Insights November 11th, 2019

In the top-10 DARK FUTURES talks we look back at 5 years of running the now legendary event that some people call ‘the Black Mirror of TED Talks’. Here’s part 1 of 2.
In June 2014 four friends met up for dinner and drinks on a patio in Vancouver, BC. They were Nikolas Badminton and Kharis O’Connell (old friends from UK days), Ryan Betts (UX Designer, drummer) and Nick Black (CEO of Intensions, Researcher). As the evening went on conversion delved into sharks eating Internet cables in Thailand, how VR and AR changes everything, and how as humans bleed data that betrays us. Just a few months later Nikolas Badminton, Futurist Speaker and Researcher, hosted the first DARK FUTURES.
To celebrate this year’s event in San Francisco (1st year!), Vancouver and Toronto, we wanted to share our top-10 DARK FUTURES talks. These are in no particular order. Here’s the first 5 talks in that top-10 and you can seen the next 5 here.

Dark Fertility by Meena Sandhu

Humanity’s relationship with fertility, undoubtedly, has a dark history. The human desire to label/categorize what we don’t understand and to enforce control over others (particularly male over female) has taken humanity down a dark path in our understanding and treatment of fertility. In modern history, we feel that we know more than ever about reproduction, we have access to superior care, opportunity, and choice, we feel that women are more empowered than ever before. However, we’re headed into a dark future with the merging of technology and fertility and the rising concern around male infertility.

Dark Ends – The Doomsday Effect by Jordan Eshpeter

Eschatology is the study of the final events of history; including death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind. Hidden from conscious thought and action, latent eschatological beliefs are almost always Dark Ends. They include Eventual and Sudden Extinction events to Supernatural Apocalypse or Alien Invasion scenarios. Why do these hidden or subtle eschatological beliefs matter? Because like all ‘ends’, they dictate the ‘means’. Believing in a near-certain extinction, some people hedonistically consume while others dedicate themselves to survivalism or the advancement of space colonization.

Dark Data by Nick Black

Nick black goes into how we bleed data and how it betrays us. One of the original event’s four talks and a classic.

Crypto Utopia, winners and losers in a blockchain-driven future by Bernd Patek

As with many interesting technologies before it, crypto and blockchain are finally receiving their time in the sun. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being poured into math and code, and incredible predictions for a utopian future are being made daily. In amongst the hype and promise lie a number of implications for this technology that indicate there will be losers as well as winners. For those losers, blockchain will come to represent unpleasant change at a minimum, and often loss of money, power and prestige to boot. To paraphrase a saying, if you don’t know who the loser is going to be, it’s probably you.

Dark Industrial Revolutions – Rafeeq Bosch

Even as Artificial Intelligence, Precision Medicine and Self-Driving Cars capture the imagination of the people living in “The First World”, the Fourth Industrial Revolution creates a worrying technological gap between the Developed World and Developing World. There is a well-documented adverse effect to this growing Digital Divide, especially in the way it creates inequality between nations. Inequality which, worryingly, translates into conflict.



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