I am very excited to announce that me and my company, The Futures Agency, has teamed up with Tim Leberecht and his team to present a very unique event in Barcelona, during Mobile World Congress 2017, on Tuesday February 28, 6pm, at the House of Beautiful Business (Casa de la Seda Sant Pere Més Alt 1 Barcelona Spain).
You can now register at the website (this is a free event but it’s invitation only). We are also looking for special guests, VIP speakers and possible interview guests during the event – ping me via email anytime if you are interested! Please note that Tim and his team will be presenting many other events during MWC so if you’re going to be at MWC make sure to sign up for te newsletter via the site.
The Great Debate: Technology or Humanity – Which Will Win? Feb 28 2017 6pm
Curated by Gerd Leonhard and Tim Leberecht
Where do you stand on the greatest debate in human history? Are you happy to remain a mere human, or would you like an upgrade? While you’re busy buying groceries and fending off the tax man, something momentous is happening. Not only our world – but we ourselves – are changing. Plug into the greatest conversation the species has ever had. Find out where you stand on a raft of issues now so complex that veteran experts are challenged to navigate. Form your own views on technology, humanity and your own biological future.
Technology is gaining exponentially, all around us, changing our world at an ever-faster pace. Data is indeed the new oil: the world’s most powerful companies are no longer the oil and gas companies and the banks but the global internet and technology companies and platforms.
Science fiction is becoming science fact, all around us, as we enter the age of cognitive computing and AI, deep learning, bots and intelligent digital assistants. Add augmented and virtual reality, dramatic advances in human genome editing techniques and the material sciences, as well as the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things, and it’s clear the next 20 years will change humanity more than the previous 300 years.
“Technology is morally neutral until we apply it,” William Gibson once said— but now technology is being applied everywhere, and for everything. In fact, artificial intelligence is increasingly viewed as a “meta solution for any problem” (Demis Hassabis, CEO of Deep Mind, now owned by Google), and “reprogramming humans” genetically is being spun as an attractive proposition, going forward.
These developments will bring vast opportunities and enormous potential benefits to our society, but they also create a myriad of ethical, social, and political challenges:
- Who acts as ‘mission control for humanity’ in a world totally interconnected and dependent on technology? Who sets the rules and standards, and what social contracts will apply?
- How will we solve the huge challenges of security and public safety that are certain to grow exponentially as well?
- What will happen to human idiosyncrasies such as inefficiency, mistakes, free will, beliefs, intuition, creativity, imagination, or serendipity in such a machine-centric world? Will it be even possible to remain human as we currently define it?
- As technology is making everything hyper-efficient, will humans need to also become more efficient by essentially merging with technology, as well, i.e. by altering and augmenting ourselves using technology? Are we inevitably heading towards trans/post-humanism, or do we need to apply a more precautionary approach to these developments?
- Rampant technological unemployment seems certain (at least to some of us), once machines finally have the capacity of the human brain i.e. the point of the so-called singularity. What will humans do in the future, and will humans be in the loop or not?
- Should humanity really converge with technology, in a biological sense, or should we draw the line somewhere—and if so, who decides where exactly that is?
The Great Debate will pit technologists against humanists: two strong proponents of exponential technological progress (contact us if this description fits you and you want to be involved) versus two passionate voices of caution, concern, and humanity ( (that’ll be Tim and me:); four panelists with divergent views as to what the future should look like, based on a 10-year horizon. There will also be plenty of space for the audience to join the discussion.
Find out more about my new book ‘Technology vs Humanity’, read the TVH cheat sheet, buy the book on Amazon (this link automatically takes you to your local amazon site), or order it directly from my publisher (all formats; bulk orders at a discount)