Future Day London 2014
We are so busy in our lives that we leave very little space for anything that does not fit into our short-term plans. ‘Prioritising’ seems to be the key word if we want to survive in this hectic and demanding world. I too am guilty of this short-termism disease: I am running a new start-up with minimal budget and basically no external help and find myself pressured to prioritise activities that will lead Ākāśa Innovation to become a fully sustainable social enterprise. However, this focus on short-term gains is not only highly stressful and tiring, but misleading too. By focusing so much on short-term needs, we lose track of the bigger picture, and consequently, we are blind to potential threats and opportunities.
Under these premises I wholeheartedly welcomed the initiative Future Day London 2014 that took place last Saturday, 1 March 2014 at Impact Hub Islington. Drawing upon previous events held in Sydney since 2010 by Australian social entrepreneur and campaigner Nick Moraitis, a group of 15 people gathered together for an all-day interactive discussion about the future, facilitated by Simon Moss and Rachel Hills. Imagining how the world will look like in 2040, our discussions focused around a number of key themes, such as the role of the individual and of families, the meaning of empowerment, geo-political trends and the development of new technologies.
I decided to join the group that was examining the role of new technologies in 2040 because the idea of a world that includes the likes of artificial intelligence, robotics, biogenetic modification and life extension really scares me. Whether we want it or not, this world is happening, and really fast too, so we better prepare for it the best way possible. After an intense 40-minute discussion, there was a clear distinction between some people in the group who are optimistic and believe that these new technologies have an enormous potential to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, from climate change to health; and others who are pessimistic and think that we will be unable to maintain control over these technologies, with potential serious consequences for the human species. We concluded that these new technologies could be either our salvation or our destruction. Only time will tell.
How does 2040 look like to you? What are today’s trends you believe will translate to the future, and what are new trends, challenges and solutions that might emerge?