CEO Futures Briefing: The downward spiral and theoretical warp engines

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

This week we look at the downward spiral into a strange world, a theoretical warp engine that could (in theory) enable us to travel at the speed of light, China and Russia in space together (at last), more thinking on robotics, life on Mars, and more.

Also featured is an insightful interview on the Exponential Minds Podcast with Monika Bielskyte  about plurality, the injustices of COVID-19, and the multiplicitous futures we should be looking towards.

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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

THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL: POPULAR THINGS by Dean Kissick

The ball falls in Times Square. The clock ticks over. It’s a bright new year. Your ex-quant friend drives three of you down to a millionaire’s TriBeCa coke loft in his vintage red Alfa Romeo. You’re racing down Broadway with the top down and all the lights turn green for you, they glow for you. The loft’s full of artists and artworks. The evening’s hosted by your friend who used to be a designer at Celine and now couriers drugs. Plates of lines are going around. You’re handed some ecstasy, you’re talking to a Marxist on the floor, you’re introduced to a former America’s Next Top Model contestant, you’re accelerating. It’s 2021. Cryptocurrency’s exploding. DeFi (decentralised finance) in particular. Robinhood traders on r/WallStreetBets nearly take down a hedge fund. It’s Valentine’s Day and you’re alone. The European Central Bank tweets, “Roses are red, Violets are blue, We’ll keep financing conditions favourable, ’Til the crisis is through.” Cryptocurrency’s exploding again. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in particular. The Nyan Cat meme goes for $590,000. The “ape in a fedora” CryptoPunk goes for $1.54 million. An animated gif of Trump’s bloated, naked corpse by someone called “Beeple” goes for $6.6 million, setting a new record for any Millennial artist, dead or alive. Christie’s launches a two-week sale of one of his works. It closes tomorrow and has already broken the record again. Current bid: $9,750,000. The US senate passes a $1.9 trillion relief bill. You’re in Starbucks following the floor stickers that tell you where to stand, looking at the price of each cookie, mind RACING, worrying, thinking, Hyperinflation! Michael Burry is right!

Read more at Spike Art

New Theoretical Warp Engine Brings Us Closer To Travel At The Speed Of Light

Faster-than-light travel (FTL) is a staple of science fiction and interstellar travel. Of course, this technology would be incredibly useful to us in the real world, and although warp engines – or warp drives – have been considered theoretically possible, they usually involve exotic physics that are beyond our reach. Now, astrophysicist Erik Lentz has outlined a new theoretical design that could enable travel at the speed of light on conventional physics.

The thrust of this engine would allow a spacecraft to be propelled at a speed equivalent to several times the speed of light while avoiding the problems associated with relativistic time dilation. This type of propulsion is based on bending or distorting space-time, in such a way that it allows the ship to approach the destination point.

Read more at Infinity Explorers

Planetary pact: China and Russia to launch lunar space station

The Russian space agency Roscomos said in a statement on Tuesday it signed an agreement with China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) to develop a “complex of experimental research facilities created on the surface and/or in the orbit of the Moon”.

CNSA, for its part, said the project was “open to all interested countries and international partners” in what experts said would be China’s biggest international space cooperation project to date.

Russia is seeking to retake the lead in the space race.

This year, it celebrates the 60th anniversary of Russia’s first-ever crewed space flight – it sent Yuri Gagarin into space in 1961, followed by the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, two years later.

Read more at Al Jazeera

Three videos to watch

Irakli Beridze, Head, Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics - UNICRI - United Nations

Irakli Beridze is the Head of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). 

With a Master’s Degree in International Relations and National Security Studies, and a law degree, Mr. Beridze has more than 20 years of experience in leading multilateral negotiations, developing stakeholder engagement programs with governments, UN agencies, international organizations, private industry and corporations, think tanks, civil society, foundations, academia, and other partners on an international level.

Manned Mars Mission | The Mars Base

This is the second part of the multi-part special on the conquest of Mars. The first part was about the challenges of the Mars spacecraft and this part is about building the first settlement on Mars. Because no other planet in our solar system seems more likely to become a second home for humans in a not too distant future.

The Insane Engineering of the Perseverance Rover

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 Monika Bielskyte who talks about plurality, the injustices of COVID-19, and the multiplicitous futures we should be looking towards.

The last word...

“The worst kind of poverty is the poverty of vision.” Onyi Anyado

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.