Insights February 22nd, 2021

Each week Nikolas Badminton curates a weekly list of insights and learnings for progressive executives and world leaders – CEO Futures Briefing: Social change avoidance and the future of energy.

This week we look at the perils of facial recognition, technocratic strategies for social change avoidance in VR, why Russia is scared of SpaceX and Starlink, future of energy, reversing aging, and the future of farming. Also featured is an insightful interview with the ‘world’s most connected man’ Chris Dancy.

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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

Despite Scanning Millions of Faces, Feds Caught Zero Imposters at Airports Last Year

U.S. Customs and Border Protection scanned more than 23 million people with facial recognition technology at airports, seaports, and pedestrian crossings in 2020, the agency recently revealed in its annual report on trade and travel.

The agency scanned four million more people than in 2019. The report indicates that the system caught no imposters traveling through airports last year and fewer than 100 new pedestrian imposters.

Since the agency started public tracking statistics in 2018, it has only caught seven imposters trying to enter the United States through airports, and 285 attempting to do so over land crossings. These facial recognition scans are the result of CBP partnerships with more than 30 points of entry to the U.S.

Read more at OneZero

Billionaires See VR as a Way to Avoid Radical Social Change

The future of virtual reality is far more than just video games. Silicon Valley sees the creation of virtual worlds as the ultimate free-market solution to a political problem. In a world of increasing wealth inequality, environmental disaster, and political instability, why not sell everyone a device that whisks them away to a virtual world free of pain and suffering?

Tech billionaires aren’t shy about sharing this. “Some people read this the wrong way and react incorrectly to it. The promise of VR is to make the world you wanted. It is not possible, on Earth, to give everyone all that they would want. Not everyone can have Richard Branson’s private island,” Doom co-creator and former CTO of Oculus John Carmack told Joe Rogan during a 2020 interview. “People react negatively to any talk of economics, but it is resource allocation. You have to make decisions about where things go. Economically, you can deliver a lot more value to a lot of people in the virtual sense.”
Read more at WIRED

Why Russia Is Terrified of SpaceX — and Starlink

As reported last month, the Russian State Duma (Russia’s “Congress”) is currently considering legislation to impose fines upon any individual or company that signs up for Starlink — or indeed, for any foreign-operated satellite internet system, OneWeb or Project Kuiper included. According to ArsTechnica, the Russian Duma may fine individual customers of Starlink up to $405 for use of the satellite internet service, and fine corporate users as much as $13,500.

What does Russia have against cheap, fast, reliable internet from space? For one thing, Russian security services object that internet operated by a foreign satellite network would be immune from surveillance under Russia’s System of Operational Search Measures legislation (“SORM”). For another, they suspect that Starlink is part of a U.S. government plot to deploy “predatory, clever, powerful, high-technology … shock and awe … to advance, above all, [American] military interests.”

Read more at Motley Fool

Three videos to watch

Rethinking Energy — 100% Solar, Wind and Batteries Is Just The Beginning

This presentation forms part of the Joint Declaration recently published by the Global 100% RE Strategy Group.

Meet The Scientists Trying to Reverse Aging

While the world wrestles with the coronavirus and climate change, there’s another challenge facing humanity: aging. As we live longer lives, more of our final years are marked by poor health, which means increased suffering and higher healthcare bills. But some scientists believe we might be able to solve this problem, and make later life more enjoyable.

The Futuristic Farms That Will Feed the World

How efficient farming in the Netherlands is producing 20 times more food with 1/4 the water and the most sustainable agriculture systems in the world.

Bolstered by a national commitment to produce twice the amount of food with half the resources, the Netherlands has become the world’s #2 produce exporter. The close collaboration between the government, science organizations and the food industry have driven impressive innovation and an efficiency that’s unmatched anywhere else in the world. 

On a normal open-field tomato farm, one could expect 4 kilograms of yield per square meter. In a high-tech greenhouse in the Netherlands, that number shoots up to 80 kilograms of yield per square meter, with 4X less water. That’s a 20X improvement on output! And it’s not just tomatoes–the Dutch are #1 in the world on producing chilis, green peppers, and cucumbers (measured by yield per square mile). With conservation and sustainable food as two of the most important global issues, could other countries copy their approach to help save the earth?

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 Chris Dancy – the world’s most connected man – who talks about our cyborg lives and the need to radically retool the world.

The last word…

“I was exhilarated by the new realization that I could change the character of my life by changing my beliefs. I was instantly energized because I realized that there was a science-based path that would take me from my job as a perennial “victim” to my new position as “co-creator” of my destiny. (Prologue, xv)”

Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D.

About Nikolas Badminton, FRSA

Nikolas Badminton is a world-renowned futurist speakerconsultant, 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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Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA (FRSA), a media personality, and has worked with over 400 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

Contact Nikolas