book, Vital Foresight. I’ve not been in a hurry to start narrating the content of the book, in view of its considerable size (220 thousand words, oops; a previous book of mine, Sustainable Superabundance, took me long enough to narrate, and was only 56,000 words long).
However, based on a suggestion from Brian Hall, I’ve ran parts of the content into some artificial intelligence software. The result, whilst not quite as good as a skilled human voice artist, was better than I was expecting.
(Hmm, maybe artificial intelligence really will transform everything…)
For the time being, I’m uploading the chapters, as soon as they become available, onto this webpage, for free access.
For your convenience, here are the Preface and Chapter 1, Scenarios.
If required, the audio files can be downloaded via the three-dot buttons at the end of the audio controller.
In case you’re wondering why that AI has not yet produced audio files for the entire book, I can let you into the secret that a fair amount of human pre- and post-processing is still needed, with the setup I am currently using.
4.) Landmines – the latest contribution to Vital Syllabus
In parallel with creating direct audio copies of material from Vital Foresight, I’m also (as many of you know) converting some of the same material into video versions, for inclusion in the Vital Syllabus educational project that has spun out from the book.
The newest video in that project has appeared on its Landmines page:
- What are the biggest risks (“landmines”) to the wellbeing of humanity over the next two decades? And how might these risks be addressed?
The video is entitled “Introduction to Landmines”. Here’s a copy:
I hope you’ll find it interesting.
5.) See you in Madrid?
If you’re in the neighbourhood, let me know, so we can meet up – suitably socially distanced, but close enough to have a good talk!
// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists