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Futurists of the World Takes on Bioethics

BIOETHICS – What augmentation technology would you like to add to your own body? – How do you feel about germline gene editing and designer babies? – Are you ready to eat lab-grown meat? – In what sense do AI and biotechnology challenge what it means to be human?

On September 9, at the Association of Professional Futurists “Ethics and Philosophy of Futures” meetup hosted by Global Futurist Sylvia Gallusser, we had a deep conversation with Timothy Dolan about Biotech, Business, and Ethics. We evoked “algeny”, the genetic revolution, its unintended consequences, existential threat, and the notion of unambiguous good. Rewatch the session below.

With Victor Sarat Catalan at Using Foresight “Futurists of the World” meetup on September 10, we engaged further around bioethics and how we all feel personally about human augmentation, transhumanism, and ethics of future evolution. We brought the concept of “Ethics ROI”: how can we evaluate and measure the effect of our ethical work? And isn’t it contradictory with the definition of ethics?

Victor captured the essence of our conversation in an article and audio clip (below).

Every Friday, Foresight Advocate Victor Sarat Catalan hosts a Clubhouse conversation with his Using Foresight community. His Futurists of the World room gathered Professional Futurists, Foresight Practitioners, Futures Researchers, Futurologists, Strategic Forecasters, Trend Analysts, and more.

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Ethics of Wars: Taking Humans out of the Wars of the Future

Watch the replay of our “Ethics and Philosophy of Futures” event dedicated to Wars of the Future, with Rom Gayoso, Ph.D. Chris Mayer and Sylvia Gallusser and the support of the Association of Professional Futurists.

Rom Gayoso gave a thought-provoking presentation and led a profound debate about the use of autonomous weapons, the differences among ethics, legitimacy, accountability, moral obligation, and essence, as well as the notion of “true autonomy” beyond artificial intelligence.

Rom Gayoso is an economist with over 15 years experience in Fortune 500 companies. His work is in econometrics, Monte Carlo Simulations, and scenario planning. His dissertation is in applications of Scenario Planning in geopolitical, biomedical and energy sectors designed to help policymakers make more informed decisions. He is a published author, key note speaker, and regularly contributes to a variety of projects in the foresight/futures arena. Currently he is the editor of the International Market & Competitive Intelligence Magazine.

Design Futures – Postcards from the Future

*You’ve got mail!* Discover your two postcards from the future sent by The Design Futures Initiative following #PRIMER21. We will uncover them August 25 and August 26 during two happy hour sessions!

– Wed 8/25 (5-6PM PST) REMIXING & DEMYSTIFYING NUMEROLOGY, with Kelly Kornet and Analilia Morales

– Thu 8/26 (5-6PM PST) THE HOME OF THE 2020s MAKING OUR HOMES MORE RESILIENT with Sylvia Gallusser

– BONUS! Thursday 8/26 after the talk I will have a panel discussion with Kelly Kornet and Greg Solis about frameworks, rigor, including the voices of others, and whatever else is happening in our/your multiverses of #FuturesDesign.

Registration link: https://bit.ly/2XrvvKG

The Future of Education: Inspiration from 9 global futurists.

As 24 million children and youth are at risk of dropping out of school as a result of the global health crisis, according to UNESCO, Wellbeing Futurist Tom Meyers at Futurize Yourself et al. shared his inspiration to the students at RNB Global University in Rajasthan, India. He reached out to 8 futurists from all over the world to reinsufflate energy and motivation through a beautifully crafted video.

I couldn’t be more grateful to be part of such a meaningful and purposeful initiative along my amazing foresight colleagues and friends Victor Sarat Catalan Agustin Borrazas Mauricio Hernandez Chirag Tripathi Bernard Moerman Maxine Cunningham Christian Dr. Forstner. Thank you Tom!

Disrupting Existence: The Future Me!

Rewatch Roger Spitz’s lecture at #QuantumThinking2021 and the debate that follows with Sylvia Gallusser, Ligia Zotini Mazurkiewicz and Lala Deheinzelin on the topic of “Disrupting Existence: The Future Me”.

Imagining our future selves in a world in which technologies will go beyond our imagination. What could we do today to draw desirable futures considering a whole new universe of innovations, technologies, challenges, politics, and regulations, that the future will bring us? A discussion around privacy, paradigm shifts, social expectations, environment, and existential risks and opportunities.

We discussed possibilities offered by emerging technologies, human-tech relationships, space travel, ethics and philosophy. We wondered about our future selves, but also about our future “us”!

Thank you so much Maria Athayde, Andre Chaves, and Future Hacker for creating such an inspiring event!

Future Homes – At Home in the Post-Pandemic Era

Rom Gayoso, Editor of the newly launched International and Competitive Intelligence Magazine, invited Futurist Sylvia Gallusser to present her foresight methodology and the results of her work on the “Home of the 2020s”.

In her article “Futures Homes – At Home during the Post-Pandemic Era”, Sylvia introduces her X-ing from home framework including 3 post-pandemic scenarios: back to the familiar, pandemic-frozen, creative disruption.

Read the full article here (p.42). Thank you Rom for the opportunity to publish our research!

Mental Health in the Workplace: an Urgent Matter!

On July 21, Hacking HR organized an event on “Mental Health at Work: The Defining Challenge for HR in 2021” along four expert panels led by Hacking HR Founder Enrique Rubio:

  • Mental Health In The Workplace
  • The Business Imperative To Address Mental Health At Work
  • Leading Upward: How To Turn The C-Suite Into Champions of Mental Health
  • The Ethical Imperative: Why Addressing Mental Health At Work is Urgent

During the first panel, along with two wonderful panelists Anita Kanti and MaryBeth Hyland, Silicon Humanism Founder Sylvia Gallusser discussed the impact of the pandemic on mental health at work, the role of the employer and the ecosystem to support employees in their mental health challenges, and how to go beyond awareness to actual long-term and efficient actions.

Among the insights brought up during the day, Enrique underlines the following aspects:

  1. We must move from awareness to action. We will always be in the cycles of becoming more aware about an issue, but awareness without action is nothing.
  2. Mental Health is not stand alone in the workplace. It is interconnected with culture, leadership, management, and a lot more. Therefore, to resolve the mental health challenges at work we must think holistically and systemically.
  3. Leaders are the front line to support employees. While professional support will sometimes be needed, leaders must create the environment for their people to vulnerably come forward and express what they may be going through and the support they need.
  4. Mental health MUST NOT become another fad at work. While we acknowledged how positive it is to give people a week off or a “no zoom Friday”, these things alone are not enough. And for the larger organizations that usually become role models of these behaviors is important to acknowledge so.
  5. Finally, we all agreed on the complexity of mental health at work. And we also agreed on: having a long term vision of what we want to do, and start small with actionable steps that can provide quick, but sustainable wins.

Future Hacker Quantum Thinking 2021

The free online event “Future Hacker Quantum Thinking 2021” takes place on July 27th. Experts from around the world involved in creating our future discuss their ideas at Future Hacker Quantum Thinking 2021. The main speakers will be:

  • Itai Talmi, the founder of Born Partners, a company that works in innovative transformation initiatives and research and development in future strategies, talks about the theme ‘Quantum Anarchy’;
  • Roger Spitz, founder of Techistential, an innovation and disruption research, and education platform and contributor to the MIT Technology Review, which addresses ‘Disrupting Existence: The Future Me’;
  • Maria Paula (MP) Oliveira, Chief Innovation Officer at EY MENA, one of the most recognized innovation leaders in the international market, talks about ‘Epic Trends’.

After each keynote speaker, there will be a debate with multidisciplinary professionals specialized in digital culture, technology, new trends, creative and collaborative economy, among other fields linked to building the future.

As a part of this pool of innovators, our Silicon Humanism Founder Sylvia Gallusser will be taking part of a heated and mind-opening discussion about our Human Future. The goal is to inspire the audience to the new, the daring, the disruptive.

For more information and to register, go to: https://rstcom.stream/futurehacker

About Future Hacker: Started a year ago as a podcast on innovation, science, technology, and disruption with an emphasis on the next 10, 20, 30 years. It expanded with a channel in the United States where experts from around the world get interviewed. The podcast is available on most players (Google, Apple, Spotify, and others). Today it’s heard in more than 70 countries, in addition to a partnership with a Brazilian radium station, the Rádio Capital AM, aimed at classes C and D, with a program with more accessible language to democratize the subject.

The Home of the 2020s

How can we build more resilient housing and improve our mental health at home?

July 7 we discussed how to futureproof home design and home life, at the #PRIMER21 Conference organized by the The Design Futures Initiative.

We introduced our Report “The Home of the 2020s: Making our Homes more Resilient” and presented some of the results from the research paper “Four Archetypes of Future Homes” (The Tetris Home, The Bunker Home, The Toxic Home, The Safe Haven).

We particularly investigated the “Sustainability vs. Resilience” dilemma and mapped the challenges and opportunities for the 2020 decade.

Download the full article:

The Thirst for Knowing

“Probably one of the main things that characterized me as a teenager growing up in France, in the Paris suburbs, was that I was thirsty for knowledge, thirsty for science for culture. And it was both a fabulous driving force, but also a cause of profound anxiety. Driving force because I just want to ingest all the knowledge in the world at a time where there was no Google yet to reference it all. I would set goals and expectations to myself, such as reading a book per day, or listening to radio show every morning. I would go through the encyclopedia one by one, or watch investigative shows on on TV. I also wrote a lot in my journal to reflect on it. I contributed to the high school newspaper. And finally I started writing on the internet even before blogs existed, because that was a way  to digest and share with others what I had learned. It was also a cause of anxiety, because these mountains of knowledge and the rows of encyclopedias at the library were intimidating. I was wishing I could have a long life to be able to catch up with everything that happened in the world. I realized that discoveries and knowledge with were produced faster than I could really keep up with learning about them. It’s actually how I started dreaming about life extension and having parallel lives. I was desperate to follow what would become with humanity in the future, with our Earth and with the universe.  And the second anecdote that comes to mind is around 14 or 15. I discovered philosophy. It was a true revelation. I had a phase where I wanted to build a political party based on philosophy and wisdom. France, where I grew up, was and probably still is a very political country. People talk a lot about politics, at family dinners, with friends, at work with colleagues. I felt that philosophy could be the answer to building such a better society. But I was quickly discouraged by people around me. The message I got was that intellectuals think in their own ivory towers, while politicians do actual stuff. In the European culture, we are still collectively wounded by idealists willing to build better, more equitable, societies, and how that led to some of the worst tragedies in history with communism and socialism. We are very careful with utopian ideas that would be too close to forms of totalitarian systems. In addition, I grew up in a family of engineers, so with more Cartesian minds, where we would observe phenomena and discuss the physics of everyday things on Saturday evenings. My father would make lecture about liquid physics. So I was pushed towards scientific studies. And I have to admit that I developed a taste for maths and logics and physics and dreamed of becoming an astronaut. My father was a computer scientist, we had internet at home very early on, probably 1994-1995. I would spend hours on it, watching pictures of the universe or reading about science.  To sum it up, I had myriads of interest and potential careers, but also a sort of paralysis to choose one single path. Because choosing one would mean renouncing all the other options. I lived that impossibility to choose one vocation over the other as a frustration. Then I found a solution, or at least a way to channel this multidisciplinary thinking or to silence it for a while. I was probably 17, or 18 as I came up with an idea of a series of books. I had 10 books in mind. In each of the books, I would explore one career – I would be a astronaut in one, an artist, a journalist, an engineer, an entrepreneur in another one, and so on. However the rest of the world in the book would not change. My perspective on the world would change, the story would change, but the other characters and the word itself, in which the stories would happen would be fixed or slowly evolving, if my narrator had an action on it. It meant a lot of worldbuilding to be consistent from one book to the other. My idea was that the last book of it all, would be the key to the rest of the series. Because by spending my own life writing this 10 interconnected books on researching these careers, I would be older and have become a writer, which was kind of the encompassing vocation for all others. I had this Proustian project, if I may say so. I started writing it. And then life happens, which means I needed a degree, I needed a real paying job, I needed a more stable career path. And this project ended up in a drawer for a while.  Flash forward… I finally opted for diverse studies, a mixed maths, literature, and social science program in Paris, which led me to graduate from business school HEC Paris, with a specialization in management of arts and culture. For a while, I worked for radio shows and TV networks as a production assistant. Finally, I landed a stable consulting job at Accenture in strategy and product launch for telecommunication, media, and entertainment companies. Another twist in the story happened in 2005. I had the opportunity to leave that stable job to go live in San Francisco to work for the French Embassy as a trade attache. specialized in audiovisual. Since then, I have been supporting technology companies in their international development as part of different government agencies, Business France, French tech Hub, and a couple of years ago I created startup accelerator with two co-founders called big bang factory. During that time, I advised more than 500 tech companies in their strategy for the US market and fundraising, covering solutions from educational platforms, employee engagement interfaces, medical devices, sleep tech, or fall detection tools for the elderly, to name a few. About four or five years ago, I started to notice that our business strategy approach was too narrow sighted. We were focusing so much on finding customers finding funding, on short term profitability (around 2-3 years) that we ended up missing true signals of change, and losing long term vision.  I investigated foresight techniques to improve my strategy consulting practice and finally got certified as an expert Foresight Practitioner with the Institute for the Future. And it all made sense, I could finally reconcile my taste for science and technology, my interest in social science and philosophy, my attraction to futures thinking, my creativity, and my scenario-building abilities. There was a profession that truly valued multidisciplinarity!”

Listen to Sylvia Gallusser’s full interview on FuturePod. Thank you Peter Hayward for the opportunity to be featured on the podcast!

Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment

I had the immense privilege to be speaking at the “International Forum of Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment” remarkably organized by ICESCO.En – Islamic World Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization!

Thank you so much for the kind invitation, I am so grateful!

You can now watch the replay of the event

[Vignette of life 2030] The Kilt House

This is a Future Fiction piece in honor of Pride Month, exploring the future of gender, fashion, and homes in the context of a “content home” in 2030. Read the full text on Predict.

It has now been five years since I joined the Kilt House, and not a single boring day has gone by since the day I moved in. All together, we live in a whirlwind of work and pleasure and I am not even sure I can see a clear boundary between the two anymore. Because our main occupation is to produce images of leisure and share them for enjoyment purposes with our followers and clappers. The choice of our collab house’s name was quite straightforward — if I may say so. Because nothing in this home was anywhere close to straight. It was actually the beginning of the end of straightness. Not a single one of us could have been classified in the category formerly known as such. Nor in any of the capital letter acronyms that started to upset me — why would all of us fit in one extensive succession of initials? LGBTQIA+ acronyms, gender fluidity, and pansexuality had given place to the full-spectrum analogy which had been contested by other subgroups relating themselves as on-the-spectrum. And the old-fashioned rainbow wasn’t sufficient anymore, so that we became a “continuum” until we became just ourselves. No more categories. No more umbrella acronyms. Why would there be? What mattered was our uniqueness. Each of us had something to show, something to prove, something to display. An experience to share. A lifestyle to sell. At which point it made sense to unite our efforts under one roof. Around one pool. Around one translucid bar and a giant green phyto wall. Around one wooden desk — made of live wood since dead wood had been banned in interior design shortly before the home was designed. This lively piece of furniture was probably my favorite part in the home and the one where I spent most of my hours. A long circular desk where we’d all gather to discuss and envision and plan our next appearance. We would be contracted by fashion houses, home furniture designers, appliance manufacturers, biophilic carpentry manufacturers, pasta brands, gardening supply vendors, or consumer vee-nics (VR electronics) corporations to use and pose while using their latest products. I would never admit to my mates that I preferred our mise-en-scene of the zero-carbon-footprint pasta in a relaxed setting around the pool, than the stupid fashion headset with fake hair extensions that Prada made us wear. But Prada paid better than Barilla. So temporarily ignoring my Italian roots, I went where the money came from, or actually where our homeshare came from, as Gucci and Prada altogether possessed almost half of our villa. Gucci had just launched their third off-the-grid product line, with genderless snickers and econyl kilts when two friends of mine had launched the concept of the Kilt House. Content houses started to be in, and out. Friends or simili, living together in a luxurious loft setting, producing TikTok snaps, veenics shots, and pod.io games — that had become the new way of living following the Great Pandemic. Deciding to take this culture revolution to its next logical stage, my friends decided to create their own content villa. They did a wonderful job working with home designers to come up with the biophilic design which has made the place so special since then. Their next step had been to open the residence, the so-called Kilt House, for micro-influencers to join. I was a desperate one. I had had my share of instant fame as a top-notch Instagram influencer and the account owner of “Color-A-Day” — posting a random monochrome of Pantone color every morning, triggering my followers to share their best pictures with that dominant color during the day, and electing the best shot every evening with an acclaimed reposting on my account… Quite a push for the winner who would gain a couple hundred thousands viewers. But I knew this peak in my online reputation would be fading soon enough. Nomad in the streets of Rome, avid for glory, and looking for my next move, I applied to the Kilt House, sent my credentials, and was thrilled to be accepted as the fourth roommate of the residence. Kilt had been a quite unanimous symbol of the gender fluidity that connected us all, the unisex skirt that anchored us in a long-term tradition. Gucci, our first customer, or better qualified as our main “sponsor of the house” saw an explosion in kilts at the end of the pandemic. Black and white, unicolor or camouflage, malachite green and pastel ocean (elected Pantone colors of those first post-pandemic years), jeans or cotton, with pockets, stitches, or chains, a battledress for us to conquer the world. From there, the eighteen of us came up with creative ideas, topping each other each week, on how to best orchestrate the agender collection. I quickly became the imagery specialist, the lighting expert, the home director of photography. I work on image and coloration. On lights, highlights, and depth. I am to find the best backgrounds and contrasts for the samples the brands send us. And we are now representing over a hundred of them. Producing gigas and teras of veenics content. I had traded a couple hundred hours of Italian Renaissance Arts expertise for a training in Industrial Lights and Magics. I studied the effects of lighting and wavelength on moods. How grateful was I to receive a dozen edublocks from Pixar which helped me dig into lighting for increased emotions with lights and colors. I now feel confident enough to produce pictures that everyone of us can mentally color according to their sensibility. A genuine breakthrough. I love the idea that we can create a visual environment each of us is comfortable settling in, that there is not just one shade for each of us to contemplate. I spend a significant part of my days searching for the best palette to apply to our manufactured leisure settings. A couple of years ago the metallic trend was just emerging. Cloth designers had made evolutions to our old favorites — jeans and leather -, to integrate metallic components and silver reflections. They developed a patented fine texture baptized metacrylic which is a formidable material for me to work with in my sceneries. The market really took on and designers developed variations. Nowadays metacrylic comes in purple, neon pink, and turquoise. I have to admit that in our last VR production, the rendered effect of Gucci’s metacrylic kilt is splendid. Yesterday, a wave of vertigo swept through me as I watched my roommates wander in our mixed reality setting. For a moment they appeared to me as pure androids. My sense of reality is altered sometimes. I need to hold on to our live wood desk to stay connected with what is firm. A few years ago, all this imagery was pure science fiction, and now I live on a runway of models wearing metacrylic clothes, and all the new range of face accessories — biome beards, glasses with facial hair follicles, and antipollution earrings. What a colorful five-year journey it has been. What a wild ride in the highlands.

A Philosophy of the Future(s)

Listen to the replay of my lecture on “A Philosophy of the Future(s)”.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about this topic at Global Foresight Summit among so many inspirational sessions – Association of Professional Futurists World Futures Review: A Journal of Strategic Foresight FFWD – Futures Intelligence & Strategic Foresight.

Call to Action! We now need to build that think tank around Philosophy and Foresight. Contact me if interested in joining forces!

The Grey Swan Guild News Wrap — The Week That Was, May 28, 2021

Grey Swan Guild — News Wrap Edition: #19 of Vol. 1

These are a series of stories and headlines we are tracking in the
Grey Swan Guild’s Global League of Sensemakers Newsroom. Here is The Great, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of what we observed this week. Despite our eager impatience to learn what happens during the Friends Reunion, we took the time to gather for you news from the world and do some sensemaking from the threads of facts. This week, we cover economics, demographics, public health, mental health, environment, societal changes, big business, entertainment, brain science, innovative technology, worklife, and prehistory.

Join us on Sunday, May 30th at 8am (PST) 11am (EST) / 4pm BST on Clubhouse to engage with your favourite Grey Swan Guild Wrap Editors, including Sylvia GallusserSean MoffittAgustín BorrazásRob TyrieBen ThurmanLouise Mowbray, and Antonia Nicols.

For more events, check the Grey Swan Calendar — We had another of our thoughtful Ateliers exploring what will come and what will go after the pandemic recedes. We surfaced 20 questions about societal habit changes, value norms and beliefs and peering into the collective sentiment. Stay tuned for a report and sensemaking results from the workshop.

The next Grey Swan Guild Atelier on June 11 will go around the world with a geographic lens to look at comparative experiences. All Ateliers are free for members and the public.

This week was not only the Friends reunion, it was also the beginning of Graduation Season. And unlike last year, Class of 2021 gets to celebrate IRL with a mix of in-person and virtual commencement ceremonies. Hybrid is the word, and not just for education. The debate goes on between advocates of remote work and supporters of workplace reopenings, against a backdrop of introvert-extrovert-ambivert preferences. Meanwhile, big business is weathering the pandemic storm with brio, with Amazon buying MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, Google seeing its first-quarter revenues jumping 34% from the first quarter of 2020, and Disney launching “drone fireworks”. However, this celebration mood doesn’t prevent the American people from remembering George Floyd’s revolting death which shattered the country a year ago, forcing a reckoning that more had to be done to tackle systemic racism. Let’s dig into the Great, Good, Bad, and Ugly of the week.

The Great 😇

Credit: HBO Max
  1. Streaming wars and drone light shows. Amazon announced its acquisition of MGM Studios and its wide-ranging catalog of 4,000 films and 17,000 TV shows to help bolster its film and TV division, Amazon Studios. The $8.45 billion deal marks the second-largest acquisition in Amazon’s history, behind its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods in 2017. This power move boosts Amazon’s ambitions to fight the streaming battle against Netflix, Disney+/Hulu, Apple TV+, Paramount+, Peacock, HBO Max, and the latest AT&T Discovery megadeal. In honor of National Streaming Day, the Disney Bundle lit up the Los Angeles sky with drones forming iconic characters and imagery from beloved movies, series, and sports across Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN. Imagine Baby Yoda or Handmaid’s Tale illuminating the sky. In the same spirit as drone light shows at a miniature scale, Scientists at Brigham Young University have created tiny 3D animations out of light. These hologram-like visions exploit a phenomenon called photophoresis (spherical lenses create aberrations in laser light, heating microscopic particles and trapping them inside the beam) and persistence of vision.
  2. Beam me up ScottySpeaking of holograms, Google unveiled Project Starline, a hologram-like video chatting tool that makes it look like the person you’re talking to is right there in the same room. In times of physical distancing and still limited travel options, such technology is particularly praised. Project Starline consists of a booth decked out with cameras and sensors which capture your image and movements from multiple vantage points. The imagery then gets transmitted to a similar booth in a different room. In addition, spatial audio makes it seem like the sound of the other person’s voice is all around you. In the field of human augmentation, scientists have found a way to make artificial muscle fibers far more powerful than those found in nature, by imitating the structure of the complex DNA double helix. Potential applications include miniature machinery within prosthetic hands and dextrous robotic devices. Other instances of tech for good are developed by young innovators in Hong Kong, such as robots that can automatically disinfect shopping malls and deliver meals in quarantine hotels, or flight simulators to train pilots and students with an emphasis on aviation safety. Scientists at Lehigh University are interested in the challenges of “Toward next-generation learned robot manipulation”, which focus on training robots through machine learning to manipulate objects and environments like humans do.
  3. Stand by me. Together we’re stronger. Also promising is the field of gaming for good science. Canadian scientists won a Webby award for enlisting online gamers to identify COVID-19 in blood data. The collaboration engine provides a platform for citizen scientist gamers to participate in identifying blood disease and advance scientific research. In China, a Guangzhou student who got a habit of purchasing near expired food at reduced prices, established an online community of 60,000 people, who share tips on buying near-expired food every day. This trend gained traction in recent years, especially since China passed a new Anti-Food Waste Law in April, declaring that restaurants that “induce or mislead” customers into ordering excessively would be fined, and banning “eating shows” and “competitive eaters” on social media. More and more believe cities will come back stronger after the pandemic. Studies show urban living may not be as risky as we suspect. Researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Utah found that density wasn’t linked to infection rates, whereas connectivity and transportation between counties mattered more for viral spread and mortality. Cities actually proved to be more resilient and to distribute resources to their citizens efficiently and equitably.

The Good 😀

Credit: “Sapiens: A Graphic History: The Birth of Humankind (Vol. 1)” by Yuval Noah Harari
  1. Baby you can light my fire. Archaeologists from Israel and Canada have just proved that early humans were using fire at least 900,000 years ago, by dating a prehistoric cave in South Africa. This represents a major step towards confirming that human exploitation of fire for cooking and defence drove key aspects of human evolution, such as changes in human gut anatomy, dentition, facial shape and increased brain size that occurred at roughly that time. In other prehistoric news, recent research shows that brain networks for memory and planning may have set us apart from Neanderthals. By comparing the networks that govern our emotional reactions, self-control and self-awareness, among Neanderthals, chimps, and modern humans, scientists found out that humans have the most genetic sequences for self-control and self-awareness, whereas chimpanzees almost don’t and Neanderthals are at an intermediate level. These findings support the idea that higher creative capacities in modern humans evolved in Africa under powerful climatic stress and allowed modern humans to outpace Neanderthals when the two species met. However Neanderthals fare well on the emotional ladder. If geologist William King, who named the species Homo neanderthalensis, characterized it as brutish, with a “moral darkness”, it recently became clear that “Neanderthals were not the slow-witted louts we had imagined them to be”.’’
  2. Go go gadget car! Vehicles get smarter and greener. As futurists like to say, we need to be good historians to be valuable futures thinkers: “Look back to better look forward”. Well, who would have guessed that said modern humans who discovered the power of fire would one day land rovers on another planet (5 from NASA, 1 from China), build quantum computers as Google is announcing it will by 2029, or fly autonomous planes as Merlin Labs which is creating a truly autonomous digital pilot. From July 6, 2022, auto manufacturers will be obliged to fit new models destined for the European market with an event data recorder, which French drivers are already rejecting as “snitch black boxes”. If the transportation industry is active in technological breakthroughs, we can also salute ecofriendly initiatives. While Ford now expects 40% of the global vehicle volume to be fully electric by 2030, the California-based Sakuu Corporation has announced a new 3D printing system that duplicate large electric vehicle batteries on demand. The system uses new techniques to create solid-state batteries that are lighter and smaller than traditional lithium-ion batteries, mainly destined to the two-, three- and smaller four-wheel electric vehicle market. And in the era of cancel culture, when a company is greenwashing, environmental campaigners don’t let go! Climate activists around the world celebrated a court order in The Hague for oil giant Royal Dutch Shell to cut its carbon emissions. Shell’s existing carbon mitigation strategy was considered “not concrete and full of conditions”.
  3. Mirror Mirror on the wall, who has the best fairway shot of all? “The first step toward advanced-age greatness is passion”, as the success of 50-year old golfer Phil Mickelson at the Ocean Course (PGA Championship) illustrates. He cut down on sugar, soda, lost weight, worked hard, and practiced meditation. A good recipe to defy aging! Celine Halioua, CEO of startup Cellular Longevity Inc., has another plan. She develops treatments to extend the life span of dogs while making them more active in their later years. If the treatments work in canines, she expects consumers and regulators to be favorably disposed to adopt similar techniques in humans. About 30,000 dog owners have entered their pets into the Dog Aging Project, an academic research study backed by the National Institutes of Health, to examine how genetic and environmental factors affect dogs’ aging processes. It is also running a trial in which 200 middle-aged dogs receive rapamycin. Meanwhile, Singapore-based biotech company Gero found a way to break the limit of human longevity by reversing the biological age. Their experimentation constitutes a conceptual breakthrough because “it determines and separates the roles of fundamental factors in human longevity — the ageing, defined as progressive loss of resilience, and age-related diseases, as executors of death following the loss of resilience.”

Read the full article on Grey Swan Guild’s Medium page.

Beyond Uncertainty: A Philosophy of the Future(s)

Join us next week at Global Foresight Summit. Foresight researcher Sylvia Gallusser will scan over centuries of philosophy to understand how the future has been addressed by philosophers. We will also investigate how philosophy provides a framework to think about the futures and augments our foresight techniques. We will eventually present applications in the field of ethics and intergenerational justice.

https://www.globalforesightsummit.com/

Thank you for organizing the summit Association of Professional FuturistsWorld Futures Review: A Journal of Strategic ForesightFFWD – Futures Intelligence & Strategic Foresight

The Pandemic Home Hotline: Domestic Violence under lockdown

As part of a Pandemic Home project, we have developed three scenarios around three fictional patient personas. The scenarios have been turned into audio dialogues, simulating the dramatic conversation between individuals in distress at their home and mental health hotline responders.

Listen here: Domestic Violence under Lockdown (The Pandemic Home Hotline)

“Veronica is 42 years old. She lives with her husband and three kids (age 4, 9, and 11). She is not working and she is spending most of her days at home. Her husband has always been abusive of her verbally, and even physically violent on a few occasions. He has apologized and seemed to be truly sorry afterwards. She feels like she must constantly try to not upset him and to repress her fears. Now that the kids are at home and her husband is working from home, he is very irritated by the noise and chaos. He cannot go biking as before which helped him release his energy outside. The violence has gradually increased during COVID-19 and she can no longer stand it. Her own home has become an absolute nightmare and she sees no escape. She doesn’t want the kids to be exposed to her distress nor to her husband’s assaults. More and more often she locks herself up in the bathroom and cries and screams. She would like to leave her home with the kids, but she doesn’t know where to go. She is looking for Domestic Violence prevention resources.”

Intent:

The following audio production focuses on the Mental Health issues linked to the Pandemic Home. To achieve this, we worked with an amazing clinical director named Paul Krauss. We created three scenarios based on three personae and three critical situations: a young man single and living in precarious conditions in an infested home, an 80-year old woman living alone and falling with dramatic consequences, and a mother of three repeatedly abused and assaulted by her husband. With Paul, who supervised a Suicide Prevention hotline and is creating a national violence prevention hotline, and his hotline operator colleagues Katy and Justyne, we have turned these scenarios into audio hotline conversations that aimed to sound genuine. There are three episodes of 6-8 minutes. The intent is to raise awareness, create empathy towards characters, and provide resources to listeners potentially in that type of situation.

Credits:

Special thanks to Paul Krauss MA LPC (The Clinical Director of the Trauma Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids and host of the Intentional Clinician Podcast) for recording and producing the “Pandemic Home Hotline” audio materials. Thank you to Katy Jamarillo, MA LLPC, and Justyne Ortquist, MS, MEd, LLPC for their acting talents and expertise.

How future-thinking may influence our Psychology and Philosophy?

“Have you ever heard of people that are paid to contemplate the future? It’s true! They exist. They are called Futurists. They even have their own training and schools they attend. And no, they are not psychics. They utilize analysis of big data, trends, and other mental exercises to predict multiple models of possible futures – which can be useful to everyday humans as well as companies and governments. Paul Krauss MA LPC invited Sylvia Gallusser onto the Intentional Clinician podcast to tell us all about what a Futurist is (and isn’t), as well as how future-thinking exercises could influence our Psychology and how it is related to Philosophy. Together, we also discuss why futurist thinking is needed more now, than ever. Find out why!”

Discussed: What a futurist is not, answering the critics of futurism, psychology, psychology and futurism, futurist exercises, future thinking in mental health & psychology, signal scanning, “future back”, how futurist principles are aligned with philosophy, time, ideologies, foresight, ethics, limitations in our ability to contemplate the future related to brain structure, mental exercises to stretch our time horizon, future thinking as related to therapeutic tools, as well as examples of futurism in action and applied to projects. And much much more.

Sylvia Gallusser – Global Futurist, Founder & CEO @Silicon Humanism

Sylvia conducts foresight research on the future of health, well-aging, and social interaction, evolutions in retail and mobility, the future of work, life-long learning, artificial general intelligence, the future of our oceans and sustainability, as well as the future of the mind and transhumanism.

Sylvia has been advising 500+ tech companies for the past 15 years, starting as an IT consultant at Accenture, launching the Impact USA accelerator with Business France, and leading funding access programs at French Tech Hub. She has been leading many European tech companies to global success as a Founding Partner at big bang factory.

Sylvia graduated from HEC Paris (France). She arrived in San Francisco in 2005, where she has developed a special interest in the Silicon Valley ecosystem. She teaches go-to-market strategy, competitive analysis, futures studies, and entrepreneurship, in business schools, for the corporate, and as a mentor in various startup accelerators. She is a published author of Future Fiction with Fast Future Publishing and a Board Member at Grey Swan Guild.

Silicon Humanism is a Research Organization specialized in Futures Thinking & Strategic Foresight. Its Founder Sylvia launched this initiative to share and discuss the Future with anyone interested in thinking about our possible options, which ones we would like to see come true, and how to make them actually happen!

Connect with Sylvia and Silicon Humanism:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/siliconhumanism

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC72JK8XZujvWYG3619Z3hfg/playlists

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sylvialeroux

“The Pandemic Home Hotline” – a collaboration between Sylvia Gallusser and Paul Krauss MA LPC.

Paul Krauss MA LPC is the Clinical Director of Health for Life Grand Rapids, home of The Trauma-Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids. Paul is also a Private Practice Psychotherapist, EMDRIA Consultant in Training (CIT), host of the Intentional Clinician podcast, Behavioral Health Consultant, Clinical Trainer, and Counseling Supervisor. Paul is now offering consulting for a few individuals and organizations. Paul is the creator of the National Violence Prevention Hotline (in progress) as well as the Intentional Clinician Training Program for Counselors. Questions? Call the office at 616-200-4433.

https://paulkrauss.podbean.com/

The Importance of Future-proofing your Business

How can corporate leaders and entrepreneurs use foresight technics and include futurists in their team to future-proof their business? Discover the futurist profession and its many applications in the business world!

With Lea Scher, Co-founder at Future Agency, Futurist Sylvia Gallusser introduces the Strategic Foresight methodology and discusses the urge for businesses to engage in more Futures Thinking in our current challenging times!

Watch the replay:

Philosophy of the Future – 12 Conceptions of Futurity (in 70 quotes)

By Philosophy of the Future, we mean “Philosophy addressing the topic of the Future”, not the Evolution of Philosophy in the Future.

The topic of the Future of Philosophy is quite popular as we witness a regain in curiosity for the philosophical practice, be it in open classes for the general audience, on airwaves, podcast, Clubhouse, social media, in new book collections about the philosophy of everyday topics, in children classrooms, or even in corporate environment. The global pandemic, mental health issues, and resort to mindfulness practices to deal with the situation, have seen a renewed interest for ancient wisdom and intellectual exchange. 

Pourquoi il y a des gens qui nous veulent du mal? – fiamma luzzati
Philosophy in Kindergarten

However the Future as a core topic for philosophers is a less defined area that we wanted to investigate. It has often been addressed as a subtopic in a larger scope.

Here we draw a panorama of how the Future has been addressed by philosophers, thinkers, writers, and leaders over the centuries, by clustering Futurity considerations along main themes, and by including inspiring quotes. Feel free to react and add to them in the Comment section.

1. The Future in connection to the Past.

  • “Study the past if you would define the future.” ― Confucius“
  • “There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” ― Graham Greene
  • “We must never allow the future to collapse under the burden of memory.” ― Milan Kundera
  • “Why should we look to the past in order to prepare for the future? Because there is nowhere else to look.” ― James Burke
  • “Think of tomorrow, the past can’t be mended.” ― Confucius
  • “This is the best reason to learn history: not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies. Of course this is not total freedom – we cannot avoid being shaped by the past. But some freedom is better than none.” ― Yuval Noah Harari
  • “Our narrating self would much prefer to continue suffering in the future, just so it won’t have to admit that our past suffering was devoid of all meaning. Eventually, if we want to come clean about past mistakes, our narrating self must invent some twist in the plot that will infuse these mistakes with meaning.” ― Yuval Noah Harari

2. The Future in connection to the Present, with a focus on our Sense of Agency.

  • “The future starts today, not tomorrow.” ― Pope John Paul II
  • “It is said that the present is pregnant with the future.” ― Voltaire
  • “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” ― William Gibson
  • “The future depends on what you do today.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
  • “When you make a choice, you change the future.” ― Deepak Chopra
  • “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” ― Abraham Lincoln
  • “Time forks perpetually toward innumerable futures. In one of them I am your enemy.” ― Jorge Luis Borges
  • “People are like dice. We throw ourselves in the direction of our own choosing.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre

3. The Future as part of a Time Continuum.

  • “If we examine our thoughts, we shall find them always occupied with the past and the future.” ― Blaise Pascal
  • “I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.” ― James Joyce
  • People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” ― Albert Einstein
  • “… truth, whose mother is history, who is the rival of time, depository of deeds, witness of the past, example and lesson to the present, and warning to the future.” ― Miguel de Cervantes
  • “Past and future monopolize the poet’s sensory and intellectual faculties, detached from the immediate spectacle. These two philtres become utterly clear the moment one stops being hypnotized by the cloudy precipitate constituted by the world of today.” ― Andre Breton
  • “What is realised in my history is not the past definite of what was, since it is no more, or even the present perfect of what has been in what I am, but the future anterior of what I shall have been for what I am in the process of becoming.” ― Jacques Lacan
  • “At some point the future becomes reality. And then it quickly becomes the past.” ― Haruki Murakami
  • “Imagination sees the complete reality, – it is where past, present and future meet…” ― Kahlil Gibran

4. The Future as a Perturbation from living the current moment.

  • “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” ― Marcus Aurelius
  • “I am a person who continually destroys the possibilities of a future because of the numbers of alternative viewpoints I can focus on the present.” ― Doris Lessing
  • “I struggle so hard to remain entirely in the present, killing inside me the past and the future.” ― Fernando Pessoa
  • “There were moments when he felt as if he were being buried alive under his future.” ― Edith Wharton
  • “Time is basically an illusion created by the mind to aid in our sense of temporal presence in the vast ocean of space. Without the neurons to create a virtual perception of the past and the future based on all our experiences, there is no actual existence of the past and the future. All that there is, is the present.” ― Abhijit Naskar
  • “I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.” ― Albert Einstein

5. The Future as Lyrical Inspiration.

  • “Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” ― Haruki Murakami
  • “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “Love is the only future God offers.” ― Victor Hugo
  • “Futures not achieved are only branches of the past: dead branches.” ― Italo Calvino
  • “Now I come to you full of future. And from habit we begin to live our past.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke Lou Andreas-Salomé
  • “Yesterday is but to-day’s memory and to-morrow is to-day’s dream.” ― Kahlil Gibran

6. The Future as a Leader’s Stance.

  • “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • “We should use our imagination more than our memory.” ― Shimon Peres
  • “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” ― John F. Kennedy
  • “Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’” ― George Orwell
  • “If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future. ” ― Winston Churchill

7. The Future in Phenomenology, and the idea of a Creative Future.

  • “The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.” ― Henri Bergson
  • “Remembering, although it is not expectation, does have a horizon directed towards the future of the remembered.” ― Edmund Husserl
  • “Every original constitutive process is animated by protentions [or expectations] that emptily constitute what is coming as coming, that catch it and bring it to fulfillment.” ― Edmund Husserl
  • “The idea of the future, pregnant with an infinity of possibilities, is thus more fruitful than the future itself, and this is why we find more charm in hope than in possession, in dreams than in reality.” ― Henri Bergson
  • “Temporality temporalizes as a future which makes present in the process of having been.” ― Martin Heidegger
  • “The very relationship with the other is the relationship with the future.” — Emmanuel Levinas

8. The Future as (Un)predictable. Imagination and the Inoculation principle.

  • “I was not predicting the future, I was trying to prevent it.” ― Ray Bradbury
  • “We have no future because our present is too volatile. … We have only risk management. The spinning of the given moment’s scenarios. Pattern recognition” ― William Gibson
  • “He who knows the past well can best explain the present and can tell the probable certainties and uncertainties of the future better” ― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
  • “And a lot of it will be wrong, but just enough of it will be right.” ― Ray Bradbury
  • “In dealing with the future, it is far more important to be imaginative than to be right.” ― Alvin Toffler

9. The Future as an Optimistic Philosophy.

  • “I am an optimist. Anyone interested in the future has to be otherwise he would simply shoot himself.” ― Arthur C. Clarke
  • “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”― John F. Kennedy
  • “As soon as someone dies, frenzied construction of the future (shifting furniture, etc.): futuromania.” ― Roland Barthes
  • “The unpredictability of the future means absolutely nothing to the dreams of an ambitious positive mind.” ― Edmond Mbiaka
  • “Youthful cynicism is sad to observe, because it indicates not so much knowledge learned from bitter experiences as insufficient trust even to attempt the future.” ― Maya Angelou
  • “I am one of those who think, like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries.” ― Marie Curie
The Little Philosophers

10. The Future as the Gift of Visionaries, and the Emergence of Homo Deus.

  • Future ages will produce further great advances in this realm of culture, probably inconceivable now, and will increase man’s likeness to a god still more.” ― Sigmund Freud
  • “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” ― Albert Einstein
  • “The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.” ― Nikola Tesla
  • “Men do not sufficiently realize that their future is in their own hands. Theirs is the task of determining first of all whether they want to go on living or not. Theirs is the responsibility, then, for deciding if they want merely to live, or intend to make just the extra effort required for fulfilling, even on this refractory planet, the essential function of the universe, which is a machine for the making of gods.” ― Henri Bergson
  • “Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” ― Kahlil Gibran
  • “Any system which allows men to choose their own future will end by choosing safety and mediocrity, and in such a Reality the stars are out of reach.” ― Isaac Asimov
  • “I titled the book ‘Homo Deus’ because we really are becoming gods in the most literal sense possible. We are acquiring abilities that have always been thought to be divine abilities – in particular, the ability to create life. And we can do with that whatever we want.” 

11. The Future in building our Responsibility, with a focus on the Eternal Return.

  • Eternal Return to “Calibrate our actions in such a way as to make their consequences bearable, livable with, in a hypothetical perpetuity”.  ― Friedrich Nietzsche
  • “What, if some day or night, a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life, as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh… must return to you—all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over again and again—and you with it, speck of dust!’ Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?”  ― Friedrich Nietzsche

12. The Future in Ethics and Intergenerational Justice.

  • “Must we take future subjects (people who don’t even exist yet) into account when judging the rightness or wrongness of our actions?” ― Alexander Joy
  • “Present generations stand under two types of obligations of intergenerational justice: They are obliged (i) not to violate the rights of future generations and (ii) to provide compensation to contemporaries with respect to harms victims in the past suffered at the hands of past perpetrators.” ― Meyer, Lukas
  • “The special features of our relations to (remote) future people—especially the lack of particular knowledge, the impossibility of cooperation, and the permanent asymmetry of influence —do not stand in the way of attributing rights to them that ground corresponding duties owed by us.”  ― Meyer, Lukas

The Grey Swan Guild News Wrap — The Week That Was April 9, 2021

Edition: #12 of Vol 1

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Husband of Queen Elizabeth II , and Father of Prince Charles, died on Friday April 9 at Windsor Castle in England. He was 99.

These are the series of stories and headlines we are tracking in the Grey Swan Guild’s Global League of Sensemakers’ Newsroom. The selection and the news wraps are intended to shed light and a new lens on a complicated and complex world week.

April is National Poetry Month. On this 25th anniversary of the celebration and in times of uncertainty and great concern, we can rely on poems to offer wisdom, uplifting ideas, and language that prompts reflection that can help us slow down and center mentally, emotionally, spiritually. The organizers have adapted to the circumstances. Discover 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month in the Virtual Classroom and 30 Ways to Celebrate the 25th Annual National Poetry Month at Home or Online.

Losing Voice. Now can the following lines be considered poetry? Truth is these pickup lines have been generated by an AI. Artificial intelligence is finally learning how to flirt, even if one might find the result somehow chaotic!

“I’m losing my voice from all the screaming your hotness is causing me to do”

“I Love You, I Love You, I Love You To The confines of death and disease, the legions of earth rejoices. Woe be to the world!”

“You’re looking good today. Want snacks?”

The Day of the Swan. Not only is April Poetry and Romance month. It will also be a year on April 15 since the Grey Swan Guild was formed in response to the worldwide COVID-19 Pandemic. The Guild has grown into a leading volunteer network of over 1000 leaders and members. In addition to our two major production waves, dozens of online events, and 150 publications, we have decided to create The Day of the Swan — a 24-hour relay of continuous events, each led by Guild members, to shed light on where we have been and where we are going in the world. The event is free and open to all. Join us April 15 on Zoom and Clubhouse.

Sensemaking tools. In concert with our mission to make sense of particular societal, cultural, economic, marketplace and workplace challenges, we have developed 5 sensemaking lenses: #LIVE #LEARN #LOVE #LEAD #LIMINAL. We want to provide sensemaking tools that will electrify your thinking and deepen all of our appreciation for forces that shape the world! Our Weekly News Wrap is a core piece of that effort. What follows is The Great, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of what we observed and analyzed this week.

Grey Swan Guild Club. We always love to hear your input, experiences from all over the world, and multi-disciplinary insights on the latest world developments. Please leave us a note, or even better, join us Sundays in the Grey Swan Guild Club on Clubhouse to discuss many of these headlines. And as legend has it — contrary to Fight Club, “The first rule of Clubhouse is you do talk about Clubhouse on Clubhouse!” One of the first headlines we will discuss this week is the fact the one-year-old social audio app valued at $1 billion, is announcing its new monetization feature. The app will now allow users to send money to their favorite creators and speakers on the platform.

Join us Sunday April 11 at 11am (EST) on Clubhouse to engage with your favorite Grey Swan Guild Wrap Editors, including this week’s Lead Editor, Global Futurist Sylvia Gallusser.

The Great 😇

  1. An inspiring and diverse cast! In an announcement earlier this week, SpaceX’s Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian rocket ride to orbit Earth, disclosed the final two members of the four-person crew that is expected to undergo a historic journey into space aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. Jared Isaacman is a 38-year-old tech billionaire, entrepreneur, philanthropist, pilot, and the CEO of Pennsylvania payment-processing company Shift4 Payments. Hayley Arceneaux is a 29-year-old childhood cancer survivor and physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research. She will be the youngest American to fly into space and the first with a prosthetic body part. Dr. Sian Proctor is a geoscientist, science communication specialist, and analog astronaut. Chris Sembroski, 41, is a Lockheed Martin employee and Air Force veteran. This diverse cast is truly an Inspiration!
  2. Flagship initiatives! European innovation project Flagships will deploy the world’s first commercial cargo transport vessel operating on hydrogen, plying the river Seine in Paris with the vessel’s operations due to start sometime this year. Green and sustainable shipping is a prerequisite for reaching national and international emission reduction targets. Such ships powered by renewable hydrogen will make a substantial contribution to reducing emissions from shipping and improving air quality in cities and other densely populated areas. More and more ocean tech companies such as Running Tides, Safety Net Technologies, and Whale Safe are currently trying to prove that conservation, sustainable fishing, and carbon sequestration can also be profitable. We love to see business and sustainability align for the better good.
  3. How the brain works. UCSF researchers set a new standard for decoding speech directly from brain activity, redefining what’s possible for brain-to-text decoding, with error rates as low as 3%. It’s a significant step toward UCSF’s long-term goal of developing a prosthesis to restore speech communication for people who have lost the ability to speak. It also illustrates how new machine learning techniques can accelerate brain-computer interface (BCI) applications. UCSF sponsor Facebook Reality Labs is precisely exploring how non-invasive BCI can redefine the AR/VR experience. New research opens the path to non-invasive silent speech interface for the next computing platform. Whole brain emulation is also a topic that captivates The Human Connectome Project researchers. They intend to map the brain connective structure made of a unique, intricate pattern of 86 billion neurons, and to unlock immortality. Meanwhile in a cave in France, 15 persons self-isolated for 40 days without daylight in order to explore how we construct our notion of time. They also explore functional synchronicity with each other. The Mission Deep Time podcast narrates their real-time adventure.

The Good 😀

  1. Wind of change. After extreme office culture has led to several deaths, the Japanese are beginning to rethink the tradition. For a long time, employees refrained from taking holiday because their bosses did not take holiday and they were afraid to disrupt the group harmony. Almost 60% of Japanese workers cited ‘feeling guilty’ as the main reason for not taking their entitled holiday leave. Japanese work habits are slowly changing as the younger generation feels vacation deprived. And the government pursues its goal of boosting rates of taken annual leave to 70%, conveying the message that taking time off is important to refresh employees both mentally and physically.
  2. #Liminal. “I care much more about being with people who make me feel whole now. The pandemic scraped away all facades we’ve built around our lives”. The New York Times offers a beautiful interactive report aiming to illustrate how human beings changed during the pandemic. Will we go back to living the way we did before? And what if we do? Do we risk losing something we’ve learned from one long and terrifying year? And what if we don’t fit into that life anymore? One good thing to notice: the pandemic shifted how donors give. Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott (ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos) gave $6 billion in unrestricted contributions last year to hundreds of groups for COVID-19 relief and racial equity. Through pilot programs, cities such as San Francisco are giving checks to artists in hopes of allowing them to focus on their creative output instead of having a second job. Two years after the dramatic fire that destroyed most of Notre-Dame de Paris (April 2019), we estimate 15 to 20 years and 1,000 oaks will be needed to complete the cathedral’s restoration. Several architects were in favor of modern sustainable materials, but French President Macron opted for a reconstitution closer to the original gothic building with a spire made of 150-year-old oaks. For Easter, a small committee ceremony took place in Notre-Dame with a live broadcast for the faithful to enjoy.
  3. Innovation from the nirvana… Toronto-based organization Over the bridge has created a new Nirvana song using artificial-intelligence software to approximate the singer-guitarist’s songwriting. The tune, titled “Drowned in the Sun” is part of Lost Tapes of the 27 Club, a project featuring songs written and mostly performed by machines in the styles of other musicians who died at 27: Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Amy Winehouse. Speaking of Kurt, last summer a special horse named Kurt was born in Texas. He was a clone made from DNA that had been frozen for 40 years and came from an endangered wild horse species from Central Asia. In December, a black-footed ferret named Elizabeth Ann was born in a conservation center in Colorado. She is the first-ever endangered American animal to be cloned. She is a win for biodiversity and for genetic rescue! In other innovation news, a week before cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase is set to go public, U.S. financial group State Street announced it will lend its trading technology to a digital currency trading venue set to go live mid-2021. The venue will offer cash cryptocurrency trading for investors through their existing bank relationships. It means a huge step forward for the institutionalization of crypto markets!

Continue reading on Grey Swan Guild’s Medium.