Paris Talks Conference: Great Talks, Big Ideas And The Art Of Predicting The Future Of Humanity.

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Attending Paris Talks is sure to be a rewarding experience -- both professionally and personally. 

You’ll network with many other world class future-minded thought-leaders from different backgrounds. You’ll spend an amazing day in one of the most beautiful theatres in Paris. And beyond all this, the two main reasons to attend Paris Talks are to hear great talks and to converse with other attendees around big ideas that are shaping the future of humanity.

The diverse and engaging talks at the Paris Talks conference will inform you of what’s happening in the world and where Humanity is headed (explained more clearly than your local newspaper), will inspire actions of your own, and will expose you to innovations happening in different sectors

As you get ready to attend Paris Talks on March 26, we want you to know that even though listening to the talks will be extremely valuable, hallway conversations with other attendees will be even more fruitful. In addition to the 11 things you must bring to Paris Talks, we highly recommend that you do everything you can to prepare yourself for such conversations.

If you’ve read our recently published article that answers pretty much all the Paris Talks Most-Asked Questions, we assume that you have a clear and better understanding of this entire conference and now, through this article, we’d like to especially give you a sneak peek into a few talks you’ll get to listen to at the conference.

This is Part One of the Paris Talks ideas’ briefs for our attendees. The second part of this article is coming soon.

Let’s get started:

1. Transforming the Future: Anticipation in the 21st Century. (Masterclass) 

Living in a complex emergent world is what makes freedom and diversity possible. But at the same time, it requires living with uncertainty. The future cannot be predicted. There is no way to foretell, to know in advance, what will happen. This means, on the one hand, that we are lucky since we owe our existence as a species to the novelty and creativity of evolutionary emergence. Yet it also means, on the other hand, that we face a daunting challenge when we want to harness human agency – our desire to do "good" – because we must turn uncertainty from being an enemy into a friend.

But how?

How can the demonic disruptor of planning, the saboteur of so-called 'risk-free' bets, the monster named uncertainty becomes an ally, an endless source of fulfillment? Can we stop the cursed future, when it arrives, from bringing uncertainty to life? Can we tame the future? What method or tool will enable us to colonize tomorrow with our best intentions,

Can we stop the cursed future, when it arrives, from bringing uncertainty to life? Can we tame the future? What method or tool will enable us to colonize tomorrow with our best intentions, best-laid plans, and indomitable will-to-power?

Nothing.

Thankfully complex emergent futures will defeat human hubris every time. Even the exceptions, when luck or hindsight can be woven into a story of prescience, genius, management, leadership, just give the historian a chance to prove the rule. Our universe is creative, not deterministic. So what can be done? Simple really, become better at understanding why and how we imagine the future. After all the future, for conscious human anticipation, is always a figment of our imaginations. And why and how we imagine can be much more diverse than simply trying to be omnipotent by predicting and then trying vainly to impose today's idea of the future on the future.

By becoming more Futures Literate, that means more capable, more skilled at 'using-the-future' for different reasons, with different ways of imagining, in different contexts, we can turn the future from a liability, a source of never-ending disappointment in our own false expectations, into an asset for detecting and inventing the rich emergent, novelty ridden world around us. We turn our preoccupation with the future as an end that justifies the means into a means for enriching the present so that we can express our values now.

Escaping the tyranny of the predicted future enables an expansion of what we can see and do now, of performing our values as a living legacy not some monument to glory or obedience to mummified pasts. Being Futures Literate gives us the skill to enlarge the menu, diversify what we can see and do. Changing the way the future is used makes it easier to turn means into ends, to live our values now rather than justifying our perceptions and actions in the name of some later good, of people and communities not yet born, not yet even imagined.

Futures Literacy is a capability.

Like the capability to read and write, which in English is called being "literate", Futures Literacy is a skill that enables people to 'use-the-future' for different reasons and in different ways, in different contexts. The theoretical and analytical framework that describes Futures Literacy as a capability encompasses all of the conscious ways that humans explicitly deploy the capacity to imagine the future, ranging from econometric forecasting or climate change modeling to strategic foresight, creative imagining, and even various forms of divination.

For further detail see the forthcoming book: Transforming the Future: Anticipation in the 21st Century.

The Transforming the Future breakfast-Masterclass can be booked separately from the Paris Talks main conference, though seats are limited to a small number of attendees. At the time of publishing this post, there are still a few more Transforming the Future: Anticipation in the 21st Century seats to be grabbed.

2. Building The Self-Optimizing Cities of The Future.

Cities are more than buildings and people — they're incredibly complex, constantly-evolving systems. New technology—especially artificial intelligence and machine learning—holds the opportunity to organize and optimize those systems in new ways. This talk, presented by Vice President and Global Innovation Evangelist for SAP Timo Elliott, will take us through real-life examples of how the cities of the future will automatically adapt to changing circumstances. You’ll see impressive and inspiring examples of how technology can help deal with issues like traffic, pollution, and litter to create better health, safety, and community.

3. Automotive Technology: After 200 years we are still guessing

Robert Stevens, Director of Garage Networks and Technology at GROUPAUTO International, will take us into the near future (the next 10-20 years) to explore the potential impact of Automotive Technology evolving in unforeseen ways. 

For example:

An iPod started out as a cool and simple innovation to store and play digital music files. 

Later, it added on the ability to place telephone calls and access the internet.

It then became a device to access locally-stored and cloud-based multimedia content, and kept on growing exponentially to include an application platform for both commercial and independent application developers, and to tie in closely with  social media platforms, and to become an inseparable part of many peoples’ lives.

The smartphone is becoming a content platform with the ability undermine, overwhelm and replace traditional mass-media, and as Stevens points out, “this has all happened in less than 20 years.” That has huge implications for how other technologies may involve and affect our lives and our society.

In this talk, we’ll explore the possible ways that Automotive Technology is going to change who drives, what we drive, and why we drive.

3. Future Dreams And Sexual Fantasies: 2075, Dream Sex.

Just imagine: we are in the year 2075. OkCupid has found the ultimate algorithm that matches you with your perfect match with 100% certainty. Facial recognition allows you to define your desires and emotions even before you are aware of it. Making love to someone remote is nothing exceptional anymore, thanks to the latest connected sextoys. The advancements are pretty amazing and liberating, but now the first rape of a sexdoll has been declared. And there are unique threats to intimate personal information, with all this sexual digitization going on. Many non-profit organizations are campaigning for the protection of personal and intimate data.

Between technological and ethical issues, Maëva’s proposed vision is that of a forward sweep on what will (or will not) happen to our sexuality in the world of tomorrow

4. Religion, Technology, and Humanity: Will Faith Be Obsolete in 2075?

Technology has impacted every area of life, and religion is no exception. The use of sound systems and computers in public religious expression is just one way technology is being used in churches and religious services. And the relationship works in the other direction as well, with religion shaping technology through philosophy and morality.

A growing number of secularists and nonbelievers of various genres tend to look at religion and science as fundamentally incompatible. This incompatibility is also imagined to extend to the relationship between religion and technology, since technology is a product of science and science cannot proceed without technology. It has brought up questions about engineers and scientists who are also creationists, making some wonder how people in high-tech industries can simultaneously display high-energy religious motivations.

There are a lot of questions to be asked here about the intersection of technology, science, and religion. Can these elements exist in harmony, and can people be strong advocates or devotees of both? Will religion lose its relevance and start becoming obsolete as science advances? Or will it become an even more central part of human life? In this talk, International Bridge Church lead Pastor, Community Champion & Writer Kelly Delp will try to chip away at a section of that topic in discussing the role religion or faith may play in the future.

5. When Privacy Becomes Currency: Welcome To The Uncertain Future

There are enormous benefits from Big Data, but also a massive potential for exposure. Unauthorized access to personal information could result in anything from embarrassment to outright discrimination and lack of privacy. In the era of big data, the battle for privacy has already started, and we’re starting to see how it facilitates the gain or loss of interpersonal and economic power. 

As we all know, personal data is being collected and traded in the new economy and there are not many controls over how it is used or secured. Many data nerds we know are now saying that it’s time for legislation to reclaim some of that privacy and ensure that any data collected data remains secure. Others say this is public information and there’s no need for regulation. At the same time, multinationals and governments are collecting and using it all, doing all sorts of transactions with our data. 

So an important question arises from this: does more data mean more wealth? It’s a complex issue, but Cyber Security expert and evangelist Yul Bahat will help us dive into the data and better understand the significance and implications of privacy and security in the future.

Conclusion

From the breakfast, where attendees will get to learn the Unesco’s latest forecasting methods, to the main conference that will take attendees into the future while examining the impact the current technological, social  and economic innovations will have on the Human species by the year 2075, this full-day conference aims at questioning and contributing to the global debates around the best strategies and policies that need to be implemented to insure a better future for coming generations.

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