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Three keys to a radically better society?

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David Wood, chair of London Futurists, reviews the most important actions needed to build a society of abundance, freedom, and collaboration. The presentation assesses the roles of technology, transhumanism, and TZM (The Zeitgeist Movement). The presentation is from a joint meetup of London Futurists and the London Chapter of TZM, held on 17th June 2014

David Wood, chair of London Futurists, reviews the most important actions needed to build a society of abundance, freedom, and collaboration. The presentation assesses the roles of technology, transhumanism, and TZM (The Zeitgeist Movement). The presentation is from a joint meetup of London Futurists and the London Chapter of TZM, held on 17th June 2014

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Three keys to a radically better society?

  1. 1. Technology, Transhumanism, and TZM Three keys to a radically better society? Principal, Delta WisdomChair, London Futurists David Wood @dw2
  2. 2. Technology, Transhumanism, and TZM Three keys to a radically better world? Principal, Delta WisdomChair, London Futurists David Wood @dw2
  3. 3. @dw2 Page 3 “It’s the right thing to do(?)” Ubiquitous interconnectivity means a crisis in the world will adversely impact everyone Why think about the whole world? Isn’t that naïve? There are many risks of global crisis
  4. 4. @dw2 Page 4 Measuring the state of the world? http://www.millennium-project.org/ 17 annual State of the future report cards Input from 4,500 thought leaders selected by 50 Nodes around the world Founded by United Nations University, 1996 The Millennium Project 30 metrics 17 improving 7 worsening 6 unclear
  5. 5. World Report Card Where are We Winning? http:// www.millennium-project.org/
  6. 6. Where are We Losing? World Report Card http://www.millennium-project.org/
  7. 7. What is Unclear or not Changing? World Report Card http://www.millennium-project.org/
  8. 8. @dw2 Page 8 Measuring the state of the world? http://www.millennium-project.org/ “The world is improving better than most pessimists know and future dangers are worse than most optimists indicate” “People around the world are becoming healthier, wealthier, better educated, more peaceful, increasingly connected, and living longer. Child mortality rate has dropped 47% since 1990, extreme poverty in the developing world fell from 50% in 1981 to 21% in 2010, primary school completion rates grew from 81% in 1990 to 91% in 2011, only one transborder war occurred in 2013, nearly 40% of humanity is connected via the Internet, and life expectancy has increased 10 years over the past 20 years to reach 70.5 years today”
  9. 9. @dw2 Page 9 Measuring the state of the world? http://www.millennium-project.org/ “The world is improving better than most pessimists know and future dangers are worse than most optimists indicate” “Water tables are falling on all continents, glaciers are melting, half the world's topsoil is destroyed, coral reefs are dying, ocean acidity is increasing, ocean dead zones have doubled every decade since the 1960s, income gaps are increasingly obscene, youth unemployment has reached dangerous proportions, traffic jams and air pollution are strangling cities, $1-1.6 billion is paid in bribes, organized crime gets twice the money per year than all the military budgets combined, intrastate conflicts and refugees are increasing, and half the world is potentially unstable”
  10. 10. @dw2 Page 10 http://www.millennium-project.org/ 15 Global Challenges
  11. 11. @dw2 Page 1115 Global ChallengesHow can… 1. Sustainable development be achieved for all while addressing global climate change? 2. Everyone have sufficient clean water without conflict? 3. Population growth and resources be brought into balance? 4. Genuine democracy emerge from authoritarian regimes? 5. How can decision-making be enhanced by integrating improved global foresight during unprecedented accelerating change? 6. The global convergence of information and communications technologies work for everyone? 7. Ethical market economies be encouraged to help reduce the gap between rich and poor? 8. The threat of new and re-emerging diseases and immune microorganisms be reduced? 9. How can education and learning make humanity more intelligent, knowledgeable, and wise enough to address its global challenges? 10. Shared values and new security strategies reduce ethnic conflicts, terrorism, and the use of weapons of mass destruction? 11. The changing status of women improve the human condition? 12. Transnational organized crime networks be stopped from becoming more powerful and sophisticated global enterprises? 13. Growing energy demands be met safely and efficiently? 14. Scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition? 15. Ethical considerations become more routinely incorporated into global decisions?
  12. 12. @dw2 Page 1215 Global ChallengesHow can… 1. Sustainable development be achieved for all while addressing global climate change? 2. Everyone have sufficient clean water without conflict? 3. Population growth and resources be brought into balance? 4. Genuine democracy emerge from authoritarian regimes? 5. How can decision-making be enhanced by integrating improved global foresight during unprecedented accelerating change? 6. The global convergence of information and communications technologies work for everyone? 7. Ethical market economies be encouraged to help reduce the gap between rich and poor? 8. The threat of new and re-emerging diseases and immune microorganisms be reduced? 9. How can education and learning make humanity more intelligent, knowledgeable, and wise enough to address its global challenges? 10. Shared values and new security strategies reduce ethnic conflicts, terrorism, and the use of weapons of mass destruction? 11. The changing status of women improve the human condition? 12. Transnational organized crime networks be stopped from becoming more powerful and sophisticated global enterprises? 13. Growing energy demands be met safely and efficiently? 14. Scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition? 15. Ethical considerations become more routinely incorporated into global decisions?
  13. 13. @dw2 Page 13 2014 2025
  14. 14. 1993 Barry Ritkoltz
  15. 15. 1993 2013 http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/05/1993-vs-2013/ Barry Ritkoltz
  16. 16. @dw2 Page 16 http://edge.org/conversation/the-technium “The next 20 years are going to make this last 20 years just pale” Kevin Kelly, co-Founder, Wired “We're just at the beginning of the beginning of all these kind of changes. There's a sense that all the big things have happened, but relatively speaking, nothing big has happened yet. In 20 years from now we'll look back and say, ‘Well, nothing really happened in the last 20 years’ [1994-2014]”
  17. 17. @dw2 Page 17 http://www.computerworld.com/slideshow/detail/143723#slide2 128MB 128GB
  18. 18. @dw2 Page 18 Kindle books vs. physical books www.theverge.com/2012/9/6/3298533/amazon-kindle-event-september-6th-video-watch E-books leapfrog physical books at Amazon in less than 3 years 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
  19. 19. @dw2 Page 19 Progress by combination • Technologies enabling Kindle explosion – Cheap digital storage – Low energy screens, pleasant to look at – High-speed “Whisper net” wireless distribution – Huge catalog of books available to purchase – Customisable (Linux/Android) software platform + Innovative business model Improvements in computers: Performance Applicability (digitisation)
  20. 20. @dw2 Page 20 Computations per kWh, 1950-2010 Improvement in energy efficiency of computers Source: Jonathan Koomey, Consulting Professor, Stanford Technology Review, 9 Apr 2012 10^3 to 10^15 40 doublings over 60 years http://www.technologyreview.com/news/427444/the-computing-trend-that-will-change-everything/ 18 months average doubling In line with “Moore’s Law”
  21. 21. @dw2 Page 21 www.intel.com/pressroom/kits/events/moores_law_40th/ (Gordon) Moore’s Law: 1965
  22. 22. @dw2 Page 22 Impact of Moore’s Law to 2025 2014 2025 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months X 2 X 2 = 4 X 2 = 8 X 2 = 16 X 2 = 32 X 2 = 64 X 2 = 128 5 times faster 5 times cheaper 5 times smaller
  23. 23. @dw2 Page 23 Changes in the last 11 years 2003 2014 5 times faster 5 times cheaper 5 times smaller Smartphones
  24. 24. http://www.slideshare.net/GenomeInABottle/george-church http://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=4328 Professor George Church Harvard
  25. 25. http://www.slideshare.net/GenomeInABottle/george-church http://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=4328 Professor George Church Harvard Positive feedback cycle
  26. 26. @dw2 Page 26 20 tech breakthrough areas by 2025? Big Data and the Internet of Things: many fewer secrets Brain scanning: consciousness & creativity decoded Mind enhancing drugs (or hardware stimulation, e.g. tDCS) Cryptocurrencies: decentralised consensus system Nanomaterials with super-strength & resilience 3D fabrication, with Atomically Precise Manufacturing Ubiquitous solar energy: major reduction of oil usage Wearable computers, Augmented Reality, remote virtual avatars Rejuvenation biotech: Stem cell therapies, synthetic organs Cognitive computing in healthcare: Most doctors redeployed Automated robot workers: nurses, soldiers… Driverless cars, drones: much safer, greener transport Credible cryonics: mass market suspensions Virtual companions more compelling than real ones Geoengineering E.g. massive carbon removal Quantum computing: Moore’s Law -> Rose’s Law Rational management of decisions and resources Synthetic meat: abolition of animal suffering Synthetic biology: reprogramming DNA, new life forms Sanitation & nutrition: Clean water, cities, vaccinations…
  27. 27. @dw2 Page 27 “Abundance 360 and Exponential Technologies (2014)” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCj7PlWRFf4 Channel: Peter Diamandis http://abundance360summit.com/ http://singularityu.org/executive-program
  28. 28. @dw2 Page 28 Predicting the impact of technology “Books will soon be obsolete in schools” “It is possible to teach every branch of human knowledge with the motion picture” “Our school system will be completely changed inside of ten years” July 1913, The New York Dramatic Mirror Thomas Alva Edison http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/02/15/books-obsolete/ http://edison.rutgers.edu/taephren.htm
  29. 29. @dw2 Page 29 Drawbacks to relying on technology 1. The underlying technology may be harder than expected  E.g. nuclear fusion; links DNA <-> disease; battery life; geo-engineering 2. Sometimes the technology is a side-show  Beware “techno-solutionism” when changes in social policy would be better 3. Technology is a two-edged sword  Authoritarian control; cyber-warfare; SIMAD 4. The “abundance” is subject to uneven “spread”  Disproportionate rewards to marketplace winners (“winner takes all”)  Technological unemployment (human workers displaced by robots)
  30. 30. @dw2 Page 30 Purchased by Facebook in April 2012 With 13 employees And 100 million registered users For approx $1 billion in cash and stock Launched in October 2010 Sociable Usable Winner takes a larger reward Compare Kodak 1997 valuation $30B 86,000 employees 2,000x productivity?!
  31. 31. @dw2 Page 31 Purchased by Facebook in Feb 2014 With 55 employees And 420 million active users For approx $19 billion in cash & stock Launched in March 2009 Sociable Usable Winner takes a larger reward
  32. 32. @dw2 Page 32 Productivity vs. median income http://www.epi.org/publication/ib330-productivity-vs-compensation/
  33. 33. @dw2 Page 33 Technological unemployment http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011-12-16/
  34. 34. @dw2 Page 34 Technological unemployment http://venturebeat.com/2013/12/05/khosla-explains-his-robots-replacing-doctors-comment- and-goes-on-the-hunt-for-data-scientists/ “By 2025, 80% of the functions doctors do will be done much better and much more cheaply by machines & algorithms” – Vinod Khosla “80% of doctors will be replaced by technology”
  35. 35. @dw2 Page 35 Drawbacks to relying on technology 1. The underlying technology may be harder than expected  E.g. nuclear fusion; links DNA <-> disease; battery life; geo-engineering 2. Sometimes the technology is a side-show  Beware “techno-solutionism” when changes in social policy would be better 3. Technology is a two-edged sword  Authoritarian control; cyber-warfare; SIMAD 4. The “abundance” is subject to uneven “spread”  Disproportionate rewards to marketplace winners (“winner takes all”)  Technological unemployment (human workers displaced by robots) 5. Solutions involve value-chain cooperation, which may not occur  Vested interests among existing marketplace winners, legislators  E.g. struggles of electric car producers; patient-driven healthcare; oil
  36. 36. @dw2 Page 36 2014 2025
  37. 37. @dw2 Page 37 Changing mindsets http://www.heaven-speaks.com/bayside_test_tube_babies.html “It is an abomination in the eyes of God for man in his arrogance and pride to seek to create the living being. What he is creating is a soulless monster, a being of destruction for all that it will meet. I say 'it', for it is not truly a human being but a 'thing'!” – Our Lady, July 25, 1978 Opposition from politicians too And from fellow scientists http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19537-test-tube-baby-pioneer-wins-medicine-nobel.html Request for funding was denied by the UK's Medical Research Council
  38. 38. @dw2 Page 38 Changing mindsets http://www.heaven-speaks.com/bayside_test_tube_babies.html “It is an abomination in the eyes of God for man in his arrogance and pride to seek to create the living being. What he is creating is a soulless monster, a being of destruction for all that it will meet. I say 'it', for it is not truly a human being but a 'thing'!” – Our Lady, July 25, 1978 Opposition from politicians too And from fellow scientists http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19537-test-tube-baby-pioneer-wins-medicine-nobel.html Request for funding was denied by the UK's Medical Research Council
  39. 39. @dw2 Page 39 Changing mindsets (2) • The proper role of business and finance • The idea that humans are inherently selfish, lazy, irredeemably competitive, and need the pressures of a “tough love” market economy to thrive – A thriving de-centralised “collaborative commons” exists alongside the market economy: Wikipedia, open-source software, voluntary sector, community self-help… • The idea that businesses are inherently selfish, aggrandising, short-term focused – “Conscious capitalism” shows how businesses can be strong forces for benefit of whole society, with multiple stakeholders – In at least some cases Employees Customers Suppliers Community Investors Environment
  40. 40. @dw2 Page 40 Conscious capitalism? http://www.consciouscapitalism.org/ http://www.lyndagratton.com/
  41. 41. @dw2 Page 41 “The business of business is business” “There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits” – Milton Friedman, 1970 http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/libertarians/issues/friedman-soc-resp-business.html http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/photocredit/achievers/fri0-006 “The most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century…possibly of all of it” – http://www.economist.com/node/8313925
  42. 42. @dw2 Page 42 “The dumbest idea in the world” “Shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world” – Jack Welch, 2009 (former CEO, GE) http://listphobia.com/2011/12/06/top-10-business-leaders-of-the-world/ http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/mar2009/db20090316_630496.htm “Any fool can just deliver in the short term by squeezing, squeezing, squeezing… you have to do both [short-term and long- term]… You'll see everyone win… “Employees will benefit from job security and better rewards. Customers will benefit from better products or services. Communities will benefit because successful companies and their employees give back. And obviously, shareholders will benefit because they can count on companies who deliver on both their short-term commitments and long-term vision.”
  43. 43. @dw2 Page 43 The need for inclusivity Capitalism is at risk of destroying itself unless bankers realise they have an obligation to create a fairer society, the Bank of England governor has warned... Speaking at a City conference, the Bank’s governor warned that there was a growing sense that the basic social contract at the heart of capitalism was breaking down amid rising inequality. “We simply cannot take the capitalist system, which produces such plenty and so many solutions, for granted. Prosperity requires not just investment in economic capital, but investment in social capital.” http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/27/capitalism-critique-bank-of-england-carney
  44. 44. @dw2 Page 44 The purpose of business Purpose At [company] we are committed to improving the quality of life of the communities we serve. We do this by striving for leadership and global competitiveness in the business sectors in which we operate. Our practice of returning to society what we earn evokes trust among consumers, employees, shareholders and the community. We are committed to protecting this heritage of leadership with trust through the manner in which we conduct our business. http://www.tata.com/aboutus/articlesinside/Values-and-purpose Founded 1868 Philanthropic initiatives since 1892 Introduced 8 hour working day in 1912 Indian Institute of Science set up in Bangalore, 1911 Trusts receive 66% of group profits Isn’t that naïve?
  45. 45. @dw2 Page 45 2014 2025
  46. 46. @dw2 Page 46 Obstacles to collaboration 1. Overwhelming differences in dominant values  E.g. if entrenched opposition to female education / “Western values” 2. Blindness to what is good for us  Lack of awareness; cognitive biases 3. Distortions by the environment / system we live within  Advertising raises our interests in things not actually very good for us  “Keeping up with the Joneses”  News stories hostile to “the enemy” 4. Lack of compelling shared positive vision  Especially with failure of religions / philosophies Education Peer Reviews Transhumanism New train of thought TZM
  47. 47. @dw2 Page 47 • Looking for fundamental causes and solutions – unwilling to accept surface explanations • Forceful challenges to prevailing assumptions about markets, business and finance • Engaging, thought-provoking videos (and other comms) Evaluating the ‘new train of thought’ Pluses Questions
  48. 48. @dw2 Page 48Zeitgeist Day 2013, Main Event, LA, CA, USA - TZMOfficialChannel
  49. 49. @dw2 Page 49 • Looking for fundamental causes and solutions – unwilling to accept surface explanations • Forceful challenges to prevailing assumptions about markets, business and finance • Engaging, thought-provoking videos (and other comms) • Huge bottom-up enthusiasm • Open to collaboration • Needs a transition plan – a roadmap to the future • Money is likely to continue to exist for the foreseeable future • Rational resource management, for all goods, is some way off into the future • Over-demonising business and finance: many TZM critiques miss the mark • Pursuit of the “great” may miss opportunities for “good” incremental steps Evaluating the ‘new train of thought’ Pluses Questions
  50. 50. @dw2 Page 50 Vision: Freedom to fulfil potential “Human beings should be free…” Free from limitations, Free from death, Free from gravity, Free from biology. https://twitter.com/anderssandberg/status/346391735003389953 Dmitry Itskov, closing remarks
  51. 51. @dw2 Page 51 The biggest killers? Dr. Felipe Sierra, Director of the Division of Aging Biology at the National Institute on Aging, discusses the Trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group http://youtu.be/xI38YRz1bbQ Stroke Cancer Heart disease Diabetes Pulmonary disease HIV/AIDS Parkinson’s Menopause Arthritis Alzheimer’s Asthma Kidney disease AGING
  52. 52. @dw2 Page 52 Stroke Cancer Heart disease Diabetes Pulmonary disease HIV/AIDS Parkinson’s Menopause ArthritisAlzheimer’s Asthma Kidney disease AGING Proteostasis Adaptation to stress Regeneration from stem cells Inflammation Macromolecular damage Metabolism Epigenetics and regulatory RNA The biggest killer? Dr. Felipe Sierra, Director of the Division of Aging Biology at the National Institute on Aging, discusses the Trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group http://youtu.be/xI38YRz1bbQ
  53. 53. @dw2 Page 53 Changing mindsets (3) • Aging is natural, inevitable, and not to be challenged • “Natural” is always good, synthetic is always bad • You can’t do better than God • You can’t do better than natural selection • It’s inevitable than biological organisms grow old & die • Society depends upon people growing old & dying • A world with super-longevity, super-intelligence, and super-happiness would be a kind of hell • Such a world is at least 100 years into the future
  54. 54. @dw2 Page 54 “The six epochs of evolution” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNkW353QkxU Channel: Jason Silva
  55. 55. @dw2 Page 55 Technology as main driver for change  Technology acceleration  Engineering solutions  Scientific enquiry  Critical thinking  Global education  Positive feedback networks Transhumanism TZM, Social Futurism Positive feedback cycle
  56. 56. @dw2 Page 56 Two ways to focus improvements Quality of life TZM, Social futurism Quality of life Quality of life TODAY Number of people Transhumanism
  57. 57. @dw2 Page 57 Why transhumanism? Quality of life  “Because it’s there”  “Next step in global evolution”  “Be the best that you can be”  By being smarter, we can see more easily how to ensure everyone can benefit  We will have better tools than existing market economics, tribal politics, medieval philosophies… TZM, Social futurism Quality of life Transhumanism
  58. 58. @dw2 Page 58 Why TZM / Social futurism? Quality of life  If we fail to address the growing social pains of inequality and decline of opportunity…  If we fail to avert potential imminent societal collapses… (finance / environment / energy…)  The societal foundations for transhumanism may disappear We need to pursue both TZM, Social futurism Quality of life Transhumanism
  59. 59. @dw2 Page 59 Setting the scene David Wood, Mark Stevenson, Rohit Talwar Re-designing medicine and healthcare Maneesh Juneja, Sonia Contera, Peter Morgan / Aubrey de Grey Re-designing Artificial Intelligence Calum Chace, Martin Dinov & Elias Rut Re-designing society Freemavens / Simon Bransfield-Garth, Anders Sandberg, M Amon Twyman, Ben McLeish Re-designing humanity David Pearce, Zoltan Istvan, Natasha Vita-More, David Levy, Andrew Vladimirov What’s next? Michael Nuschke, Alez Zhavoronkov, Riva-Melissa Tez, Victor Anderson, Jerome Glenn
  60. 60. Technology, Transhumanism, and TZM Three keys to a radically better world? Principal, Delta WisdomChair, London Futurists David Wood @dw2

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