CEO Futures Briefing: Techno-inevitabilism and 1000 year old humans

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

This week we look at Techno-Inevitabilism, futures thinking and policy-making, the next century of war, transforming kitchen waste to energy, and 1000-year old humans. 

Also featured is an insightful interview with the UNESCO Chair on Futures Literacy Loes Damhof who talks to Nikolas about Futures Literacy, decolonization, and the poverty of our imagination.

To receive this, and other important insights into the future, then please sign up to Nikolas’ newsletter here.

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

Shoshana Zuboff’s Techno-Inevitabilism

Of the many threads that comprise Shoshana Zuboff’s excellent book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, we must consider most deeply her comments on the ideology of inevitabilism: the belief that technological progress, even if it is catastrophic for the planet, inimical to effective human life, or disastrous for society at large, cannot be allayed, prevented or reversed.

For us, a discussion of this ideology is imperative. Four observations ground this assertion: as Zuboff notes, this ideology ‘is “ubiquitous” within the tech community’,¹ and to a lesser extent, the economics profession, and citizens of advanced economies; it is politically catastrophic, for it confers an untrammelled power upon capitalists, and an immoderate impotence upon their subjects; the ideology is ‘rarely discussed or critically evaluated’ among the public;² and, most importantly, it is completely wrong.

Read more at Medium

Pia: Futures Thinking will be crucial to policymaking in the 'new normal'

"A Futures Thinking mindset is crucial in the post-COVID world."

This was the key takeaway of Senator Pia S. Cayetano from the first virtual public hearing she conducted in the Senate which invited futures thinking experts who talked about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and what the future holds for the Philippines and the world.

The Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Innovation, and Futures Thinking, which Cayetano chairs, held a hearing on Tuesday (May 12) to discuss with experts the necessary innovations and strategies in adapting to the 'new normal' amid the health crisis which severely disrupted lives, economies, and institutions across the globe.

"We all know that these are very challenging times for all of us. And it's really important that the different sectors in government, our NGOs [non-government organizations], and private citizens are able to avail of the best information there is worldwide to help us better understand what it means to use Futures Thinking as a tool to effectively plan for the new normal," Cayetano stressed.

Read more at the Senate of the Phillipines

Here’s where your rotten kitchen scraps are turned into natural gas and fertilizer 

Utah’s first anaerobic food digester revved up two years ago. Since then, this giant beast has been taking food waste from grocery stores, restaurants and other commercial food operations. (As well as 275 cases of beer from state liquor stores in 2019.)

The food is then transformed into natural gas and fertilizer.

The public drop-off service has been something the facility has wanted to offer since opening, sustainability manager Morgan Bowerman said in a news release.

Food sent to landfills, she said, does not break down as quickly as one might expect because it is not exposed to enough oxygen. And food that degrades slowly releases methane — a harmful greenhouse gas — into the atmosphere.

Read more at The Salt Lake Tribune

Three videos to watch

Microgravity Will Change How We Make Everything

Microgravity can be used to unlock old materials and make new ones in ways that can’t be replicated on Earth. Private companies know this, and are leading the charge toward the next gold rush. But can they turn low Earth orbit into a home for the next industrial revolution?

The Next Century of War

Future battlefields will employ ever-more technology, whether that battlefield is on earth, in the sea, in space, or in cyberspace. Today we will examine the roles robots, drones, artificial intelligence, armored suits, and nanotech may play in the future of war. 

Could Humans That Are Alive Today Live to 1,000 Years Old?

"I think there is at least a 50/50 chance that most people alive today will live to 1,000 years old." Dr. Aubrey de Grey discusses emerging medical technologies that could not only pause aging, but reverse it, in the surprisingly near future

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 Loes Damhof talks about Futures Literacy, decolonization, and the poverty of our imagination

The last word...

“Technological inevitability is the mantra on which we are trained, but it is an existential narcotic prescribe to induce resignation: a snuff dream of the spirit.”

Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

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.