10 Essential Futurists for 2015, Part Two

Posted By on September 22, 2015

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Futurists, or futurologists, are scientists and social scientists whose specialty is futurology, or the attempt to systematically explore predictions and possibilities about the future and how they can emerge from the present, whether that of human society in particular or of life on Earth in general (source Wikipedia).

But, which Futurists are really making a mark?

In 10 Essential Futurists for 2015, Part Two we show you some Futurists that we personally love to watch and read their musings. They are in the middle of what is happening tomorrow. Some you might know, and some you might not. The fact is that there are millions of uncredited futurists in the world – from bakers to chefs, from strategists to coders, and from citizens to Presidents of nations.

This list is made up of people that are called futurists and some that may not see them that way. They are researchers, academics, authors, or artists. To me, they are all prophets of what is to come and I find them hugely inspirational. You can see the first 5 – Douglas Rushkoff, Ben Goertzel, Jaron Lanier, Sputniko!, and Gerd Leonhard – in my previous post.

If you think I’ve missed anyone of note then please do leave comments at the bottom of this article saying who you love to watch and read. Enjoy.

Cynthia Breazeal

Dr. Cynthia Breazeal is an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she founded and directs the Personal Robots Group at the Media Lab. She is also founder and Chief Scientist of Jibo, Inc. She is a pioneer of Social Robotics and Human Robot Interaction. She authored the book Designing Sociable Robots, and she has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in journals and conferences on the topics of Autonomous Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Human Robot Interaction, and Robot Learning (taken from her website at MIT).

We have a lot of suspicion of robots in the West. But if you look cross-culturally, that isn’t true. In Japan, in their science fiction, robots are seen as good. They have Astro Boy, this character they’ve fallen in love with and he’s fundamentally good, always there to help people.

Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil has been described as “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Inc. magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison,” and PBS selected Ray as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries. He is considered one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a 30-year track record of accurate predictions (taken from his site).

There is no doubt that Kurzweil is a foremost thinker about what is to come. His predictions are incredibly accurate and we’ll see how quickly we get to the singularity.

By 2029, computers will have emotional intelligence and be convincing as people.

Nicholas Negroponte

Nicholas is founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit association. He was co-founder and director of the MIT Media Laboratory, and the Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Technology. A graduate of MIT, Nicholas was a pioneer in the field of computer-aided design, and has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1966. Conceived in 1980, the Media Laboratory opened its doors in 1985. He is also author of the 1995 best seller, Being Digital, which has been translated into more than 40 languages. (taken from the MIT website).

An essential thinker and leader. He has guided many to create what we see today and is shepherding thinking about what is possible tomorrow.

My advice to graduates is to do anything except what you are trained for. Take that training to a place where it is out of place and stimulate ideas, shake up establishments, and don’t take no for an answer.

Syd Mead

Syd Mead has imagined environments, transport, people, and so much more on such feature films as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, followed by, Bladerunner, TRON, 2010, Short Circuit, Aliens, Time Cop, Johnny Mnemonic, Mission Impossible-3, and most recently Elysium. Beginning in 1983, Syd began to develop close working relationships with a number of major Japanese corporate clients, including; Sony, Minolta, Dentsu, Dyflex, Tiger, Seibu, Mitsukoshi, Bandai, NHK and Honda as well as contributing to two Japanese film projects, The New Yamato and Crises 2050. (taken from his website).

He’s a visual Futurist and a legend. Too essential to miss off of this list.

There are more people in the world who make things than there are people who think of things to make.

Kevin Warwick

Kevin Warwick is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Coventry University. Prior that he was Professor of Cybernetics at The University of Reading, England. His research areas are artificial intelligence, control, robotics and biomedical engineering. He is a Chartered Engineer (CEng.) and is a Fellow of The Institution of Engineering & Technology (FIET). He is the youngest person ever to become a Fellow of the City & Guilds of London Institute (FCGI). He is the author or co-author of more than 600 research papers and has written or edited 27 books (three for general readership), as well as numerous magazine and newspaper articles on scientific and general subjects. He has broadcast and lectured widely and holds various visiting professorships (taken partly from his website).

He’s a cyborg adventurer. Fearless and experimental.

I was born human. But this was an accident of fate – a condition merely of time and place. I believe it’s something we have the power to change.

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Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.


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