Insights January 10th, 2022

Each week Nikolas Badminton curates a weekly list of insights and learnings for progressive executives, world leaders and foresight practitioners – CEO Futures Briefing: Vulnerabilities in Modern Agriculture

This week we look at John Deere’s Self-Driving Tractor, the vulnerabilities in agricultural technical architecture, the myth of ‘trickle-down’, An Analysis of Long-term Anticipatory Thinking in the Federal Government, a timelapse of past & future technology at NASA, 

Also featured is an insightful interview on the Exponential Minds Podcast with the excellent Madeline Ashby about why futures work is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, and it’s easier than you think.

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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

A huge study of 20 years of global wealth demolishes the myth of ‘trickle-down’ and shows the rich are taking most of the gains for themselves

Inequality has remained persistently high for decades, and a new report shows just how stark the divide is between the richest and poorest people on the planet. 

The 2022 World Inequality Report, a huge undertaking coordinated by economic and inequality experts Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, was the product of four years of research and produced an unprecedented data set on just how wealth is distributed.

Read more at Business Insider

Strategic Foresight in U.S. Agencies – An Analysis of Long-term Anticipatory Thinking in the Federal Government

U.S. public policy has often been myopic, sacrificing long-term needs to short-term interests. This short-termism not only reduces economic performance, threatens the environment, and undermines national security—to name but a few consequences—it also leaves the United States vulnerable to surprise and limits its ability to manage crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The question is, what to do about it?

Answering that question requires that we understand the causes of short-termism. This report argues that it is, in part, a mechanism for coping with the uncertainty of the future and that reducing myopia requires providing policymakers tools for managing that uncertainty. Specifically, it maintains that the practice of strategic foresight—the rigorous examination of imagined alternative futures to better sense, shape, and adapt to the emerging future—can put boundaries around future uncertainty while enabling better strategy in the present.

Read more at New America

John Deere’s Self-Driving Tractor Stirs Debate on AI in Farming – The automation, and control of the resulting data, raises questions about the role of human farmers. 

Deere & Co. helped mechanize agriculture in 1837 with the first commercially successful steel plow. On Tuesday, the company unveiled a machine that could prove just as transformative: a fully autonomous tractor.

John Deere’s new 8R tractor uses six pairs of stereo cameras and advanced artificial intelligence to perceive its environment and navigate. It can find its way to a field on its own when given a route and coordinates, then plow the soil or sow seeds without instructions, avoiding obstacles as it goes. A farmer can give the machine new orders using a smartphone app.

Read more at WIRED

Three videos to watch

DEF CON 29 – Sick Codes – The Agricultural Data Arms Race – Exploiting a Tractor Load of Vulns

How I hacked the entire American Food Supply Chain over the course of 3 months, assembled a team of hacker strangers, and how we used a “full house” of exploits on almost every aspect of the agriculture industry. See the process in which it happened, the private exploits we used, the vectors we attacked from, and how it could happen again, or be happening right now.

How the ongoing analytics arms race affects everyone, and how Tractor companies have metastasized into Tech companies, with little to no cyber defenses in place. Learn how farms are not like they used to be; telemetry, crop & yield analytics, and more telemetry.

NASA 1958 – 2100 (Timelapse of past & future technology)

NASA has changed the way humankind lives on the Earth, and on the ISS, with the futuristic technology they have developed. And they will soon be shaping how humans live on the Moon and Mars.

This mini overview documentary looks into NASA’s history of tech and rockets, and also explores their future technology – going as far into the future as the year 2100. Showcasing NASA’s future missions and projects, from the Artemis Moon Missions and Lunar Space Station, to the future Mars Colony. 

Elon Musk: SpaceX, Mars, Tesla Autopilot, Self-Driving, Robotics, and AI

Elon Musk is CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, Neuralink, and The Boring Company.

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 a chat with the excellent Madeline Ashby about why futures work is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, and it’s easier than you think.

The last word…

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

C.S. Lewis

About Nikolas Badminton

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’ on Bloomsbury. His new book ‘Facing Our Futures’ is due out in 2022 on Bloomsbury and 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