Three opportunities to meet offline

Dear Futurists,

One side-effect of Covid is that all of us have learned how to benefit from online meetings.

I regard the set of online webinars hosted by London Futurists since March 2020 as a veritable treasure trove. People located all over the globe were able to interact in real time. Video recordings of these online events have been viewed, in several cases, many thousands of times.

However, there can be benefits of a different kind from meetings that are, instead, offline. These meetings take place in real-world lecture halls, meeting rooms, networking breakouts, and so on.

In this newsletter, I’ll share news of three different offline events happening soon. In each case, they’re an opportunity for members and friends of London Futurists to meet face-to-face.

These events are taking place in, respectively, London, Madrid, and Paris.

1.) Future Impact Summit – London, 29-30 Oct

“The future starts here.”

That’s the headline message of the Future Impact Summit, which is being organised and hosted by friends of London Futurists among former and present students of the LSE.

The Summit is taking place in physical meeting rooms in the New Academic Building (“NAB”) on the LSE campus in Central London.

As you can see, the Summit contains eight panels, spread over two days. There will also be a food fair at lunchtimes, and a VR and Tech Expo in the early evening.

I anticipate many highlights over the two days. For example, the “Humanity Upgraded” panel will feature renowned transhumanists Elise Bohan and Zoltan Istvan, as well as yours truly.

To attend, you’ll need to register in advance on the Future Impact Summit site.

The ticket cost includes admission to all the panels and expo, as well as the lunchtime food both days.

The tickets cost UKP £50 for members of the general public. However, members of London Futurists who RSVP Yes for this event before Friday will be sent (within 24 hours) a code to use while registering that will reduce the cost to £35.

To RSVP and receive this discount code, click here.

2.) TransVision Paris, 18-20 Nov

“Divergence or diversity?”

That’s the theme of this year’s international transhumanist TransVision conference being organised by AFT – Technoprog and taking place in Paris on 18-20 November.

The organisers state that their aim is to highlight the diversity of transhumanism:

  • Identifying the many questions which create divergences within the international transhumanist movement
  • Making explicit the rich complexity of the movement
  • Understanding what is at stake with the various divisions and tensions.

The event will bring together several dozen thinkers and researchers, including many of the world’s most influential transhumanists, as well as several of their intellectual opponents.

This symposium also aims to allow the French-speaking public to hear and address the speakers, so that they can better understand the reality and dynamism of transhumanist thought.

Note: The symposium will take place two days (Friday and Saturday) in French and one day (Sunday) in English. Simultaneous translations will be provided on the third day to allow the public to follow all the discussions.

You can obtain tickets for all three days, for two days, or just for one.

The prices are in any case low for this event, but they are even lower if you book before Friday (28 Oct)!

3.) TransVision Madrid, 12-13 Nov

Continuing with the theme of diversity, this year there will be two different TransVision conferences, with different angles.

One week before the event in Paris (see previous news item), many friends of transhumanism will be gathering in Madrid. Presentations, panels, and workshops will take place on 12th and 13th of November. Optionally, attendees can also sign up for another two days of cultural and sightseeing activities, on the 10th and 11th of November.

The theme of this conference is biostasis (cryopreservation) and other future technologies.

These talks will all be in English.

You’ll find lots more details on the TransVision Madrid website.

4.) Foresight page on Vital Syllabus

If you’ve not looked at the Vital Syllabus pages recently, I encourage you to check out the Foresight page there. That has filled out considerably over the last two weeks.

(The image shown above is an example taken from that page.)

That page still has lots of gaps, but it has grown in usefulness compared to before.

As always with the Vital Syllabus, I welcome:

  • Feedback on the existing content
  • Suggestions for additional content to be added.

To provide any feedback or suggestions, follow the links on the Vital Syllabus Connect page, where you’ll find (among other things) an invitation to a Discord server dedicated to the Vital Syllabus.

5.) Ten Not Out – London Futurists Podcast

This morning, London Futurists Podcast reached a notable milestone: our tenth episode was released.

The latest episode: “Collapsing AGI timelines, with Ross Nordby”.

Initially, co-hosts Calum Chace and I thought we would be releasing episodes every two weeks. But due to the strong interest in our show – both from listeners and from potential guests – we have increased our frequency to one new episode every week.

You can find our podcasts wherever you normally receive your other podcasts: Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google, and more.

Beyond the ten episodes that have already been released, we have two more awaiting release, and several more lined up for recording.

If you listen to an episode and like it, please do indicate your support online, by subscribing, rating, and/or leaving a review. Thanks!

6.) State of AI Report, 2022

Many of the topics covered in London Futurists Podcast episodes (see previous news item) also feature in the exceptionally interesting “State of AI Report, 2022” that has just been released.

The Report is produced by AI investors Nathan Benaich and Ian Hogarth. Before being released, it is carefully reviewed by a panel of industry experts. That’s one reason why it is so useful.

Among the many good features of that report, it offers measurable predictions each year, for what can be expected in the following year. The image above contain the report’s predictions for the next 12 months. Don’t worry if these predictions contain language or terms that you don’t understand: earlier slides in the report provide context, as well as numerous links to recommended background reading.

The report also candidly assesses how well predictions from previous years fared.

In case it’s not clear, let me emphasise: I believe everyone interested in the current state of AI, as well as potential future developments, owes it to themselves to work through that report.

To get you started, you can find an executive summary in this Twitter thread.

The section of the report on AI Safety – 13 slides – are particularly worth study.

7.) Superseding GDP – Inviting panellists

It’s commonly accepted that there are many drawbacks to the prominence given to one measurement of the supposed vitality of the economy: GDP – Gross Domestic Product.

Two articles that make the case for altering or even dumping GDP are:

The reason I mention this is that I am planning an online webinar on the subject of “Transcending GDP” (name subject to change).

I’m inviting expressions of interest from people who believe they have something distinctive to say on that matter. Please get in touch.

Note: I’m not looking for people who can point out drawbacks to the GDP. These drawbacks are already well known. Instead, I’m looking for people who can address:

  • Which of the (many) proposed alternatives to GDP are most desirable?
  • Why, despite its drawbacks, is GDP still so dominant?
  • What factors could accelerate GDP being transcended by a new measure, either locally, nationally, or globally?

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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