Los Angeles Future Salons
Don Levenson. Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century, Michio Kaku. (7:45)
Kaku (Hyperspace, Beyond Einstein), professor of physics and CUNY and syndicated radio show host is a lucid explicator of far-future scenarios, positioning himself as one of a handful of successors to the late Carl Sagan as a spokesman for the potential of science to revolutionize our lives. This book discusses Kaku's expectation of Computer, Biomolecular, and Quantum "revolutions" of the 21st century. Thanks to futurist Don Levenson for giving us this introduction to Kaku's impressive Visions.
Special Guest Author Appearance and Booksigning:
Pierre Baldi. (8:30)
The Shattered Self: The End of Natural Evolution, Pierre Baldi, 2001
Pierre Baldi is Professor of Information and Computer Science (U.C. Irvine) and of Biological Chemistry (College of Medicine) and Director of the Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics at the University of California, Irvine. He is coauthor of Bioinformatics: A Machine Learning Approach (2nd Edition, MIT Press, 2001), a textbook in this emerging field. From the jacket of The Shattered Self:
"...we are developing machines that will surpass the human brain in raw computing power, and building an interconnected world of information-processing devices that makes science fiction pale in comparison. In this book Baldi explores what it is about these phenomena that make us so uneasythe shattering of the human self as we know it. Through evolution our brains have been wired to provide us with an inner sense of self, a feeling that each of us is a unique individual delimited by precise boundaries. We have also been wired to reproduce ourselves in a certain way. Baldo argues that this self-centered view of the world is scientifically wrong. It's past success lies in its being an adequate model during our evolutionary bootstrapping: a world without molecular biotechnology, human cloning, and the Internet. Eventually we must come to terms with the fact that genomes, computations, and minds are fluid, continuous entities, in both space and time. The boundary between the self and the world has begun to dissolve [and transform]..."
We are very privileged to have Pierre Baldi talk to us, in person, on the fluid future of computation and the self as we rapidly enter our extraordinary future. Don't miss this event!
8 (Next Meeting) (3rd Floor: Chair Circle)
Karl Martin. Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping the World, Barber and Schultz, 1996. (7:50)
Barber brings up the fascinating premise that global capitalism often works against the democracy that first nurtured it, trying with great effort to create a planet of unquestioning, homogenized consumers. As a countervailing force (and one that can also threaten democracy), he considers the Jihadic and tribalist forces that are reacting (seeking dignity? overreacting?) to global commercial-cultural unification. This book is especially topical and prescient given the 9-11 tragedy, and our current early efforts in response to it. Barber proposes a way out of this conflict. Come hear Karl Martin, our resident futurist art director, movie set designer, illustrator and computer animator, discuss his interpretations of this fascinating book, and respond to your questions and challenges.
Special Guest Speaker:
Max More, Founder, Extropy Institute. On: "Scenario Planning, A Foresight Tool" (8:30)
The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World , Peter Schwartz, 1991
More challenging: Learning from the Future: Competitive Foresight Scenarios, Fahey and Randall (Eds.), 1997
Scenario planning is a tremendous tool for insight into our Extraordinary Future. Come hear Max More describe these powerful books on this topic, and learn how to apply scenario planning in your own business and personal life.
Max is a widely known professional futurist, business consultant, and the founder of the Extropy Institute (http://www.Extropy.org), the single most important group to date with the explicit agenda of advancing transhumanist thinking in social and personal contexts. Extropy.org also maintains the longest running and most active transhumanist discussion list on the web, and runs the amazing Extro conferences. The Extropian Principles, 3.0 say it all: Perpetual Progress, Self-Transformation, Practical Optimism, Intelligent Technology, Open Society, Self-Direction, and Rational Thinking. We are very privileged to have Max come talk to us, in person on scenario planning as a tool for managing accelerating change. Don't miss this event!
PS: As we are meeting on the third floor (Chair Circle) only 35 or less seats will be available. Earlybirds get preferred seating!
8 (3rd Floor: Chair Circle)
Brian Rowley (7:55, Half Hour Discussion) Permission Based Email Marketing that Works, Kim MacPherson, 2001
One of the people who deeply understands how to acquire and keep a valuable internet customer base is futurist Seth Godin (Permission Marketing, 1999; Unleashing the Idea Virus, 2000). These books are great starting points for building digital tribes, but being high bandwidth folks, we are going to leapfrog past the generalist works to consider the nuts and bolts of the success stories in this area. MacPherson's excellent work is widely considered one of the best how-to books to read if you are serious about building a strong (and financially viable) internet community.
We all need to learn how to better use email, one of the most important tools, and the current killer app of the web. Come hear our resident futurist, writer (on health, fitness, and many other topics), and life-extensionist Brian Rowley discuss and deconstruct this book for us, and together let's gain a better understanding of marketing and community building in the 21st century.
Special Guest Author and Booksigning:
Alex Lightman (8:30, One Hour Discussion) Brave New Unwired World, Alex Lightman and William Rojas, Publication Date: Feb 1, 2002
Join us in what will be an amazingly broad and deep look at the intersection of wireless networks and wearable computing, as told by a veteran thinker and visionary in this emerging field, Alex Lightman, CEO of wearable computing innovator Charmed.com.
Promo Blurb: "A whirlwind tour through the exciting landscape opening up around digital wireless communication In The Brave New Unwired World, the CEO of one of today's hottest wireless businesses explores the latest thinking and trends in the exciting world of digital wireless communication and boldly predicts the future of this hot new field. He acquaints readers with the amazing technologies involved and the no less amazing profit opportunities opening up around them. Drawing upon his unique access to top management at Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, Verizon, IBM, Cisco, Psion, Microsoft, and other key players, he profiles those who are vying to be among the first to cash in on the wireless revolution while holding their own against brilliant upstarts, government regulation, and the threat of extinction by competitors who appear from virtually nowhere, at any moment." Some insightful quotations:
"Lightman and Rojas combine a dizzying array of fields and facts to provide commentary on some of the fundamental issues that will be facing the next generations of information technology. Opinionated and thought provoking, BNUW provides a perspective that, until now, only a few have seen." - Thad Starner, Ph.D., professor, Georgia Tech, and pioneer in wearable computing.
"Go directly to 4G, do not stop at 3G, is Alex Lightman's message. Why bother with 3G mobile phones that can only deliver a dial-up modem's worth of data? He shows how broadband communications could go mobile, delivering a torrent of bits to computer systems that we wear. It's the sort of visionary idea tha telecommunications needs." - Jeff Hecht, author, "Understanding Fiber Optics" and "City of Light: The Story of Fiber Optics"
"Wireless is the next thing you should have understood yesterday. In this extraordinary book, rich with lucid explanations of a broad range of technology, Lightman crafts a map that will make the importance and difference of wireless make sense. If allowed by regulators, and freed from dinosaurs, wireless could fuel the next Internet revolution. This book shows how." - Larry Lessig, Professor, Stanford Law School and author of Code and The Future of Ideas.
12 (3rd Floor: Chair Circle)
Evan Reese (7:50, 40 Min. Discussion). The Global Brain Awakens: Our Next Evolutionary Leap, Peter Russell, 1995
Back in 1983, Peter Russell, a then-little-known author of books on meditation and the brain wrote a short and very provocative text, The Global Brain: Speculations on the Evolutionary Leap to Planetary Consciousness, which made a big splash in the futurist and systems thinking communities. Both an extension of the Noosphere concept of Teilhard de Chardin, and an update of the Gaia hypothesis of Lovelock and Margulis (to include intelligence, which was not addressed in the Gaia model), The Global Brain proposed that as our technology-aided planetary information flows continue to increase in quantity, immediacy, and quality, we are on the verge of creating a new "species consciousness", and perhaps also a self-preserving global ethic and (unconscious) intuition, in addition to enriching our own individual perspectives on the world. Russell saw this as a tremendously positive sign, a way of avoiding many of the actual and even more importantly, potential future problems that technology itself has created through its own success. This work was one of a handful that were seminal in inspiring the transhumanist movements of the 1980's--pursuing the idea that technology is part of a natural evolutionary process, and that we both can and must use technology to make ourselves more than we are, and better than we are, in a process of ongoing dynamic equilibrium with our environment. Peter Russell is now on the board of advisors for Accelerating.org, our new nonprofit organization focused on research, education, and discussion of models of accelerating change.
Evan Reese is a new member of LA Futurists who has a strong interest in accelerating change, and plans to pursue graduate studies in physics and systems theory. We are privileged to have him give us his interpretation of the strengths, weaknesses, and areas where more research is still needed in this updated version of Russell's classic futurist book.
Brian Madden, M.D. (8:30, 1 Hour Discussion) . Inside the Minds: The New Health Care Industry--Industry Leaders Share their Knowledge on the Future of the Health Care Revolution, Aspatore Books Staff (Ed.), 2001. The "Inside the Minds" futurist book series interviews visionary executives in a range of important industries. They've done books surveying the state of the art and the near-term future in such areas as: technology (CTO interviews), venture capital, internet-centric businesses, marketing, advertising, realestate, wireless, media, and have several still to complete on telecom, internet law, privacy, and other topical subjects. This is their book on health care, completed last year, and it has some excellent reviews. We are happy to announce that Dr. Brian Madden, a futurist and physician at Santa Monica's http://www.PeakDocs.com will be giving us a survey of the health care innovations and policy issues we can expect in coming years. Peak Health Medical Group is an innovative group of general practitioners, committed to bringing the latest in medical informatics and personalized therapies to a modern patient population. Dr. Madden has an undergraduate background in neuroscience (Brown U.), completed medical school at UCLA, and has recently finished his residency at the Santa Monica-UCLA Family Practice residency program. He has a strong background and interest in medical computing, and has designed intra- and internet medical comunication systems. Brian has a strong interest in the future of health care, and using technology in ways that will benefit patients and health care providers. Don't miss this excellent opportunity to learn more about the way new advances in health care will affect us all, and how we can get there faster by selectively patronizing physicians who utilize truly useful new medical technologies and therapeutics. Thank you to Anita Phillips for bringing Dr. Madden into the LA Futurists community.
10 (3rd Floor: Chair Circle), 7-9:30pm
Bob Lloyd (7:50, 40 Min. Discussion). Vital Dust: Life as a Cosmic Imperative, Christian de Duve, 1996
Christian De Duve is a Nobel Laureate in physiology and professor emeritus of biochemistry at Rockefeller University. He notes, that via "complementarity" (e.g., lock and key mechanisms, built into the physics of small molecules), "spontaneity" (as in spontaneous order), and "congruency" (as in developmental convergence) prebiotic conditions lead, apparently inevitably, to protometabolic states on all life supporting planets. His is one of the leading books making a clear-headed case that life is a necessary multi-local product of normal universal development. The first half of this book is superbly instructional, outlining seven ages of chemical complexity in life's evolution, and the latter half usefully speculative, re-evaluting such issues as the Gaia hypothesis, Teilhard de Chardin's epistemology, and the potential implications of living in a "meaningful universe."
Bob Lloyd is a microbiologist and member of LA Futurists with long-term interest in astrobiology and intrastellar space exploration. Expect an interpretation of the strengths, weaknesses, and areas where further research is needed in this popular book on these important futurist topics.
Special Guest Author:
Joyce Schwarz (8:30, 1 Hour Discussion) . Cutting the Cord: A Wireless Consumer's Guide, Joyce Schwarz, Que/TechTV, 2002.
Come hear futurist and consultant Joyce Schwartz discuss her fascinating new book, available May 31st,. Book order forms for Barnes & Noble will be available at the meeting. Which of today's mobile products are really worth using, and which are deadweight? Palm, Handspring, Treo, Blackberry, Kyocera's Smart Phone, Compaq's iPaq, Apple's iPod, Sonic Blue, these are just a few of the manufacturers and products giving us choices in our "Brave New Unwired World" (Thanks to LA Futurist Alex Lightman for this compelling book and phrase). Schwarz will tell us about practical wireless issues for the modern consumer. In the process, she'll delve into such topics as wireless choices at home and work, telematics, wearable computers, digital identity and the future of privacy. She'll be making a particular point to discuss the evolution of digital identity in broad terms, as she sees this as a strategic developmental issue of our progressively faster future.
Joyce is a writer, futurist, and strategic marketing, branding, and new product introduction consultant. Find out more about her at http://www.joycecom.com/. She produced a cable television show on the "New Hollywood," and is particularly interested in immersive experiences and online gaming. Some of her hobbies include location based gaming and adventure travel. Come get informed on your wireless choices, and begin pulling the plug more often, for richer work and life experiences. Bodies were made to move.
14 (2nd Floor: Events Room), 7-9:30pm
Theme 1: Special Guest Speaker
Brad Hansen, Hubble Fellow in Astronomy, UCLA. (7:45, 40 Minute Discussion).
Donald Goldsmith, The Runaway Universe, 2000
Dr. Hansen does astrophysical research at UCLA and Princeton University. His current interests include White Dwarfs and the Age of the Milky Way Galaxy, and Planet Formation and Structure. Both are "big picture" topics in cosmology and astrobiology. When did the Universe begin? How inevitable are life-supporting planets in universal development? He's also published on dark matter, that elusive extra component of universal structure we can't directly see, but which has gravitational effects, and influences the rate of expansion after the Big Bang. Many cosmologists now suggest about 5% of the energy of our universe is made up of visible matter (stars, planets, us), 35% is dark matter (the specific components of which are still being uncovered), and the remaining 60% is called "dark energy" (an apparent repulsive energy of space itself, causing accelerating universal expansion in the last few billion years of universal history--see The Runaway Universe for more details). Brad's group recently successfully measured the age of our universe at 14 billion years, a measure that has been independently arrived at by other recent astrometrical methods. Congratulations Brad! He will give us an overview of recent progress in cosmology, and discuss some of his favorite open problems in understanding the history and fate of the universe. Don't miss this chance for a cosmic update from a home town researcher.
Theme 2: Special Guest Author and Booksigning:
Katherine Hayles, Professor of English, UCLA. (8:30, 1 Hour Discussion)
How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, Katherine Hayles , 1999
Katherine Hayles is one of the leading academic thinkers exploring the symbolic implications of our digital future. She has an interest in complex systems (see her Chaos and Order: Complex Dynamics in Literature and Science, Katherine Hayles (Ed.), 1991), and has taught courses on such futurist topics as the implications of Virtual Embodiment, Electronic Texts, and the American Experience with Intelligent Machines. She also delves into the implications of information theory and semiotics (the signals or markers of information), a topic of her forthcoming book, Coding the Signifier. How We Became Posthuman, explores the way science and culture are dealing with the changing nature of human self-conception as our ever-more-sophisticated tools and culture move us toward cyborgized "transhumanity" and as artificial life advances suggest the nature of "posthuman" embodiments. This excellent book, which Dr. Hayles will be signing for any LA Futurists who purchase one, ranges across such diverse areas as cybernetics, information theory, the history of technology, cultural studies, and literary criticism. Don't miss it! Come hear Drs. Hansen and Hayles give us this penetrating overview of scientific and symbolic dimensions of our Extraordinary Future. We look forward to seeing you and catching up on fun things in your lives and new events in our accelerating world this June.
12 (3rd Floor: Chair Circle), 7-9:30pm
Theme 1: Joyce Schwarz (7:55, 40 Minute Discussion).
Cutting the Cord: A Wireless Consumer's Guide, Joyce Schwarz, Que/TechTV, 2002.
Joyce takes us on further discussion of wireless, digital identity, and web developments. Facinating topics!
Theme 2: Special Guest Author and Booksigning:
K.C. Cole. (8:30, 1 Hour Discussion)
The Hole in the Universe, K.C. Cole, 2001
PS: As we are meeting on the third floor (Chair Circle) this month, only 35 seats will be available. Earlybirds get preferred seating.
9 (2nd Floor: Events Room), 7-9:30pm
Theme 1: (7:55, 40 Minute Discussion).
John Smart will introduce Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing by Peter Denning and Robert Metcalfe (Eds.), 1997 This book was commissioned by ACM (Assn. for Computing Machinery) on the 50th anniversary of the transistor (and of the ACM's founding) to envision computing in 2047. Twenty four essays from leading lights, with good conservative extrapolation, *not* accounting for truly surprising emergences like evolutionary computation (See Dr. Stoica's talk below!). Even so, the futures many of these experts predict are still astounding, with "documented lives" (capturing all our audio and video experiences as desired) and primarily *talking* to ubiquitous machines circa 2020 to 2030. Telepresence for work across ultrahigh bandwidth connections is also a coming "killer application." Most interestingly, the social and political effects of all this cheap and powerful connectivity and computation are also explored. After a brief overview, we'll quickly move to open conversation about the implications for our own personal, social, and planetary future. Bring your computer-related article printouts and insights to share!
Theme 2: Special Guest Researcher:
Adrian Stoica, Principal Investigator, JPL Evolvable Systems Group. (8:30, 1 Hour Discussion)
Dr. Adrian Stoica, Principal Investigator at JPL's Advanced Computing Technology Group will be trekking out from Pasadena to explain a really important new computing paradigm to us, Evolvable Hardware and Adaptive Computing in a new generation of autonomous robots. Print out Page 3 of this PDF for a great one page overview of Adrian's work. JPL is the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, world headquarters for robotic space exploration activities. Here is the website for Dr. Stoica's work. Believe me, this talk promises to be truly surprising, as it portends the emergence of a new type of machine-directed complexity increase, giving robots the capacity to autonomously develop their own solutions to computational problems. This approach to computer development is expected to become much more prominent in coming decades. In addition to the links above, I'd also recommend this excellent interview w/ Dr. Stoica. The books below, particularly Zebulum's, provide a good recent technical introduction to this amazing new field of computer development, one that may become a dominant method for adding higher-level intelligence to robotic systems in coming decades.
Evolutionary Electronics, Zebulum et. al., 2002
Evolvable Systems, Liu, ed., 2002
Conferences and PDFs:
NASA/DoD Workshops on Evolvable Hardware (1999, 2000, 2001)
13 (2nd Floor: Events Room), 7-9:30pm
Our general focus this month is the emerging environment of human centric computing. Come find out the opportunities and challenges of the coming era of playful machines!
Theme 1: (7:50, 40 Minute Discussion).
John Smart will introduce The Unfinished Revolution: Human Centered Computers and What They Can Do For Us, by Michael Dertouzos, 2001. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0066620678/)
John will sketch a rough outline of this last book by Michael Dertouzos, written just before he passed away. Dertouzos directed MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science, and was a widely respected technology visionary. He shows here the kind of work we'll need to do to make our internet, databases, agents, health care platforms, and community structures into truly human friendly systems as we craft a world consistent with both more fine-grained group consensus and new individual freedoms. In 1998 Dertouzos wrote a bestselling futurist work on the implications of the information society, What Will Be (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0062515403), that is also well worth a look. Bring your internet, virtual reality, automation, interface, sci-tech, or other interesting articles and web printouts to share, as well as your wide ranging opinions and fertile minds!
Theme 2: Special Guest Author and Booksigning:
Mark Pesce. (8:30, 1 Hour Discussion)
The Playful World: How Technology is Transforming our Imagination, Mark Pesce, 2000
We are honored to have local Futurist author Mark Pesce to give us an overview of his very insightful book, The Playful World, on the coming opportunities for productive human-technology partnership. Mark is a very creative deep thinker who was one of the original pioneers of web-based virtual reality, and a real resource for long range thinking about the human benefits of symbiotic technologies. From the Amazon Editorial: "Mark Pesce, Chair of USC's Interactive Media Program and creator of VRML, thinks that technological development and recreational activity inform each other and are converging into a strange, new immersive environment. The Playful World: Interactive Toys and the Future of Imagination is a thoughtful peek into the guts of such toys as LEGO's Mindstorms and Sony's PlayStation2; by extrapolation, Pesce sees them driving research in nanotechnology and virtual reality, but he nobly refuses to succumb to the temptation to make precise predictions. Taking a look at the history of play (and taking care to knock down whatever remaining resistance we might have to considering play less worthwhile than other activities), the book shows it to be a form of learning--perhaps the most natural form. Toy technology is catching up with current research rapidly; more households have powerful computers playing "Crazy Taxi" with the kids than working on budgets with parents. The presumption that we are creating new ways of learning, knowing, and being that are rapidly overtaking our means to understand and control them could be frightening if explored by an author less familiar with the technology and its users. Instead of thinking "game over," Pesce believes we should get ready to "play again.""
11 (2nd Floor: Events Room), 7-9:30pm
Theme 1: Special Guest Author and Booksigning:
Kevin Mitnick (7:30, 2 Hour Discussion)
The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security, Kevin Mitnick , Oct. 2002
We are very fortunate to have Kevin Mitnick (subject of such hacker culture books as The Fugitive Game, 1997 and Takedown, 1996), debuting his new book discussing computer security and generalizing from his own experience on the ways today's hackers continue to find openings via the human element. A fascinating account of the many ways complex systems can be subverted, and the multi-level nature of security.
From the Amazon Editorial: "Mitnick is the most famous computer hacker in the world. Since his first arrest in 1981, at age 17, he has spent nearly half his adult life either in prison or as a fugitive. He has been the subject of three books and his alleged 1982 hack into NORAD inspired the movie War Games. Since his plea-bargain release in 2000, he says he has reformed and is devoting his talents to helping computer security. It's not clear whether this book is a means toward that end or a, wink-wink, fictionalized account of his exploits, with his name changed to protect his parole terms. Either way, it's a tour de force, a series of tales of how some old-fashioned blarney and high-tech skills can pry any information from anyone. As entertainment, it's like reading the climaxes of a dozen complex thrillers, one after the other. As a security education, it's a great series of cautionary tales; however, the advice to employees not to give anyone their passwords is bland compared to the depth and energy of Mitnick's descriptions of how he actually hacked into systems. As a manual for a would-be hacker, it's dated and nonspecific better stuff is available on the Internet but it teaches the timeless spirit of the hack. Between the lines, a portrait emerges of the old-fashioned hacker stereotype: a socially challenged, obsessive loser addicted to an intoxicating sense of power that comes only from stalking and spying."
For another truly amazing look into the ease with which computer systems were hackable on the early internet, and the subsequent formation of the FBI's still understaffed cyber-crime squad, At Large, 1997, is a truly amazing story of the kind of access gained, and potential damage that might be caused, by one curious kid with cerebral palsy and a lot of time on his hands.
Copies of Kevin's book will also be on hand for his booksigning. We'll invite him to dinner with us afterward, as usual. Get ready for a fun and fascinating event!
8 (NOTE: We are on the 3rd Floor: Chair Circle), 7-9:30pm
Theme 1: (7:45, 40 Minute Discussion).
Curt Steindler will introduce The Next 50 Years: Science in the First Half of the 21st Century, John Brockman, 2002. Curt leads us through a fascinating set of essays by top thinkers from Brockman's "Reality Club," speculating on the major innovations we can expect from science and technology in our lifetime. Fun!
PS: As we are meeting on the third floor (Chair Circle) this month, only 35 seats will be available. Earlybirds get preferred seating.
Theme 2: Special Guest Speakers and Booksigning
Mikela and Philip Tarlow (8:30, 1 hour discussion)
Digital Aboriginal: The Direction of Business Now--Instinctive, Nomadic, and Ever-Changing, 2002. Mikela (organizational learning specialist) and Philip (international artist) Tarlow, futurists, workshop leaders, and authors of Navigating the Future: A Personal Guide to Achieving Success in the New Millennium, have written a new book, Digital Aboriginal, that explores the character and challenges of the new economy. Beginning with the aborigines' view of the world that all things are connected, they analyze behavioral strategies that have worked (and that haven't) in modern business. The Tarlows consider us in "one of the most dramatic shifts in the organization of our social universe that has ever occurred." A new generation is "using the freedoms of the new economy" to develop a new set of behavioral strategies. Todays most successful business folk are "driven, yet they rarely plan," are "highly individualized, yet depend on tribal ways of birthing ideas," and are "brilliant strategists" (well, perhaps not always…) but often "chart their courses based on pure instinct." They make their case with a good number of case studies in leadership, marketing, and organizational behavior. Mikela suggests that rather than "future shock," the millennial generation is settling into "future flow," a state of mind that expects constant technological change, and creates very fluid relationships with physical and to some extent, social infrastructures. Also, as our technologies improve, we can use them ever more effectively to get back to our most natural, instinctive, evolutionary psychological ways of being. Our emerging digital communities are in many ways like an aboriginal tribe, with shared information, always moving, changing, and often without ownership. While Lawrence Lessig (The Future of Ideas) warns us of the increasingly restrictive effects of intellectual property in cyberspace, the Tarlows propose that digital aboriginals minimize ownership and enjoy sharing ideas, images, and music over the Internet. Will our future be Disney Copyright, Digital Aboriginal or some fusion of the two? Come engage in a lively discussion of these issues with the Tarlows and decide for yourself. ANNOUNCEMENT: The Tarlows also have an all day conference, applying these ideas, that they are running at the Skirball Center on Saturday, Nov. 9th. Details available at digitalaboriginal.com. If you enroll by phone and mention LA Futurists, Mikela says they will provide a $25 discount.
13, 2002 (2nd Floor: Events Room), 7-9:30pm
Theme 1: Special Guest Speaker (8pm, 80 Minute Discussion) John Spencer, Space Tourism Society, SCSC, and Red Planet Ventures
Our topic this month is Space! To introduce this fascinating subject, we are very privileged to host John Spencer, a celebrated designer of space and future-themed events and projects. Mr. Spencer is a space architect with two NASA awards for design work on the International Space Station, and an extensive background in finance and real estate. He currently serves as a consulting designer to some of the world's largest corporations. John is founder and president of the Space Tourism Society, (http://www.spacetourismsociety.org/). A true futurist, John has thought carefully about issues of consumer-driven space exploration, and believes that today's super yachts (a dozen or less passengers, $20+ million in construction costs) serve a market segment with many parallels to that needed for the first generation space tourism industry. See http://www.calspace.org/spencer.html for his case for an emerging culture of "orbital super yacht clubs" in the coming century.Presently, he is CEO and chief designer of Space Camp Southern California (SCSC), a fascinating project currently seeking funds to bring a version of the very successful weeklong Space Camp (for 9 to 18 year olds) in Huntsville, Alabama (http://www.spacecamp.com/) to a location next to the Queen Mary here in the southland. A "Space Place" attraction for day tourists is also part of this inspiring plan. John is a past designer of several space themed projects, has ongoing space and future related contracts in China (Dragon World) and in one longer-term effort is working on a Mars resort, simulator, and spa design project, Red Planet Ventures. Come hear John discuss the big picture of space tourism, the details of project design for space theme attractions and simulations, and his views on our near-term, near-Earth space future.Our book for the month, to be discussed prior to John's presentation, will be Robert Zubrin's acclaimed The Case for Mars, 1997 http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=3MG9YR1KOX&isbn=0684835509 Dennis Overbye sums up Zubrin's book as "Part history, part call to arms, part technical manual, part wishful thinking... an ingenious plan" to reach the Red Planet on a 20-30 billion dollar project some time in the next generation. Are there other priorities we should tackle first? When will we be ready to go to Mars? What opportunities will that open for humanity? Elegance, insight, inspiration, and motivation all flow from a bold, beautiful, and well-designed plan. As John will remind us, experiencing space helps us to see ourselves and our tiny Blue Planet in a new and far more precious light.
Back to Top