TechXLR8 Futurist Summit

Advice from 2023

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If your future self, in the year 2023, could send a message for you to consider now, in 2018, what would the content be?

The TechXLR8 Futurist Summit will feature a range of technologists and researchers who will share their best guesses at the advice our future selves might wish to transmit back to us, five years earlier. Which technological trends have the potential to deliver the most surprise? How might society react to these trends? What disruptive changes could take place in the attitudes of consumers, business partners, legislators, and political leaders? Which present-day buzzwords will prove to be the most exaggerated and distracting? Which emerging threats and opportunities deserve the most attention, as we set out on the journey from the present day towards 2023? And how should we prepare for these potential gales of transformation ahead?

At the Futurist Summit you’ll be able to witness a series of TED-style talks, “Advice from 2023”, interspersed with rapid Q&A that draws out the interplay and the contrasts between the different speakers. The speakers will highlight ways in which businesses and organisation in 2023 won’t simply be operating the same way as today (except faster and cheaper), but might feature radically different practices and goals.

(This page contains a longer version of the description of this event on London Futurists meetup site.)


The Futurist Summit will run from 12:40 to 16:00 on Thursday 14th June on the main stage of TechXLR8.

12.40: Chair’s welcome – David Wood
12.50: Rediscovering our humanity – Matt O’Neill, independent futurist
13.10: Security: through Renewal or through Protection? – David Bent, independent sustainability advisor
13.30: Values and the tech industry – Katy Cook, Founder of the Centre for Technology Awareness
13.50: Advertising in 2023 – Tom Ollerton, Innovation Director, We Are Social
14.10: Career advice from 2023 – Laura Thomson, Training Director, Phenomenal Training
14.30: New fuels and new tools – Jim O’Reilly, Strategist, Vital Growth
14.50: Seize the bitcoin moment – Dil Green, Digital Anthropology Blogger
15.10: Schrodinger’s future: 2023 and beyond – Paul Imre, independent futurist
15.30: From AI to Brexit: Coping with multiple shocks and disruptions – Rohit Talwar, Founder and CEO of FastFuture Research
15.55: Concluding remarks – David Wood, Chair of London Futurists

TechXLR8 speakers

About the speakers

Matt O’Neill can be found online at He’s convinced that ordinary people have more power in their hands to create change than ever before. Matt takes great pleasure in exploring the relationships and patterns between technical and social trends. Social science is broadly the study of unintended consequences, many of which arise from technological progress. Matt is absolutely convinced that the path to a positive future lies in better understanding WHAT WE ARE.

It’s clear that AI, Robotics, Biotech and any number of other innovations are set to impact society in ways we’re only beginning to comprehend. Alongside, there are significant opportunities and existential threats to us as a species. Effectively, we are playing at the game of life with ever-higher stakes.

Matt’s talk will explore how since the Age of Enlightenment, science has diverged from mysticism and spirituality; yet trends – particularly in modern Neuroscience – are bringing these disciplines together again, with belief systems becoming endorsed by scientific rigour. Why are we seeing growth in spiritual (not religious) pursuits both in people’s personal and business lives? Matt will contend that a better understanding of WHAT WE ARE, not WHO WE ARE, has the potential to wash away contemporary negatives like insecurity and stress to reveal that we’re already perfectly designed to handle whatever life throws at us.

David Bent is passionate about playing his part in a generation that puts the world on a sustainable footing. Until 2016, David worked at Forum for the Future, advising dozens of companies in the UK, USA and India on how they can be more successful by creating a sustainable future. Now independent, David is working with various institutions that are shaping economic transformation, including:

  • The UCL Institute for Global Prosperity, with a global programme on ‘industrial strategies for global prosperity’
  • Developing a ‘Gigatonne Lab’ to accelerate a rapid transition to a zero carbon world
  • EIRIS Foundation, helping responsible investors make a difference.

David’s talk has the theme “Start ‘security through renewal’, avoid ‘security through protection’”. Imagine the next decade will be the Shocking 2020s, with climate change, automation and more further disrupting our societies. People will want security, and we could easily fall into doing that by protecting a vanishing past. The advice to 2018: start putting acting for security through renewal, so people can flourish, our political economies can adapt, and nature can regenerate.

Katy Cook is a cyberpsychologist and founder of the Centre for Technology Awareness, a non-profit organisation that aims to raise awareness about the human and social impacts of technology. Her most recent research looks at the values and psychology of the tech industry and will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2019. Katy has a PhD and MA from UCL and an MA in Psychology from California.

Katy’s talk will summarise key findings from four years of research into the culture and operation of Silicon Valley, and will argue for a reassessment of the values of the tech industry such that they are aligned with humanity’s best interests.

Tom Ollerton‘s career in digital marketing has taken him from mobile through all aspects of digital and found him in his natural home at the socially led creative agency We Are Social. Tom is the innovation lead on the Samsung, YouTube, First Direct, HSBC, Ballantine’s and Domino’s accounts.

Tom’s role is to explore what is going to happen next 18 months of marketing innovation so that his clients can experiment with new technology and opportunities ahead of the competition.

He also runs a meetup called I’ll Be Back that focuses on the intersection of creativity, ads and A.I.

Tom’s talk has the theme “Advertising in 2023 – Where ad agencies go to die”. Google and Facebook will add tens of billions in extra advertising revenue in 2018 and 250,000 ad agency people will lost their jobs according to NYU. So what is the future of the ad industry that has reigned supreme until 2018? This talk will look at the inevitability of Facebook and Google rendering the traditional ad agency model redundant with AI driven ads that are more engaging than the stuff that isn’t ads.

Laura Thomson has a background in Psychology and has been developing and delivering culture change, communication and leadership programmes for organisations since 2000.  She works with a breadth of clients such as Unilever, Phase Eight, The Body Shop, Thames Tideway, Southampton Port and school leadership teams. She partners with Heathrow Airport on various culture-change projects with the aim to ‘humanise the machine’ of an international airport. She has chaired panel discussions on the future of work, is co-writing a book on the implications for education, and had her careers advice featured in various publications .Her 2016 TEDx talk focuses on how we can stay human amid the digital revolution.

The world of work is evolving at a pace never experienced by previous generations. We are the last set of working adults who get to make these first-time choices about what gets digitised and what remains a human interaction. We have a responsibility to make these choices whilst being conscious of the young children who will enter this new workplace in 2025-2035.  Laura’s focus is to initiate optimistic and proactive dialogue within large organisations that help front line leaders maximise the human potential within their teams. We need leadership teams to be confident and coherent about how automation and artificial intelligence can enable and augment performance.

Laura’s talk will be from the imagined perspective of Careers Advice from 2023.

Jim O’Reilly is a strategist with Vital Growth. Previously Jim was a Technology Strategy R&D Innovation Manager at Samsung Electronics.

Jim’s talk will anticipate the discovery and utilisation of “New fuels and new tools” for faster product deployment and larger ecosystem network effects.

Dil Green is a member of, a group currently designing, developing and using a currency platform with three tiers: mutual credit, cash-equivalent, and reputation. Dil describes himself as a “Pragmatic Utopian”. He blogs at Digital Anthropology  He says, “I work to build the best future I can imagine, starting right here, right now, with just what we have, paying attention to Christopher Alexander’s principle of structure preserving transformations.

Describing his talk, Dil writes, “If Bitcoin has done nothing else, it has blown the lid off Pandora’s Money Box. In this moment, the idea that money systems are games designed by humans, rather than somehow subject to the laws of physics, has become a commonplace. This gives us the opportunity – which is really an obligation – to move rapidly towards deeply purposeful currency design. The talk will explore the parameters of this space, and the implications of our choices.”

Paul Imre gained A levels in Maths, Biology and Economics. At the time there was no obvious fit between these subjects, or indeed any good understanding of how these subjects might help each other in a meaningful way. Roll the clock forward and we find that AI, tech and futurism paint a picture where all disciplines are called upon for their contributions. Maths provide the fundamentals of machine learning, but without Biology could we ever crack wetware and neuroscience? Without the social sciences asking the hard questions are we likely to end up on a one-way journey to dystopian future?  Bridges are needed to connect academia to the wider masses and if Paul can help in some small way to democratize these ideas and concepts then some good will have been done to help prevent a takeover by the machines.

Paul’s talk starts with the question What have Physicists ever done for us? They have a habit of smashing paradigms and leaving society to pick up the pieces. Could Schrodinger’s cat be the perfect analogy to carry us back from the future?

Rohit Talwar is the founder of Fast Future Research. Rohit works with global business to help them understand and create the future, and is an award winning speaker noted for his provocative content. He advises global firms, industries and governments on how to survive, thrive, spot and manage emerging risks and develop innovative growth strategies in the decade ahead.

Rohit’s interests include the evolving role of technology in business and society, emerging markets, the future of education, sustainability and embedding foresight in organisations. Rohit helps clients understand how mega trends, emerging ideas, new business models, and disruptive developments in science and technology could impact individuals, society, business, industries and government. He currently leads studies on transformative drivers of change for the next decade, science and technology developments over the next forty years, impacts of emerging technologies on the legal sector, human enhancement and the Shadow Economy.

Rohit’s talk has the theme “From AI to Brexit: Coping with multiple shocks and disruptions”. This session will focus on addressing the potential challenges that could arise from changes in the global economy, the implementation of Brexit, and the possibilities of what AI and its disruptive sisters might enable by 2023. Rohit will highlight key challenges for humanity and outline possible steps to solutions in areas such as:

  • Raising Digital Literacy and Reskilling Society
  • Building Learning Organisations
  • Adapting Support Mechanisms for the Unemployed
  • Critical Infrastructure
  • Job Creation and Inward Investment
  • Mental Health
  • Funding the Transition.


In order to attend the TechXLR8 Futurist Summit, it’s necessary to register for a free exhibition pass to TechXLR8 itself. See If you don’t register in advance, you may encounter a significant delay on trying to enter the TechXLR8 venue.

The Futurist Summit is part of the free content of TechXLR8. There is no fee to attend these portions of TechXLR8.

TechXLR8 runs from June 12-14, and features 600 global experts covering key technologies including IoT, 5G, Smart Mobility & Transportation, AR/VR, Digital CX and Cloud. For more details and to buy a premium pass to access all of the content at the show, visit


TechXLR8 is taking place at the London ExCeL centre. See for the location and travel recommendations.