Insights · September 12th, 2022
In this occasional newsletter Nikolas Badminton curates a list of insights and learnings for progressive executives, world leaders and foresight practitioners – CEO Futures Briefing: Democracy Emerges From the Spaces In Between
This week we look at There Never Was a West by the amazing David Graeber, changing ESG landscapes and mining, transhumanism, the food of 2050 and more.
Also featured is an insightful interview with three experts on metaversal worlds.
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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.
Five articles to read
There Never Was a West (Or, Democracy Emerges From the Spaces In Between)
By David Graeber
What follows emerges largely from my own [David Graeber’s] experience of the alternative globalization movement, where issues of democracy have been very much at the center of debate. Anarchists in Europe or North America and indigenous organizations in the Global South have found themselves locked in remarkably similar arguments. Is “democracy” an inherently Western concept? Does it refer a form of governance (a mode of communal self-organization), or a form of govern ment (one particular way of organizing a state apparatus) ? Does democracy necessarily imply majority rule? Is representative democracy really democracy at all? Is the word permanently tainted by its origins in Athens, a militaristic, slave-owning society founded on the systematic repression of women? Or does what we now call “democracy” have any real historical connection to Athenian democracy in the first place? Is it possible for those trying to develop decentralized forms of consensus-based direct democracy to reclaim the word? If so, how will we ever convince the majority of people in the world that “democracy” has nothing to do with electing representatives? If not, if we instead accept the standard definition and start calling direct democracy something else, how can we say we’re against democracy—a word with such universally positive associations?
Read more at The Anarchist Library
Why is ESG so important to critical mineral supplies, and what can we do about it?
Clean energy technologies typically require much greater quantities of minerals and metals than their fossil fuel-based counterparts. As the world transitions towards net zero, the rapid shift to these technologies is expected to drive a significant increase in demand for many minerals, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, copper, aluminium and rare earth elements. The demand and use of these critical minerals will vary depending upon climate policies adopted by countries across the world.
Alongside supply concerns, there are also significant risks associated with the environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts of mining projects. These include risks associated with geopolitical tensions, armed conflict, human rights violations, bribery and corruption, emissions, water stress and loss of biodiversity. These types of impacts can erode public support for mining projects, and will face increasing scrutiny from downstream industries, investors and civil society, potentially leading to short-term production disruptions and stark local and international resistance to mining investments.
Read more at IEA
Beyond our ‘ape-brained meat sacks’: can transhumanism save our species?
The 21st century will be make or break for humanity, says Oxford University transhumanist Elise Bohan. If we get it right, she thinks we might find something better
Ageing cured. Death conquered. Work ended. The human brain reverse-engineered by AI. Babies born outside of the womb. Virtual children, non-human partners. The future of humanity could be virtually unrecognisable by the end of the 21st century, according to Elise Bohan – and that’s if we get the transition right. If we get it wrong, well.
“The future is wildly scary,” says the young philosopher-macrohistorian-futurist with a smile. “I can’t lie to you about that. In ten years time it’s all going to look pretty different, and in another ten years that’s a total event horizon for me … I think it’s eminently plausible at that point that the game has changed in some very fundamental way, whether for good or bad.”
Read more at The Guardian
Future Foods: What Will People Eat in 2050?
What does your grocery cart typically look like? Maybe you load it up with avocados, nutritious quinoa and bananas each week. Perhaps coffee always makes its way onto your grocery list, as does a bottle of wine for the weekend. Unfortunately, with current unsustainable methods of farming and worsening climate change, many of the staples we rely on today will be even more expensive and less accessible by 2050 than they already are.
“Transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts,” said Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the Summary Report of the EAT-Lancet Commission. “Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%. A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.”
Read more at EcoWatch
Solar Domes Could Desalinate Seawater at a Commercial Scale
The plant is essentially “a steel pot buried underground, covered with a dome,” making it look like a ball, Solar Water CEO David Reavley told CNN Arabia. The glass dome, a form of concentrated solar power (CSP) technology, is surrounded by “heliostat” reflectors that focus solar radiation towards inwards. Heat is transferred to seawater within the dome, which evaporates and then condenses to form freshwater. The solar dome plant does not utilize polluting fibers that are typically used in reverse osmosis desalination technologies, and Reavley claims that it is cheap and fast to build at the same time as being carbon neutral.
Read more at Interesting Engineering
Three videos to watch
Extended Arm – STELARC (2022)
Stelarc discusses the extended arm in this interview with Adam Ford.
“The Extended Arm is an eleven-degree-of-freedom manipulator with wrist flexion, wrist rotation, thumb rotation, individual finger flexion, with each finger splitting open, so each finger can potentially be a gripper in itself. The artist’s fingers rest on a panel of switches enabling the selection of pre-programmed sequences of finger, thumb and wrist movements. The clicking fingers, the compressed air and solenoid generate the sounds when performing. The Extended Arm extends the artist’s right arm to primate proportions. “
Future of the Metaverse Keynote with Nikolas Badminton
Nikolas Badminton talks to a large Big 4 consultancy client about the challenges and opportunities when considering experience futures by utilizing web3 and metaversal experiences.
TL;DW – gaming is the opportunity today and we need to see how web3 and metaversal experiences play out.
FUTURE PROOF: What is the Future of Robot & Human Friendship?
Meet poiq, your future buddy robot. Its AI gets smarter and more individualized through questions and conversations with users. Sony is reimagining communication and connection, and developing one-of-a-kind friendships between humans and robots in the process.
A conversation that counts
Three seasoned experts in the technologies that provide the foundations of the Metaverse come together to discuss the promise of a super-platform weaving social media, online gaming, utilitarian data provision, and ease-of-life apps, all accessible through the same digital and physical space and bound together with economic and content mechanisms.
James Hursthouse, CEO & Founder, Departure Lounge; Kharis O’Connell, Principal, Amazon; and Heather Vescent, President/Futurist, The Purple Tornado discuss the technological foundations and considerations from a privacy, security and business model perspective. A new egalitarian world, more more fragmented platforms where our participation and biometrics are monetized?
We’ll be back sharing more Exponential Minds Podcast episodes next time.
The last word…
I think the fossil fuel industry is genuinely freaked out by the combination of the price collapse, the divestment movement, and that fact that renewable energy is getting so cheap so fast.
About Nikolas Badminton
Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist at futurist.com and 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’ on Bloomsbury. His new book ‘Facing Our Futures’ is due out in 2022 on Bloomsbury and 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.