CEO Futures Briefing: Mars is a hellhole and the holographic circus

Each week Nikolas Badminton curates a weekly list of insights and learnings for progressive executives and world leaders - CEO Futures Briefing.

This week we look at why Mars is not a great place to live, Taco Bell and its post-pandemic aspirations, Holographic Animals at Circus Roncalli, the future of psychedelics and how mass psychosis is a threat to us all.

Also featured is an insightful interview with Melissa Eshaghbeigi who talks to Nikolas about the empathetic and ugly future of social media.

If you have questions about these things we’re sharing, or a challenge with seeing the futures for you and your organization? Reach out to speak with Nikolas today to arrange a time to talk.

Three articles to read

Mars Is a Hellhole - Colonizing the red planet is a ridiculous way to help humanity

Mars is a hellhole. The central thing about Mars is that it is not Earth, not even close. In fact, the only things our planet and Mars really have in common is that both are rocky planets with some water ice and both have robots (and Mars doesn’t even have that many).

Mars has a very thin atmosphere; it has no magnetic field to help protect its surface from radiation from the sun or galactic cosmic rays; it has no breathable air and the average surface temperature is a deadly 80 degrees below zero. Musk thinks that Mars is like Earth? For humans to live there in any capacity they would need to build tunnels and live underground, and what is not enticing about living in a tunnel lined with SAD lamps and trying to grow lettuce with UV lights? So long to deep breaths outside and walks without the security of a bulky spacesuit, knowing that if you’re out on an extravehicular activity and something happens, you’ve got an excruciatingly painful 60-second death waiting for you. Granted, walking around on Mars would be a life-changing, amazing, profound experience. But visiting as a proof of technology or to expand the frontier of human possibility is very different from living there. It is not in the realm of hospitable to humans. Mars will kill you.

Read more at The Atlantic

New Windowless Taco Bell On Stilts Design is Result of "Auto-Dominated Market Forces"

The use of windowless, visually impenetrable architecture to conceal equipment has now been taken up by…Taco Bell. As the pandemic has shifted many fast food chains to takeout-only, Taco Bell parent company Border Foods is betting that customers have grown to prefer it. Thus the new Taco Bell outpost in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, has no dining room, and is basically a windowless fast food factory on stilts:

"The building will have a contemporary look using architectural metal panels, glass, and block," reads a document submitted to the city's planning commission. "The building is designed to screen all the restaurant's mechanical equipment."

Upstairs, unseen workers will prepare the food, expected to be ordered via app. The bulk of the building's footprint at ground level is taken up by four drive-thru lanes. As customers pull up to the dispensing points, the food is delivered down to them via dumbwaiter. There is no human face-to-face contact.

Read more at Core77

Whose future is it? Why every voice matters

Who has the power to decide about that future? Who facilitates foresight processes, who is involved and who isn’t? These are critically important when addressing major societal challenges and in this current moment where our society is facing converging crises of a global climate emergency, a pandemic, racial inequity and an economic crisis.

To be effective, or to have any degree of legitimacy, any process that seeks to re-imagine the future must be co-designed to be inclusive.

To be more inclusive, foresight processes must make room for citizens and /or non-experts to participate. But participatory foresight must go beyond inclusion and also challenge the inherent power dynamics at play. It must avoid reproducing the power relations of the present, engage in deep listening, and invite the participation of non-experts and also representatives from future generations to be 'in the room'.

Read more at The RSA

Three videos to watch

Holographic Animals at Circus Roncalli - Holograms Replace Live Animals in a german Circus

Live animals used to be the stars at circus shows – no more at the german Circus Roncalli. They replaced live horses and elephants with holographic animals that are projected in the circus ring. For Circus Roncalli, it's a sign of the times. Tents are no longer set up on meadows but on parking lots and like that the living conditions for circus animals have changed. And so did the show of the long-established German circus. 

Hamilton Morris - Creating The Future Of Psychedelics

Hamilton Morris is a journalist, documentary producer and a chemist and Hamilton's Pharmacopeia is one of the most interesting documentaries around chemistry, psychoactive drugs, psychedelic culture and traditional uses for plant medicine ever.

Hamilton talks about his interest in consciousness, why chemistry hasn't captured culture like other sciences, why Mkat failed because of a branding issue, why we should be synthesising DMT ourselves instead of squeezing Bufo Alvarius the psychedelic toad of the Sonoran Desert and much more...

Is a Mass Psychosis the Greatest Threat to Humanity?

A conversation that counts

Each week we dig into the archives of all of the interviews Nikolas has undertaken with the insightful and entertaining Exponential Minds Podcast. This week we feature Melissa Eshaghbeigi who talks about the empathetic and ugly future of social media.

The last word...

“The Earth is littered with the ruins of empires that believed they were eternal.” Camille Paglia

About Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton is a world-renowned futurist speaker, consultant, researcher, and media producer. He helps trillion-dollar companies, progressive governments and the media shift their mindset from “what is” to “WHAT IF…” The result is empowered employees, new innovative products and incredible growth that leads to more revenues and a more resilient future.

Nikolas advised Robert Downey Jr.’s team for the ‘Age of A.I.’ documentary series, starred in ‘SMART DRUGS – a Futurist’s journey into biohacking’, and features on CTV, Global News, Sirius XM regularly. His mind-expanding research and opinion can be found on BBC, VICE, The Atlantic, Fast Company, Techcrunch, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Forbes, Sputnik and Venturebeat. 

Nikolas provides the opening chapter - ‘Start with Dystopia’ in a new book - ‘The Future Starts Now: Expert Insights into the Future of Business, Technology and Society’ for Bloomsbury. He is currently researching and writing a new book that equips executives and world leaders with insights and foresight tools to imagine disruption, strengthen strategic planning, and see unforeseen risks.

Nikolas is a Fellow of The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce - The RSA. The organization has been at the forefront of significant social impact for over 260 years with notable past fellows including Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, and Tim Berners-Lee.