The Future Of…

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In partnership with the The Tony Blair Institute.

Pessimism is easy. It’s optimism that’s hard. It can be tempting to take a cynical view of the world and the direction it’s going. We are here to challenge this in a 10-part series, The Future Of, where people get together to share and exchange optimistic takes on the future enabled by technology.

The Future Of  proposes an exercise of imagination and visualisation of a shared future in which technology makes the world go round. In creating this vision for the future, we are calling for a truly diverse community – in background, experience, gender, geography – to carve the path ahead.

The series will kick off with a discussion on the future of the Internet, followed by that of Cities, Food, Education, Health, Governments and more. Stay tuned for more episodes releasing, special guests, a Discord channel for comments and conversations and generally inspiration for how we might begin building a future that we are on board with, enabled by the right technology, policy and people.

This series has 10 episodes

Beginning on February 23, 2022

10 individual tickets will be released for each episode

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1February 23
9:00am – 10:30am GMT
The Future of the Internet: Is it open and free?
The open internet is under threat. Restrictions on internet freedoms are increasing globally, governments are competing to assert their authority, and large tech companies are commanding increasing amounts of influence over what we consume and how we behave online. Who should control the internet? Who holds the responsibility of keeping it open and beneficial? These are some of the questions we will ask as we outline the basic shared principles that the Internet of the future should abide by.
2March 9
9:00am -10:30am GMT
The Future of Cities: Smart and sustainable or segregated and uninhabitable?

From the time of the first human settlers, cities have been the centre of economic activity, facilitating trade, culture, and civilisation. In 2007, for the first time in history, more people lived in cities than in rural areas. And cities have continued to grow and attract more people in pursuit of a better quality of life. However, rapid urbanization has created new challenges. From overpopulation and pollution to larger forces like climate change and shifting geopolitical tides, these factors combined are placing increasing amounts of pressure on cities and their inhabitants around the globe.
In this salon, we’ll discuss the future of cities and the cities of the future. What does a tech-driven, smart and sustainable, yet equitable and liveable city look like? What is the role of government, the private sector, and civil society? Finally, how can cities and rural areas cooperate to achieve food security and create opportunities beyond the limits of cities?
3March 23 9:00am-10:30 GMT
Meat Zero: Are You Ready for the Future of Food?
The pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities of our food systems while climate change is prompting a serious look at the need to shift consumption patterns and behaviour, especially with meat. Meat consumption, however, is predicted to rise even further. Can these trends be reconciled? Alternative proteins offer an exciting potential solution. This salon will look at the latest developments in the industry and discuss the challenges and opportunities in scaling these technologies globally.
4May 27
1:30pm-3:00 GMT
The Future of Work: Are We Ready for ‘Anywhere Jobs’?
In a post-Covid world, we’re looking into a future where work can possibly be done anywhere, anytime. Technology and platforms like Zoom and the Metaverse are breaking down old barriers to remote work and promising better ways to work and communicate than ever before. For many, the experience of working from home has also been beneficial and is likely to remain their preference.

As more people move out of expensive cities in favour of cheaper rents and more affordable costs of living, how will the shift in work change our cities and their appeal to the young, ambitious career person? And will a wider pool of talent sourced globally democratize access to good jobs, or simply entrench inequality deeper?
5June 15
8:00pm-9:30 EDT
The Future of Spirituality: Are Synthetic Psychedelics and Consciousness Hacking the New Meditation?
Spirit tech is a new wave of brain-based technology meant to enhance, accelerate, modify or measure the spiritual experience. Ever get frustrated trying to meditate? There’s now a brain-sensing headband for that; it uses neurofeedback to guide your brain into a meditative state.

This, and many more technologies—such as transcranial magnetic brain stimulation—are sprouting with the promise of elevating intense spiritual experiences that can otherwise take years to attain. 

Similarly, other tech are promising to democratize spirituality—such as church in the metaverse, psychedelic-like experiences in virtual reality, and synthetic psychedelics (no trip required). But skeptics question whether using tech to achieve these experiences is authentic and safe.

The big question is, what is the potential for spirit tech to change human spirituality?

What would a tech-enabled spiritual experience look like for you and me? And how do you feel about an aspect of our very personal lives and experiences being infiltrated by tech? 
6TBDThe Future of Government and Politics
How should governments harness the benefits of disruption from technology – in the development of smarter public services, in the way democracy will be reshaped – but also manage the risks?
How will our relationship with politics and government change as technology shapes politics, facilitates protest, and galvanizes new political and social movements?
July / AugustBreak
7TBDThe Future of Education
Technology has prompted new ways to enhance learning and support teachers, but access, quality, and funding within education systems remain highly unequal. This salon will discuss the current challenges in education systems globally and seek views on what it means to attain a “good education” within the context of different starting points and limited resources.
5TBDThe Future of Health (Longevity)
One of humanity’s greatest success stories of the past century is the increase in global life expectancy as a result of social and medical advancement. However, longer lives haven’t fully translated into healthier lives. As we grow older, the likelihood that we will live with chronic illness rises significantly.

Solving the longevity challenge also looks very different between the developed and the developing world, with many more outcomes in between. This salon will look at the structural changes needed for us to live healthfully in older age, and the societal and governmental considerations to embrace an older, healthier population.
6TBDThe Future of Money
How should governments harness the benefits of disruption from technology – in the development of smarter public services, in the way democracy will be reshaped – but also manage the risks?

How will our relationship with politics and government change as technology shapes politics, facilitates protest, and galvanizes new political and social movements?
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