Futures events May-June

A small cluster of futures-related events coming up which I’m looking forward to. I am variously chairing, “in conversation with” or empanelled with a strikingly interesting bunch of people in the next month and a bit. An enticing, if slightly daunting prospect.

First up is a three-way at the Arnolfini in Bristol, blurb as follows:

Creating a Future Without Destroying the Present

Diane Coyle, Mark Stevenson and Jon Turney

 Diane Coyle 20 May 2011, 19.30-21.00
Arnolfini, Bristol

Jon TurneyMark Stevenson

How do we continue to live well and not damage the future? Is economic growth the problem, not the solution? Who is planning for the future and what kind of future will this be? Enlightenment economist, writer and blogger Diane Coyle, author of The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as if the Future Matters, shows how we can be happy and prosperous now without cheating the future. She looks at the fundamental questions about the way the economy is organised and about the links between the economy and the kind of society we want and need, so that we can provide our children with a decent future. Mark Stevenson, in An Optimist’s Tour of the Future, tours the world to make sense of what’s in store for us all. He looks at the amazing work of scientists, robots that think, re-engineering of humans, science that will solve the energy crisis and the ideas of great visionaries. They discuss their work with Jon Turney, author ofThe Rough Guide to the Future.

Price: £7.00 / £5.00. Contact Arnolfini, Bristol on: 0117 917 2300, book online, or visit in person.

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Then come a couple of discussions at the British Library in London, opening a series linked to their fascinating science fiction exhibition, opening May 2oth.

The first, coincidentally, has some of the same people –

Who owns the Story of the Future? 


With permission of the Frank R Paul estate

Tue 24 May 2011, 18.30 – 20.00

Conference Centre, British Library

Price: £7.50 / £5 concessions

any Book now for 24 May 2011, 18.30 – 20.00

Will the future be better or worse? – and does the story we are telling ourselves help or hinder us? Can we make the right choices, and deal with the grand challenges ahead or will our ambitions and lack of political will get in the way.Jon Turney (The Rough Guide to the Future) chairs a panel including economist Diane Coyle (The Economics Of Enough), technology and SF writerCory Doctorow and Mark Stevenson (An Optimists Tour of the Future)  STOP PRESS:  Now with added William Gibson!

Diane Coyle runs Enlightenment Economics, a consulting firm specialising in technology and globalization, and is the author of a number of books on economics, including The Soulful ScienceSex, Drugs and Economics, and The Weightless World. Her most recent book is The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as If the Future Matters. A BBC trustee and a visiting professor at the University of Manchester, she holds a PhD in economics from Harvard. www.enlightenmenteconomics.com

Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger, the co-editor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net) and the author of the bestselling Tor Teens/HarperCollins UK novel Little Brother. His latest novel isFor The Win, a young adult novel; his latest short story collection is With A Little Help.

Mark Stevenson divides his time between running agencies for science communications and cultural learning and performing and writing comedy. He lives in Telegraph Hill, south London. His first book is An Optimist’s Tour of the Future.

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The following night, we’re talking about revolution…

Compared to this, the Industrial Revolution was Nothing!

With permission of the Frank R Paul estate

Wed 25 May 2011, 18.30 – 20.00

Conference Centre, British Library

Price: £7.50 / £5 concessions

any Book now for 25 May 2011, 18.30 – 20.00

Is the ‘ultimate reboot’ is coming as the Genetics, Nanotechnology and Robotics/AI revolutions intertwine and pick up speed? Are we heading toward a radically different society where our notions of old age, scarcity and our institutions have to be radically rethought? Or have we heard it all before?

Trying to shed light on these intriguing questions will be our speakers who include Richard Jones, University of Sheffield and author of Soft Machines;: Nanotechnology and Life and Anders Sandberg of the Future of Humanity Institute.

Chair Jon Turney.

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Finally, I’m joining a panel at the Cheltenham Science Festival on June 11

Human Extinction – will we survive beyond this century?

12noon – 1.30pm on Saturday 11 June at Cheltenham Town Hall

at Town Hall Unreserved
£8 (£7) Members – 10% off


Ecologists have suggested that the Earth is experiencing a mass extinction of species, but what about Homo sapiens? The survival of humankind has been challenged throughout history and, despite our ability to adapt to past changes, nothing is guaranteed. Zoologist Charles Godfray FRS, chemist Judith Howard FRS, palaeontologist Chris Stringer FRS, and author of The Rough Guide to the FutureJon Turney discuss past and present threats to humanity, the future challenges that we face, and whether we have the capacity to survive.

Cheerful, eh?

The last time I was at the science festival in Cheltenham (as opposed to the jazz festival), about ten years ago, I read poems from A Quark for Mister Mark in the Pillar room with Richard Dawkins and Lavinia Greenlaw, which was delightful. But the invitations prompted by the more recent book seem to be a little different…

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2 Comments on “Futures events May-June”


  1. […] here: Futures actions M&#1072&#1091-June « Th&#1077 future – a approximate handbook Related Posts:“The rough guide to the future” – a good starting point … Book:The rough […]


  2. […] more: Futures events M&#1072&#1091-June « Th&#1077 future – a approximate handbook Posted by April 21, 2011 at 9:41 am© […]


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