Natasha Vita-More, Chair, Humanity+
Dr Natasha Vita-More, is a frequent guest speaker on topics concerning the future and technology. She is founder of H+lab and best known for creating the first future human prototype “Primo Posthuman”. Her writings have been published in numerous books, including The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future, and she has appeared in more than twenty-four televised documentaries and featured in magazines including The New York Times, Wired, Village Voice, Flaunt, Harper’s Bazaar, U.S. News & World Report, Net Business, and Teleopolis.
Natasha is a Professor at the University of Advancing Technology, a Fellow at Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and Fellow at Hybrid Reality Institute. She was formerly president of Extropy Institute from 2002-2005.
As a bit of history, Natasha authored the “Transhuman Manifesto” (1983), Create/Recreate: the 3rd Millennial Culture (cybernetic culture and the future of humanism and the arts and sciences). In the early 1990s, she produced and hosted the transhumanist TV show “Transcentury UPdate”. She is the host and producer of H+TV.
>>> Transhumanism: An Iterative Design Challenge
Technology undoubtedly alters human nature. Computer-based interfaces and molecular technologies can alter physical performance and generate enhanced cognitive characteristics. The more intimate and transparent these interfaces become, the more diverse and expansive human nature becomes.
While we have been in the midst of an insurgency to alter ourselves and the environment, the need for critical thinking and innovative actions are essential. Make way for the transhumanist experience as a societal shift that links human enhancement and radical life extension as a “Platform Diverse Person” and “Body by Design”.
Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer and co-Founder, SENS Research Foundation
Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist based in Cambridge, UK and Mountain View, California, USA, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, a California-based 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to combating the aging process. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging.
Aubrey received his BA and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000 respectively. His original field was computer science, and he did research in the private sector for six years in the area of software verification before switching to biogerontology in the mid-1990s. His research interests encompass the characterisation of all the accumulating and eventually pathogenic molecular and cellular side-effects of metabolism (“damage”) that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and/or obviate that damage. He has developed a possibly comprehensive plan for such repair, termed Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which breaks aging down into seven major classes of damage and identifies detailed approaches to addressing each one.
A key aspect of SENS is that it can potentially extend healthy lifespan without limit, even though these repair processes will probably never be perfect, as the repair only needs to approach perfection rapidly enough to keep the overall level of damage below pathogenic levels. Dr. de Grey has termed this required rate of improvement of repair therapies “longevity escape velocity”. Aubrey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organisations.
Aubrey is the author of the book Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime.
>>> When the days of aging are clearly numbered, how will humanity react?
Aubrey de Grey will talk about how by 2025 it’s highly likely that results in mice will have convinced the expert community, and thus everyone else, that it’s only a matter of time before we defeat aging in humans, but we’ll still have some way to go to actually doing that.
The talk will also cover how we can expect dramatic investment in both research and infrastructure to make that last leg of the race happen as fast as possible.
David Levy, President of the International Computer Games Association
Dr David Levy is President of the International Computer Games Association, and CEO of the London based company Intelligent Toys Ltd. He graduated from the University of St. Andrews in 1967, and moved into the world of business, professional chess playing and writing. He has written more than thirty books on chess, and was awarded the International Master title by FIDE, the World Chess Federation in 1969.
In 1968, David started a bet with four Artificial Intelligence professors that he would not lose a chess match against a computer program within ten years. He won that bet. Since 1977 David has been involved in the development of many chess playing and other programs for consumer electronic products.
David’s interest in Artificial Intelligence has expanded beyond computer games into other areas of AI, including human-computer conversation, and in 1997 he led the team that won the Loebner Prize competition in New York, which he won again in 2009.
His fiftieth book, Love and Sex with Robots, was published in November 2007, shortly after he was awarded a PhD by the University of Maastricht for his thesis entitled Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners.
>>> Love and sex with robots
The evolution of human-robot relationships?
From Pygmalion falling for his chiselled Galatea, to Dr Frankenstein marvelling at his ‘modern Prometheus’, to the man-meets-machine fiction of Philip K Dick and Michael Crichton, humans have been enthralled by the possibilities of emotional relationships with their technological creations. Synthesizing cutting-edge research in robotics with the cultural history and psychology of artificial intelligence, ‘Love and Sex with Robots’ explores this fascination, and its far-reaching implications.
Mark Stevenson, Author: An Optimist’s Tour of the Future
Mark Stevenson is a futurologist and author. His first book, An Optimist’s Tour of the Future, was described by the Wall Street Journal as “Sharp and fascinating”, by Cory Doctorow as “a hilarious and inspiring romp through some of the most promising directions in technology”, and by The Scotsman as “a rollicking roller-coaster ride around the cutting edge of science with dozens of laugh-out-loud moments”. Mark’s next book is provisionally entitled The Shift: Why our systems are failing us and what will replace them.
“An Optimist’s Tour of the Future” is in the process of being made into a movie, with the assistance of legendary visual futurists Syd Mead (Bladerunner, Tron, Aliens), Ian McCaig (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Terminator) and Roger Dean – and co-scripted by Nick Sagan.
Mark is also the founder of the League of Pragmatic Optimists and learning agency Flow Associates. He sits on the advisory boards for The Virgin Earth Challenge, Every1Mobile, Trillion Fund and SpaceGAMBIT.
>>> The Shift: Why are systems are failing us and what will replace them
Sonia Contera, co-director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Nanotechnology
Dr Sonia Contera is a tenured University Lecturer at Oxford Physics Department and co-director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Nanotechnology (formerly the Institute of Nanoscience for Medicine) at the Oxford Martin School.
Sonia is also co-Investigator at the Centre for Advanced Materials at Harwell Research Centre and Senior Research Fellow at Green Templeton College Oxford. Sonia is also a frequent public speaker on the role of Physics and Nanotechnology in the future of Biology and Medicine. She has recently become a member of the JSP-funded Core-to-Core programme and the newly established International Brain Mechanics and Trauma Lab.
>>> Nanotechnology in 2025
How might nanotechnology change health and biology by 2025?
Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO Azuri Technologies
Dr Simon Bransfield-Garth has 25 years global experience building rapid growth, technology-based businesses in sectors including Semiconductor, Automotive and Mobile Phones. His career includes 7 years at Symbian, the phone OS maker, where he was a member of the Leadership Team and VP Global Marketing. Simon was founder of Myriad Solutions Ltd and was previously a Fellow at Cambridge University. He holds a BA and Ph.D in Engineering from St John’s College, Cambridge UK.
Azuri Technologies is a product and service company that delivers affordable solar power in emerging markets. By combining solar and mobile phone technology, the company’s Indigo product family enables users to benefit from clean renewable energy and simultaneously reduce their energy spend by as much as half.
Azuri’s objective is to bring power at scale to off-grid customers worldwide, providing basic needs that are regarded as routine in developed countries.
>>> (em)Powering Africa
With 40% of individuals under the age of 14 and a population set to double in 50 years, Africa is set for massive growth. Mobile phones are ubiquitous, yet only about 15% of rural Africa has access to mains electricity and basic infrastructure such as roads, water supply and sanitation are all lacking. This lack of what we in the West would regard as basics is leading to new innovations in the African continent. For example, per capita, Kenya has by far the highest levels of mobile banking in the world with approximately 30% of the population active users.
This talk will explore how the mobile infrastructure is transforming the landscape for energy, education and health in rural Africa. In this way, smart technology can bring the benefits of modern power at scale to some of the poorest in the world, without the cost of grid electricity, and help a generation skip the industrial revolution and join the knowledge economy.
David Pearce, co-Founder, World Transhumanist Association
David Pearce is an independent researcher based in Brighton UK. In 1995, he wrote an online manifesto,The Hedonistic Imperative, advocating the use of biotechnology to abolish suffering throughout the living world. He has also written on the philosophy of mind and perception; utilitarian ethics; psychopharmacology; life extension; cognitive enhancement technologies; mood enrichment; genetic recalibration of the hedonic treadmill; ecosystem redesign; reprogramming predators; and – more speculatively – on a posthuman future based on “paradise engineering”.
In 1998, in collaboration with Nick Bostrom, David Pearce set up the World Transhumanist Association – subsequently rebranded as Humanity+.
>>> The Molecular Biology of Spiritual Experience
Advances in neuroscanning may shortly allow us to identify, refine and richly over-express the molecular signatures of spiritual experience in the central nervous system.
This talk puts these advances in context, and asks, what will be the posthuman successor to today’s ordinary waking consciousness?
Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University
Dr Anders Sandberg is a James Martin research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University.
As a part of the Oxford Martin School he is involved in interdisciplinary research on cognitive enhancement, neurotechnology, global catastrophic risks, emerging technologies and applied rationality.
Anders has been writing about and debating transhumanism, future studies, neuroethics and related questions since the 1990s. He is also an associate of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, as well as co-founder of the Swedish think tank Eudoxa.
>>> Smarter policy-making through improved collective cognition?
When we try to act rationally based on information we are getting from the media, ubiquitous sensors, Big Data models and complex, outsourced organisations, the results are not always up to scratch. It is tricky to navigate our cognitive biases, emergent bias as information is filtered, the limitations of models, and the strange feedbacks in the new media landscape.
At the same time, these new approaches have the promise of changing policymaking: we can gather evidence, randomize trials, perform 1-to-1 simulations of society and possible futures. Used right, there is a chance to make much smarter policymaking. Or for competitors to traditional political powers to outwit them.
This talk draws on Anders’ research into risk modelling and collective cognition. It asks the question: will politics in 2025 be run be data, simulations, or Twitter?
Rohit Talwar, Global Futurist and Founder of Fast Future Research
Rohit Talwar is an award winning speaker on future insights and strategic innovation – addressing leadership audiences in over 60 countries on 6 continents. He focuses on helping global corporations, governments and NGO’s anticipate, understand and respond to the ideas, developments, forces and trends shaping the future. He has particular interests in emerging science and technology and the challenges of embedding foresight and future thinking in organisations.
Rohit is currently leading client studies on the timeline for the next 100 years, science and technology developments shaping the next 50 years, human enhancement, disruptive forces for business, the future impacts of technology on the legal sector and the shadow economy. He is the author of Designing your Future and contributes regularly to a range of business, technology and news publications around the world. His clients include 3M, American Express, Astra Zeneca, IBM, Intel, GE, Microsoft, Pfizer, SAP, and Shell.
>>> Driving forces, global challenges, and potential disruptions
Rohit will outline a set of megatrends, challenges, and potentially disruptive developments that could drive scenarios for how our world could look in 2025. He will examine the potential impact of factors such as economic and political uncertainty, jobless growth, cyber currencies, the shadow economy, inequality, new business models, and emerging areas of science and technology.
Ben McLeish, The Zeitgeist Movement
Ben McLeish is one of the principal organisers of The Zeitgeist Movement in the UK, and is an accomplished speaker and presenter. He is a graduate of the University of Warwick, where he studied English, Literary and Cultural Theory.
Founded in 2008, The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) is a Sustainability Advocacy Organization which conducts community based activism and awareness actions. The defining goal of TZM is the installation of a new socioeconomic model based upon technically responsible Resource Management, Allocation and Distribution through what would be considered The Scientific Method of reasoning problems and finding optimized solutions.
This “Natural Law/Resource-Based Economy” is about taking a direct technical approach to social management as opposed to a Monetary or even Political one. It is about updating the workings of society to the most advanced and proven methods Science has to offer, leaving behind the damaging consequences and limiting inhibitions which are generated by our current system of monetary exchange, profits, corporations and other structural and motivational components.
>>> Updating Technical Values and Hacking Culture-Lag
Maneesh Juneja, Digital Health Futurist and Health 2.0 London Chapter Leader
Maneesh Juneja has worked with data for almost 20 years. From supporting the Whitehall study at UCL, managing the Tesco database at DunnHumby, and most recently, working with the world’s largest U.S. health insurance claims databases at GlaxoSmithKline R&D. During his 9 years at GSK in the Worldwide Epidemiology team, Maneesh worked on observational studies providing “real world evidence” for drug & vaccine development, market access, and post marketing surveillance. He left GSK in 2012, and set up his own consultancy, MJ Analytics.
Maneesh also founded the Health 2.0 London Chapter, gave a TEDx talk on his vision of 7 billion citizen scientists, and attended FutureMed at Singularity University. He’s also the co-founder of Who Owns Your Health Data?, and MD Global Health.
>>> Healthcare in the future: will advancing technology make doctors unemployed?
Specifically, will algorithms, robotic surgery, 3D bioprinting and the Internet of Things make doctors unemployed?
Paul Barnett, Founder & Acting CEO, The Strategic Management Forum
Paul Barnett is Founder and Acting CEO of the Strategic Management Forum which aims to play a leading role in ‘advancing the professional practice of strategic management’. He authors a daily Strategy Snack email that provokes discussion in a related Linkedin Group. Paul is also working on a number of books including:
- Congruent Strategy which will bring together new and existing management tools and concepts designed to create real sustainable value, whilst achieving harmony between the parts of the organisation as a dynamic system, and the organisation as part of much larger and more important systems: commercial, social, technological and natural.
- Reputation as Strategy an exploration of the idea that concern for corporate reputation can drive organisation and managerial processes both within corporations and between corporations and their stakeholders – linking to the concepts of values-based capitalism, and a means of operationalising Congruent Strategy.
Previously Paul was Executive Officer of the Strategic Planning Society. He has a background in strategic marketing, with a focus on brand strategies. He is also the Founder and CEO of the Strategic Management Bureau.
>>> Re-Thinking Strategy: How organisations can thrive during rapid change ahead
M Amon Twyman, Founder, Zero State and Wave
Dr M Amon Twyman is a self-described Transhumanist, who believes that both individuals and society can be improved through the compassionate and intelligent use of technology.
Born in New Zealand and based in London, he is both a cognitive scientist interested in human and machine awareness, and an electronic, multimedia and performance artist. Amon is the founder of the Zero State movement, having originally envisaged it as a socially aware and action-oriented Futurist community, with an emphasis upon mutual support and equal respect for the sciences and arts.
>>> The Wave of change: Convergent technologies and disruptive trends in 2025
- Problem: It’s not only positive technologies that converge. Risks do, too.
- Vision: Positive social change through technology.
- Strategy: Identifying and coordinating stakeholders and their spheres of influence.
The problems we face today cannot be solved without technology. Indeed, the technology we have now is too dangerous to simply abandon and hope for the best. We must harness the potential of technology to solve our civilization’s biggest problems once and for all. Ideally, in solving those problems we will be able to usher in a new era of exploration and fulfilment for humanity, but we have much more pressing concerns to deal with first. Although technology can drive the solution of our problems, we cannot simply ignore the social, political, and economic issues that are their essence and hope that technology will somehow bypass such things. We can no longer leave our highest societal imperatives up to markets and short-sighted political processes. The vision we require is of a society which embraces its technology and explicit, positive values equally.
Time is short. We have been aware of these trends and problems for decades, and two things have become apparent. One is that traditional political systems are incapable of solving the really serious problems. The other is that for all the posturing of law makers and ethicists, new technologies do not wait for societal consensus to enter the world. Together, these things could spell disaster or could offer a way to solve every major problem currently before us.
Andrew Vladimirov, information security expert and DIY brain hacker
Andrew Vladimirov is a neuroscience PhD who quit academia years ago to run a private company as no grants related to the topics of his main research interests were available. He continues to experiment with nootropics, CES, TMS, and transcranial cold laser stimulation on himself, friends, and colleagues in free time.
Back in the USSR and right after its collapse, Andrew participated in design and testing of potential nootropic and ergotropic compounds under supervision of one of the creators of Picamilon. In a separate project, he also studied effects of SHF (super high frequency waves) on tissue regeneration.
>>> The near future of accessible cognition enhancement and modification
Calum Chace, author of ‘Pandora’s brain’
Calum Chace lives in London and Sussex. After a 30-year career in business he chairs and consults to entrepreneurial businesses, and he is now a novelist and a blogger.
Calum believes that the first conscious machine may be created before this century is halfway through. The consequences of this are likely to be astonishing. He points to a quotation from Andrew Marr in a BBC1 TV programme last year, describing this forthcoming creation as: “the greatest achievement of humanity since the invention of agriculture [and it will] challenge the very idea of what it is to be human.”
>>> Minds and AIs: six important questions
This talk makes the case for an urgent and massive Apollo project to enable brain preservation, in order to make the transition to superhuman AIs peaceful, and to stop a terrible slaughter which has afflicted us ever since our distant ancestors stopped being microbes.
The six questions are:
- Can we make a conscious machine?
- If so, when?
- Will AIs be friendly?
- Can we upload our minds into computers?
- Would an uploaded you be you?
- Can we survive the transition to a society with uploads?
Riva-Melissa Tez, co-Founder, Kardashev Communications
Riva-Melissa Tez studied Philosophy at University College London and has a track record of entrepreneurship and social innovation, including the co-creation of a social network for children.
Riva’s passion for philosophy got her interested in the deeper implications of technology and she founded Berlin Singularity – a group focusing on bringing and promoting pro-longevity and futurist discussions to mainland Europe. Now living in San Francisco, she co-runs Kardashev Communications a German/US consultancy group promoting and connecting funds to emerging technologies. Riva is also Associate Director of Longevity Intelligence Communications.
Riva is a lecturer at the DAB university in Berlin and regularly presents and writes about the absurdity of death, and the different approaches that science and technology groups are using to tackle this problem worldwide.
>>> The three obstacles that prevent emerging technologies from fulfilling their potential
This talk looks at the obstacles that need to be overcome so that emerging technologies can create the pathway for futurist hopes and expectations to be fulfilled. It analyses factors causing shortfalls in funding, social mistrust, and political dysfunction – and it offers recommendations for dealing with these obstacles.
Marco Vega and Peter Brietbart, directors, British Institute of Posthuman Studies
The British Institute of Posthuman Studies (BIOPS) aims to widely promote ethical thinking about the future, and bring the transhumanist discussion about upcoming technologies into mainstream thought.
Spearheaded by writers Marco Vega and Peter Brietbart, and creatively led by multimedia artist Mihai Badic (aka Many Artists Who Do One Thing), BIOPS released its first contribution to the field this November: a fully animated introduction to transhumanism. Through eye-grabbing graphics and a thought-provoking script, the short documentary offers an informative yet accessible overview of one of the most exciting and potentially dangerous areas of human thought.
The film centres on the broadest premises of transhumanism – focusing on the disparity between our world-shaping technological advances and our almost unchanged Darwinian biology.
The video was launched online on the 5th of November and it quickly spread online, accumulating over 10,000 views in the first 24 hours and then carrying on to hit 20,000 in under a week, as well as 1000 YouTube subscribers.
>>> Cultivating the Future: Benevolent Memes and How to Spread Them
The most important conversation humanity needs to be having with itself is going on, but amongst the noise, it’s barely a whisper. In this talk, British Institute of Posthuman Studies (BIOPS) directors Marco Vega and Peter Brietbart discuss how to get good ideas out, why the status-quo is untenable, and how to make a positive impact. They will also be reviewing their debut video, Posthuman: An Introduction to Transhumanism.
David Wood, smartphone pioneer and Chair, London Futurists
David Wood has spent 25 years envisioning, architecting, designing, implementing, and avidly using smart mobile devices. He was co-founder of Symbian, the creator of the world’s first successful smartphone operating system, and served on Symbian’s leadership team in London from 1996-2009. Subsequently he was CTO of Accenture Mobility, and now acts as independent consultant and writer.
As chair of London Futurists, David has organised regular meetings in London since March 2008 on futurist, transhumanist, technoprogressive, and singularitarian topics.
>>> Predictions, good, bad, and ugly: roadblocks en route to 2025
This talk looks at a series of predictions that people have made at various times about the future – some good, some bad, and some ugly. Drawing on his observations of the factors responsible for both the successes and failures of one of the most notable technology industries – smartphones – the speaker will highlight:
- Five factors complicating the timing and extent of impacts from technology
- Three core disciplines that will allow organisations to successfully “ride the tiger” of fast-changing underlying disruption
- Recommendations for how society can avoid the many major roadblocks that lie ahead of us, between now and 2025.
Dean Bubley, session moderator
Dean Bubley is the founder of Disruptive Analysis, a research and consulting company specialising in the field of communications technology and business models. As well as covering day-to-day trends in telecoms and mobile devices, he also considers future models for human-centric interaction with networks and applications, as well as the social and political ramifications of technology change.
Dean will be chairing sessions at this event – adding his industry insight, and helping to ensure that the flow of conversation remains open and constructive.
A regular conference moderator and speaker, Dean has had a longstanding interest in futurist and transhumanist concepts, and acted as session chair for the 2010 and 2011 UK Humanity+ conferences in London. Dean has a degree in Physics from Oxford University.