Insights September 20th, 2021

The Summer sabbatical is over. It’s good to be back. The team is working with some amazing clients, and Nikolas is preparing the last few virtual keynotes while writing his new book ‘FACING OUR FUTURES’. We’re excited to continue the CEO Futures Briefing.

Each week Nikolas Badminton curates a weekly list of insights and learnings for progressive executives, world leaders and foresight practitioners – CEO Futures Briefing: Pandemic Obesity and Accelerating Automation.

This week we look at how The Pandemic Has Worsened the U.S. Obesity Epidemic, As a population gets older, automation accelerates, Alphabet’s Project Taara, why fusion is a long way off, and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Story (RIP Sir Clive Sinclair).

Also featured is an insightful interview on the Exponential Minds Podcast with Dr. Joseph Voros – a futurist and foresight practitioner we look up to very much – who speaks about preposterous futures and civilization-level foresight.

To receive this, and other important insights into the future, then please sign up to Nikolas’ newsletter here.

If you have questions about these things we’re sharing, or a challenge with seeing the futures for you and your organization? Reach out to speak with Nikolas today to arrange a time to talk.

Three articles to read

The Pandemic Has Worsened the U.S. Obesity Epidemic

In 2020, 16 states had adult obesity rates at or above 35%, up from 12 states the previous year. The changing numbers can partly be tied to the coronavirus pandemic, which “changed eating habits, worsened levels of food insecurity, created obstacles to physical activity, and heightened stress,” according to the report from the Trust for America’s Health.

Since the pandemic began, 42% of adults in the U.S. reported gaining an undesired amount of weight, according to a Harris Poll conducted in February 2021. U.S. adults reported gaining an average of 29 pounds.

Read more at US News

Study: As a population gets older, automation accelerates

“Demographic change — aging — is one of the most important factors leading to the adoption of robotics and other automation technologies,” says Daron Acemoglu, an MIT economist and co-author of a new paper detailing the results of the study.

The study finds that when it comes to the adoption of robots, aging alone accounts for 35 percent of the variation among countries. Within the U.S., the research shows the same pattern: Metro areas where the population is getting older at a faster rate are the places where industry invests more in robots. 

“We provide a lot of evidence to bolster the case that this is a causal relationship, and it is driven by precisely the industries that are most affected by aging and have opportunities for automating work,” Acemoglu adds.

Read more at MIT 

Alphabet’s Project Taara laser tech beamed 700TB of data across nearly 5km

Sort of like fiber optic cables without the cable, FSOC can create a 20Gbps+ broadband link from two points that have a clear line of sight, and Alphabet’s moonshot lab X has built up Project Taara to give it a shot. They started by setting up links in India a few years ago as well as a few pilots in Kenya, and today X revealed what it has achieved by using its wireless optical link to connect service across the Congo River from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 20 days, Project Taara lead Baris Erkmen says the link transmitted nearly 700TB of data, augmenting fiber connections used by local telecom partner Econet and its subsidiaries. The reason for testing the technology in this location is not only the climate, which the team admits is better suited to wireless optical communications than a foggy city like San Francisco but the obstacle created by the deep and fast-flowing river. The cities are only a few miles apart as the crow flies, but Taara says a fiber link to Kinshasa has to run nearly 250 miles (400 kilometers), making it five times as expensive to get online.

Read more at The Verge

Three videos to watch

Former fusion scientist on why we won’t have fusion power by 2040

This video refutes some very optimistic claims about fusion power and discuss some of the challenges in making this long-sought after technology a reality.

BECOMING MARTIAN (The Astronaut Training Guide)

The astronaut training guide for Mars. 

Training begins on Earth – living in caves, weightlessness scuba training, A.I. led Martian astronaut classrooms, and replicas of the Martian Colony at the Antarctica station. 

The design of the Mars Training Space Station is based on the Mars Class Starship – as Martian astronauts need to prepare for the 4-6 months long journey to the red planet. 

There are 320 astronauts training at the Lunar Base – engineers in their final stages of training for their specific Mars colonization missions. From bio-dome expansion and fuel production construction, to in-situ Martian farming. 

Sinclair ZX Spectrum Story – Birth of a Classic

This video explores Sir Clive Sinclair’s early years, from his childhood to the formation of Sinclair Radionics in 1961, through the mini amplifier period, pocket calculator, black watch and finally his range of computers, starting with the MK14 and culminating in the ZX Spectrum 128k. We’ll look at the people involved behind the Spectrum such as Jim Westwood and Chris Curry and explore other avenues such as the famous punch up between Clive and Chris in a Cambridge pub. 

A conversation that counts

Each week we dig into the archives of all of the interviews Nikolas has undertaken with the insightful and entertaining Exponential Minds Podcast. This week we feature the first episode of our new season (5) with Dr. Joseph Voros who speaks about preposterous futures and civilization-level foresight.

The last word…

I always thought my days spent in darkness gave me a very special sensitivity. Much later, when I really wanted to hear, really ‘see’ a song, I’d close my eyes, and when I wanted to bring it out of the very depths of myself, out of my guts, out of my belly, when the song had to come from far away, I’d close my eyes.”

Edith Piaf

About Nikolas Badminton, FRSA

Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist at and a world-renowned futurist speaker, consultant, researcher, and media producer. He helps trillion-dollar companies, progressive governments and the media shift their mindset from “what is” to “WHAT IF…” The result is empowered employees, new innovative products and incredible growth that leads to more revenues and a more resilient future.

Nikolas advised Robert Downey Jr.’s team for the ‘Age of A.I.’ documentary series, starred in ‘SMART DRUGS – a Futurist’s journey into biohacking’, and features on CTV, Global News, Sirius XM regularly. His mind-expanding research and opinion can be found on BBC, VICE, The Atlantic, Fast Company, Techcrunch, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Forbes, Sputnik and Venturebeat. 

Nikolas provides the opening chapter – ‘Start with Dystopia’ in a new book – ‘The Future Starts Now: Expert Insights into the Future of Business, Technology and Society’ for Bloomsbury. He is currently researching and writing a new book that equips executives and world leaders with insights and foresight tools to imagine disruption, strengthen strategic planning, and see unforeseen risks.Nikolas is a Fellow of The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce – The RSA. The organization has been at the forefront of significant social impact for over 260 years with notable past fellows including Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, and Tim Berners-Lee.

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Futurist Keynote Speaker and Consultant - Nikolas Badminton

CEO of EXPONENTIAL MINDS and an award-winning Futurist Speaker, researcher and author. His expertise and thought leadership will guide you from complacency to thinking exponentially, planning for longevity, and encouraging a culture of innovation. You will then establish resiliency and abundance in your organization. Please reach out to discuss how he can help you, and read on to see what is happening in the world this week.

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