Insights February 7th, 2022

In this occasional newsletter Nikolas Badminton curates a list of insights and learnings for progressive executives, world leaders and foresight practitioners – CEO Futures Briefing: The Internet is Investment Banking.

In this newsletter we look at the U.S. considering a radical rethinking of the dollar for today’s digital world, how the Internet Is Just Investment Banking Now, Car companies charging subscriptions for functionality you think you buy, and algorithms predicting political unrest. 

Also featured is an insightful interview on the Exponential Minds Podcast with Richard Yonck who talks about deep futures and Homo Technologicus – a very smart guy with great insights and breadth of knowledge. 

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.

Five articles to read

The U.S. is considering a radical rethinking of the dollar for today’s digital world

Since its establishment as the country’s national currency, the dollar has undergone many updates and changes, but nothing compares to the proposal being debated today.

The U.S. is gingerly considering whether to adopt a digital version of its currency, one better suited for today’s increasingly cashless world, ushering in what could be one of the dollar’s most fundamental transformations.

In that scenario, the U.S. would not only mint the coins and print paper bills. It would also issue digital cash, or a central bank digital currency (CBDC), that would be stored in apps or “digital wallets” on our smartphones.

Read more at NPR

The Internet Is Just Investment Banking Now

Forget the hype around all things crypto. Set aside, for a moment, whether it makes sense to spend a fortune on an ape picture. Those matters are distractions. Let’s call things what they are: NFTs represent a first step in the securitization of digital assets. They turn digital data into speculative financial instruments. That shift has enormous implications because computers are in everything, and that makes anything a digital asset—your bank records, your Fitbit data, rings of your smart doorbell, a sentiment analysis of your work email, you name it. First the internet made it easy for people to conduct their lives online. Then it made it possible to monetize the attention generated by that online life. Now the digital exhaust of all that life online is poised to become an asset class for speculative investment, like stocks and commodities and mortgages.

NFTs might burn out, the crypto-collectible equivalent of Beanie Babies. But the more likely scenario is weirder and scarier: a securities market for digital data. Financiers, who previously turned everything, whether loans or hurricanes or payroll data, into bets, will likely go to town on all this fodder. But ordinary people may also become fledgling financiers of their—or others’—computer records. It is, in a way, the most honest turn of the internet epoch. From the start, online businesses have presented themselves as making culture, even as they really aimed to build financial value.

Read more at The Atlantic

Car companies stand to make billions by charging you monthly fees for add-on features like heated seats

How would you feel about paying $5 each month for the ability to lock and unlock your car from a distance through an app? What about a $25-per-month charge for advanced cruise control or $10 to access heated seats? What if those charges continued long after your car was paid off? 

As vehicles become increasingly connected to the internet, car companies aim to rake in billions by having customers pay monthly or annual subscriptions to access certain features. Not content with the relatively low-margin business of building and selling cars, automakers are eager to pull down Silicon Valley-style profits. But unlike with 

Netflix, you won’t be able to use your ex-girlfriend’s uncle’s login in your new BMW. 

Read more at Business Insider

Can Algorithms Predict Political Unrest? These Data Scientists Believe So

Some data scientists believe they can achieve exactly that, according to The Washington Post. “We now have the data — and opportunity — to pursue a very different path than we did before,” said Clayton Besaw, who helps run CoupCast, a machine-learning-driven program based at the University of Central Florida that predicts coups for a variety of countries.

This type of predictive modeling has been around for a while but has mostly focused on countries where political unrest is far more common. Now, the hope is that it can be redirected to other nations to help prevent events like that of January 6th. And so far, the firms working in this field have been quite successful.

Read more at Interesting Engineering

A Chinese Satellite Just Grappled Another And Pulled It Out Of Orbit

On January 22, China’s Shijian-21 satellite, or SJ-21, disappeared from its regular position in orbit during daylight hours when observations were difficult to make with optical telescopes. SJ-21 was then observed executing a “large maneuver” to bring it closely alongside another satellite, a dead BeiDou Navigation System satellite. SJ-21 then pulled the dead satellite out of its normal geosynchronous orbit and placed it a few hundred miles away in what is known as a graveyard orbit. These distant orbits are designated for defunct satellites at the end of their lives and are intended to reduce the risk of collision with operational assets. 

Read more at The Drive

Three videos to watch

Speaking with Cells: the Electrical Future of Regenerative Medicine with Dr. Michael Levin

Dr. Michael Levin is a developmental and synthetic biologist best known for two things – the creation of xenobots – biological robots created from frog cells – and his ability to fine-tune the bodyplan of regenerating organisms with morphogenic bioelectric fields. 

He speaks with us about the philosophical foundations of his work in regenerative medicine, which include intricate theories of cognition that assert the goal-seeking behavior associated with the “self” is apparent at all scales of life. His work serves as a proof-of-concept for this view of the world, as he has demonstrated it is much more effective to change how organisms grow and regenerate through the careful direction of this goal-seeking behavior, rather than through traditional biochemical methods. 

His rigorous attention to the philosophy of biology – which includes his forward-thinking definitions of terms like “self,” “intelligence,” and “cognition” – allows his ideas to jump from the page and into a reality filled with two-headed immortal worms and frog-skin xenobots

The Stamp Collector (Speculative Fiction)

A thief and his artificially-intelligent assistant struggle with their programming.

Starring – David Alvarez (West Side Story), Darin De Paul (Final Fantasy XV), and Jeffrey Alan Solomon (Super Dark Times)

HUMAN-PIG CHIMERAS with Nikolas Badminton, Futurist

Nikolas joins Jeff Sammut on SIRIUSXM’s Canada NOW to talk about human organs being grown in pigs for transplantation.

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 Richard Yonck talks about deep futures and Homo Technologicus – a very smart guy with great insights and breadth of knowledge. 

Listen here.

The last word…

“I’m not interested in being a ‘lover.’ I’m interested in only being love.”

Ram Dass

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