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March 2015 GAETSS Newsletter Big Ideas for a Disruptive Future


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Welcome to the GAETSS March 2015 E-Newsletter. These are very interesting and disruptive times as all sectors of society face unprecedented challenges and opportunities. I have long argued that my baby boomer generation must be one of the luckiest and most privileged in history not only for the massive improvements in living standards but also to have witnessed the most significant period in mankind’s history.

This newsletter includes one of the controversial “Big Ideas” I floated in my “Gadgets to God” book’s final chapter on the future of man’s relationship with technology as well as the usual review of past and upcoming events, Calls for Papers and reflections on recent developments.

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March 2015 GAETSS Newsletter Big Ideas for a Disruptive Future

  1. 1. March 2015 Big Ideas for a Disruptive Future Welcome to the GAETSS March 2015 E-Newsletter. These are very interesting and disruptive times as all sectors of society face unprecedented challenges and opportunities. I have long argued that my baby boomer generation must be one of the luckiest and most privileged in history not only for the massive improvements in living standards but also to have witnessed the most significant period in mankind’s history. This newsletter includes one of the controversial “Big Ideas” I floated in my “Gadgets to God” book’s final chapter on the future of man’s relationship with technology as well as the usual review of past and upcoming events, Calls for Papers and reflections on recent developments.  What’s the Big Idea – Is Immortality in our Grasp?  New Book Projects o FutureScape – A Collaborative View of Disruptive Technologies and the Future o Subconscious Learning via Games and Social Media – Immersive Technologies and Serious Games  Is Digital Currency a Revolution in Commerce?  The Demise of the Knowledge Professional – is Health the Final Frontier?  Featured Upcoming Events o March 11/12 Disruptive Media Learning Expo in Coventry o April 13th UNEP-DHI Asian Eco Challenge Final in South Korea  Featured Recent Events o Education and Federalism in Kathmandu, Nepal o UNEP-DHI Eco-Challenge in Singapore  Calls for Papers  Recent Articles and Presentations  Future Events Listing What’s the Big Idea – Is Immortality in our Grasp? Gadgets to God Book In the final chapter my “Gadgets to God” book (, I floated some controversial ideas and concepts about the future impact of technology on business and society. One of these ideas concerned the notion that Immortality might be within the reach of current generations of human beings. Below is an extract from the final chapter (The End of the Beginning) in the book :- “In the physical sense also, developments in genome technology and our growing ability to implant technology inside human beings could see the span of active and functional life extended substantially and potentially forever. Finally, through the creation of our alter ego avatars we have created representations of ourselves that could continue to live on and function through artificial intelligence indefinitely. Our avatars do not yet age or decline and on the contrary actually have the potential to continue to learn and develop long after their human creator has left this world.. “ Since I wrote the book some 3 years ago, there have been a number of articles and discussions about what Immortality actually is. One of the most popular conceptions of Immortality is based on the notion of “the singularity” – a time when humans and technology merge to create beings that never die. I have had the privilege of seeing one of the original and most controversial protagonists of this theory, Ray Kurzweil speak on this topic and my recollection is that he wants to be amongst those lucky enough to live long enough to experience this augmentation of physical human capabilities. Whilst it is certainly true that developments in nano-technologies and our understanding of the human physiology are all heading in the direction of longer lifespans, I believe that a more important definition of Immortality is already within our grasp. I recently read a BBC article suggesting that it will be possible to capture all our memories from our brains and transfer them to electronic machine storage. Once this becomes a reality, it will mean that we will have the ability to create an avatar capable of remembering and behaving exactly like its human equivalent. Digital storage and communications technologies, combined with the growing array of sensors and tracking devices mean that the “digital trace” of our lives is becoming more and more comprehensive and accessible to future generations with the associated implications for the potential ongoing influence we might have after our death. For me, this is the true definition of Immortality and the one that we think of when we remember influential historical figures whose lives and deeds have been captured in the hearts and minds of ensuing generations. Therefore, I think Immortality has always been within our grasp but the power of the digital age offers that opportunity for Immortality to many more people. To view the full article – see New Book Projects As well as working on a longer term novel project called “Transfer to Immortality” based on a future society in which citizens agree to a finite physical lifespan in exchange for Immortality as an avatar, I am involved in 2 other book projects which should be published in 2015. FutureScape – A Collaborative View of Disruptive Technologies and the Future This month I will be contributing a chapter of the future of lifestyle technologies and personal health management to a book project initiated by Rohit Talwar who, like myself, has been working for several years on the impact of technology on business and society. Rohit has had a massive response to his call for articles and is inviting ideas for a title for the book. If you would like to know more about this project and contribute ideas, please either contact Rohit ( or complete the survey at Subconscious Learning via Games and Social Media – Immersive Technologies and Serious Games I have also just completed proofing the final draft of my Chapter on Immersive Technologies and Serious Games which is due to be included in a Springer Publication entitled “Subconscious Learning via Games and Social Media”. If you would like to be informed when the book has been published, please drop me an email at
  2. 2. Is Digital Currency a Revolution in Commerce? The Quest for Trading Enablers Points, Loyalty Cards and Rewards I am old enough to remember Green Shield stamps which could be collected at gas stations and stores and later redeemed for goods. Today we have Nectar cards offering a similar functionality i.e. buy goods from a network of Nectar members to accumulate points to acquire products at a discount or free. These goods transactions are essentially using points or rewards instead of money and the system is commercially sustainable because the company creating the ecosystem of partners is collectively financed by the transactions that take place through the ecosystem. Loyalty Cards also use points to gamify the relationship with the customer and create a trading model in which transactions use points as an alternative to or in combination with currency. Although this creates a relationship between supplier and consumer to reward loyalty, the limitation of loyalty card points is that they can only be redeemed with that supplier (the objective of the scheme) whereas solutions like Nectar offer more flexibility and value to the consumer. Air Miles are another gamified solution offering the equivalent of points in exchange for purchases. Air miles can now be exchanged between carriers subscribing to the network ecosystem to provide a collective incentive. Points and E-Tokens as a Currency Replacement The ubiquitous nature of smart phones, cloud computing and wireless networks may open up the possibility for points / e-tokens to work alongside physical currencies and perhaps eventually replace them. Before currency was invented as a universal medium, trading took place via barter system in which goods and services were exchanged on an individual basis. As people began to travel to different places there was a need to establish a standard form of payment to facilitate trade between different types of product/service suppliers and gold became an accepted mechanism. Gold was eventually replaced by currencies linked to a gold equivalent. Today, technology provides a mechanism to purchase goods and services from anywhere in the world and the variety of individual currencies and complexities of exchange rates is a potential barrier to trade. Perhaps an answer for the future of trade is the acceptance of points or e-tokens as an exchangeable mechanism linked to a commodity that has a universal value. Since the ability to communicate electronically via speech, text, data and video is becoming a universal essential, the linking of points to electronic communication offers a route to points/e-tokens becoming a standard. If this develops as it potentially could, it would allow bartering between individuals and supplier/customers based on valuing goods and services in points which then be used to conduct other transactions. Gamification of e-commerce relationships would then become big business !! A full version of this article can be viewed at :- The Demise of the Knowledge Professional – is Health the Final Frontier? Health Knowledge Professionals It is now many years since I worked as a Sales and Marketing Executive for IBM and dealt with some very large corporate clients. The training given by IBM to its Sales professionals was recognised as amongst the best in the business and although I had already had several years working with the technologies, I had an intensive 12 months course on technology, business strategy, software applications and sales techniques before I was ready to use these skills in a real life situation. IBM’s reputation for having the best sales and technical people was a vital component in its success during the 1970s and 1980s. After I left IBM in 1984 to set up my own technology business providing business presentation services to corporate clients, it used to amuse and/or irritate me when people sought my advice on the best computer by leading with the remark “My mate in the pub reckons that the xxxx computer is the best on the market – what do you think?” The notion that the “mate in the pub” would know more about computers than someone who had spent many years being trained was almost insulting. Today, of course, it is highly likely that anyone you might meet in the street would know more about specific aspects of computers than people who have had years of training so it illustrates the challenges facing knowledge professionals who have worked hard and been educated for a career only to find that the impact of technology has totally changed their career expectations and their role in society. The impact of these changes is probably most notable in the computer industry where powerful applications are available off the shelf to do many of the tasks that used to be the domain of the Knowledge Professional but many other sectors such as the Teaching Profession are already feeling the effects of these developments. The Health and Banking Sectors have adopted disruptive emerging technologies to assist their work but I do not believe that Knowledge Professionals working in these sectors have yet felt the full impact on their roles, primarily because health and wealth are very sensitive and typically risk-averse areas where trust in a Knowledge Professional is regarded with high importance. I foresee some major disruptive technologies bringing competitors into the health and banking sectors over the next couple of years and it will be interesting to witness the outcome and the effect it will have on Knowledge Professionals in those sectors. Featured Upcoming Events With each newsletter, I try to highlight a couple of near term events that should be of interest. March 11/12 Disruptive Media Learning Expo in Coventry Keynotes: Graham Brown-Martin (11th March) Founder of Learning Without Frontiers (LWF) How the connected society is transforming learning Graham Brown-Martin recently undertook a commission that took him to 18 countries on 6 continents, travelling more than
  3. 3. 125,000 miles accompanied by an award-winning photographic team to explore how digital platforms are transforming the way we live, learn and communicate. From refugee camps in Syria, mountainous regions in China, deep into rural India and then to the design studios and schools in Silicon Valley he visited some of the most diverse environments imaginable, meeting passionate educators working in complex situations. He met with global thought leaders including Noam Chomsky, Sir Ken Robinson, Seth Godin and Sugata Mitra, designers and creators of new platforms reaching increasingly large populations and asked “what is education for?” Cristobal Cobo (12th March) Oxford Internet Institute The Changing Value of Knowledge Cristobal Cobo collaborates at the Oxford Internet Institute on the Network of Excellence in Internet Science (FP7), focus on strengthening scientific and technological excellence by developing an integrated and interdisciplinary scientific understanding of Internet. He also coordinates the OportUnidad project (an Open Educational Resources initiative supported by ALFA III). Previously he worked on the ‘K-Network‘ project, focused on creating networks of innovation in the Atlantic Area to boost strategies for building a 21st Century Knowledge Society. He also collaborated on the Socio-Economic Services for European Research Project to study social and economic implication of the Internet (FP7). The event will be held at DMLL, 3rd Floor Lanchester Library, Coventry University – Click here to see programme and reserve your free tickets April 13th UNEP-DHI Asian Eco Challenge Final in South Korea The 3rd edition of the Eco Challenge, an online serious game competition targeted at pre-college youth, aims to raise awareness and teach integrated water resources management (IWRM) through an ecosystem approach. IWRM is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems. The game – Aqua Republica (developed by UNEP-DHI Partnership – Center on Water and Environment) – is designed to help players cultivate self-directed learning skills and develop domain-specific knowledge as well as the ability to transfer conceptual knowledge to new situations. Players get to exercise independence in setting goals and making decisions as well as how to achieve the game’s objective within a given framework. As part of the SG50 Celebration, the 2015 Eco Challenge will use a modified version of Aqua Republica, to include scenarios reflective of Singapore’s water problems, and let players embark on their own “Singapore’s Water Journey”. For more details of the event see Featured Recent Events President of Nepal with PABSON Members and International Guest Speakers from the Education Conference Education and Federalism in Kathmandu, Nepal The conference on “Education and Federalism” held on Feb 20th was a remarkable and packed event with senior Government representatives including the Deputy Prime Minister as speakers who not only attended the event and shared their views on Govt policy but also stayed to listen to a good part of the conference. The President of PABSON, Lachhe Bahadur, made an impassioned plea for financial support for the private education sector and cited many examples of how private and public sector could work together to provide a better education for all children in Nepal. His own school, Suryodaya Jyoti Secondary Boarding School is an example of one of the many private schools that deliver high standards of education but have to rely on community and parent funding and the commitment and passion of their teachers. Lachhe argued for more financial support from the Govt and prior to lunch I was invited to a private audience with the President of Nepal along with Professor Radermacher and his colleague from Germany, Professor Estelle Herlyn and members of the PABSON team. The President invited us to offer our recommendations on the key actions which Nepal could take to develop its education strategy and these will be summarised in a personal email to him. In his keynote presentation, Professor Radermacher re-iterated the global challenges faced by all countries in developing education strategies in an age of disruptive technological change. He argued that a good education and degree level qualifications are no longer any guarantee of a good job because technology is replacing knowledge professionals in almost every area. However, without education, there is little or no chance of a job but, because human capabilities of the physical body and the “soul” still give human beings an advantage over technology, vocational training will play a very important role in Nepal’s future. This was also the focus of Professor Herlyn’s presentation later in the day. During the lunch break, I was asked by one of the local speakers how I would define and measure quality education. It was a very difficult question because the traditional metrics that we have used for thousands of years to measure retention of knowledge and an ability to apply it are becoming less relevant if we want to build a sustainable future. With information rapidly changing and accessible via the internet, the transfer of knowledge by human beings is becoming redundant. My own belief is that quality education can only be measured by the extent to which it can fulfil the human potential of each and every individual whilst building a sustainable, equitable and inter-dependent society. Professor Radermacher observed that many societies around the world are developing into a “two-track” state in which the “haves” and “have-nots” co-exist but have very little human contact between each other. My presentation on Collaboration and Virtual Classroom Technologies gave examples of how such technologies can be used to build bridges between the private and public sectors but, although technologies to enhance learning could and should play a part in Nepal’s education strategy, the key issue really revolves around strong, united leadership, especially in a federal situation which could all too easily lead to conflicts and demands on very limited resources. This scenario would present a very bleak picture for Nepal which has so much to offer from its greatest asset, its human capital. To see a full version of the article – see opportunities
  4. 4. UNEP-DHI Eco-Challenge in Singapore Competitors at the Singapore Eco-Challenge Event The Singapore finals of the UNEP-DHI Eco-Challenge event were held at the Suntec Convention Centre in Sigapore on Saturday Feb 28th and featured a 86 two-person teams from around 30 schools across Singapore taking part in an online serious game based on water resource management. The Singapore National STEM Eco Challenge 2015 saw participants working on scenarios that simulate potential water-related issues and challenges. Players develop solutions to overcome them using real climatic and population data. The event is championed by STEM Inc, Science Centre Singapore and supported by the SG50 Celebration Fund. This was a logistically challenging event which coincided with other teams in Malaysia, Korea and Thailand running their own competitions. At the Singapore event, Catholic High School emerged as the winning team and will represent Singapore at the third UNEP-DHI Asian Eco Challenge in South Korea this April. The Singapore Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who graced the event, identified some of the challenges Singapore faces in this context. He said 12 years ago, the activities in Singapore were limited by the availability of water but this has changed due to technological developments. Dr Balakrishnan said: "The point is as Singapore confronts other challenges, the solutions will lie in technology, in being able to innovate that technology to create a solution, to unlock boundaries and to open new potential so what you have embarked on this morning and for the teams who are going beyond, is a crucial part of Singapore's development strategy." To see photos of the event visit and for a media review go to Calls for Papers Below is a selection of current calls for Papers, Posters and Articles that may be of interest :- Immersive Learning Research Network Conference 2015: iLRN Prague 2015 13th - 14th July 2015 Prague, Czech Republic – See …………….. The Science in Society community is pleased to announce the Call For Papers for the Seventh International Conference on Science in Society to be held 1-2 October 2015 at the University Center in Chicago, USA. We welcome proposals from a variety of disciplines and perspectives that will contribute to the conference discourse. We also encourage faculty and research students to submit joint proposals for paper presentations or colloquia.
See presentations …………….. GALA (Games and Learning Alliance) Conference 2015 in Rome, Italy. The Games and Learning Alliance conference (GALA 2015) is an international conference dedicated to the science and application of serious games. The conference aims at bringing together researchers, developers, practitioners and stakeholders. The goal is to share the state of the art of research and market, analysing the most significant trends and discussing visions on the future of serious games. See …………………………… MINI TRACK-European Conference on Game Based Learning (ECGBL) 2015 - The 9th European Conference on Games Based Learning Nord-Trondelag University College Steinkjer, Norway Ubiquitous computing including mobile and location-based technologies have fuelled a proliferation of opportunities for digitally- enabled play in everyday spaces that increases flexibility for learners and the boundaries of anytime, anywhere learning. Sensors built into mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets for instance determine a player’s location, opening up opportunities for a more pervasive approach to learning, where context-aware educational resources in the surrounding environment can be triggered. See …………………………………… Second Call for Abstracts and Special Sessions 9th Symposium of the International Society for Digital Earth DIGITAL EARTH 2015 "Towards a One-World Vision for the Blue Planet" Halifax, NS, CANADA, October 5-9 Interested contributors should submit their abstract or proposal for a special session by April 17. Submission details can be found under the Program menu tab at Abstracts and proposals will be promptly considered by the Scientific Program Committee ……………………………………………………….. Recent Articles and Papers A comprehensive list of archived articles, presentations and videos can be accessed at my website – The most recent updates are shown below :- Date Article Title Comments Feb 2015 Education in a Nepal Federal State - Problems and Opportunities - View Article This article is a review of a trip to Nepal for a conference on Education and Federalism and highlights some of the problems faced by the education System and Opportunities to change Jan 2015 Why the NHS Needs a Fresh Start in 2015 - View Article This article looks at the challenges faced by the NHS in the UK in the areas of lifestyle related conditions and argues that a revolution is needed Dec 2014 FreshStartXX - A Blueprint for a Revolution in Personal Health Management - View Article This article describes how lifestyle technologies and gamification could spark a revolution in personal health management
  5. 5. Jul 2014 Tackling the Ageing Society - The Role of Enabling and Assistive Technologies - View Article This article explore the potential of enabling technologies and Gamification to address some of the problems of the ageing society Jul 2014 Gamification and Enabling Technologies for Independent Living - View Article This article examines the power of enabling technologies to support independent living using Simon Stevens as a case study. Jul 2014 Commerce, Culture, Heritage and Tourism in an OMNI World - View Article This article looks at the relationship between Culture, Heritage and Tourism and Commerce and reflects on the impact of urban design Jul 2014 Gamification, Personalisation, Brand Loyalty and Profitable CSR in an OMNI World - View Article This article examines how disruptive technologies are impacting brand development and creating opportunities for profitable CSR Jun 2014 Physician Heal Thyself - View Article This article is a review of presentations made at the Medilink Conference in Leicester in June 2014 Jun 2014 South Korea, Gamification and Enabling Technologies - View Article This is an article that was produced as part of a web conference on Gamification and Enabling Technologies for Health in South Korea May 2014 The Role of Gamification and Enabling Technologies in the Future of Commerce in an OMNI World - View Article This article looks at some of the disruptive technologies that are shaping the future of commerce May 2014 Gamification vs Serious Games for Health - View Article This article seeks to compare and contrast the concepts of Gamification and Serious Games for addressing issues in the health sector Upcoming Events Listing Below is a list of forthcoming conferences – also accessible at Date Event Name / Description Location Web URL Mar 11- 12 DMLL Expo - Digital Media Learning Lab Event Coventry, UK Mar 18 Westminster Health Forum Keynote Seminar: The future for health technologies: innovation, funding and regulation London, UK Mar 23- 24 ISMHR 2015 - INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON MULTI-HAZARD AND RISK Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Apr 13 UNEP-DHI ASIAN ECO CHALLENGE 2015 FINALS Daegu, Korea Apr 18-20 Emerging Infotech 2015 Shenzhen, China Apr 27-29 19TH ANNUAL EUROMEDIA CONFERENCE, EUROMEDIA'2015 Lisbon, Portugal May 17- 18 2015 International Conference on Energy and Environmental Systems Engineering(EESE2015) Beijing, China May 20- 23 9th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare Istanbul, Turkey May 20- 25 AERO Conference - Alternative Education Resource Organisation New York, USA June 1-3 13th International Simulation Conference (ISC'2015) Valencia, Spain June 17- 19 Second KES International Conference SMART EDUCATION and E-LEARNING (SEEL-2015) Sorrento, Italy Jun 27-28 ICCE 2015 International Conference on Creative Education London, UK July 6-8 EDULEARN15 - International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies Barcelona, Spain July 13-14 Immersive Learning Research Network Conference - ILRN 2015 Prague, Czech Republic July 17-21 ISAGA/JASAG2015 - the 46th ISAGA conference | Japan Association of Simulation & Gaming hosts Kyoto, Japan July 22-24 9th International Conference on Computer Graphics, Visualization, Computer Vision and Image Processing Los Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain July 26-27 Cloud Technology and Computing Macau Aug 10-11 Thaisim 2015 - Learning from educational games, simulations and debriefing for the AEC Bangkok, Thailand Aug 11-14 SGSC 2015 - Serious Games Conference Nanyang University, Singapore Sep 24-25 Innovation in environmental education: ICT and intergenerational learning Firenze, Italy Oct 1-2 7th International Conference on Science in Society Chicago, USA Oct 5-9 DIGITAL EARTH 2015 "Towards a One-World Vision for the Blue Planet" Halifax, Nova Scotia Oct 8-9 9th European Conference on Games Based Learning ECGBL 2015 Steinkjer, Norway http://academic- Nov 3-5 WISE 2015 - World Innovation Summit on Education Doha, Qatar
  6. 6. Nov 10-11 SAI Intelligent Systems Conference 2015 (IntelliSys 2015) - London, UK Dec 11-12 GALA - Games and Learning Alliance Conference Rome, Italy Feb 18-19 2016 Twelfth International Conference on Technology, Knowledge, and Society Buenos Aires, Argentina If you would like any presentations, videos or documents circulated to my network, I am happy to provide this service free of charge for any material relevant to readers of this newsletter. If you are interested, contact me at Best Wishes for a Better Future for all Mankind David Wortley FRSA Founder and CEO GAETSS – Gamification and Enabling Technologies Strategic Solutions Shaping the Future of Business and Society through Human Development and Motivation Mobile Phone : +601123180284 (Malaysia) +447896659695 (UK) Email : Skype: davidwortley Web: If you no longer wish to receive these newsletters, simply reply with the word UNSUBSCRIBE and I will remove you from the mailing list.