Tim Longhurst's Blog

Entries Tagged as 'From the frontlines of the future'

Facebook activism – HSBC case study

September 19th, 2007 · No Comments

When HSBC made a policy change that would cost some customers more money, thousands of students used Facebook to organise, and threatened to take to the streets. The threat was enough to turn HSBC around. Activists 1, Bank 0.

For details, check out this Guardian article or the Facebook group where it all started (login required).

With thanks to KLM for emailing the Guardian article! 🙂

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Category: From the frontlines of the future

Is there a future in it? Wired Magazine introduces ‘lunch pail’ futurists

October 27th, 2005 · No Comments

futures.jpgForget the futurist superstars, according to this article in Wired magazine, an industry of ‘garden variety’ futurists is starting to emerge.

It’s an interesting article, but I take issue with the critique of Y2K predictions being wrong. There were scenarios of catastrophe offered well before the date and I would argue such scenarios led to wide-spread investment ensuring that, for example, planes didn’t fall out of the sky.

When people say, ‘look out you’re gonna step on a piece of dog poo!’ you don’t take their advice, avoid the crap, and then tell them their prediction was wrong. You just say, ‘Thanks man, gee, I came really close to stepping on that!’.

Futuring is not so much about predicting what will happen, but rather what could happen, and using that information to make informed choices.

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Category: From the frontlines of the future

Upgrade to site occuring LIVE!

July 27th, 2005 · No Comments

That’s right… this site is getting an update over the next few days and you can watch live. Don’t mind the fact that all the menu items to the left are jumbled, that’s just part of the fun!

You can still contact me here.

If you’re looking for a particular story, the search feature (above) is your best bet.

Please forgive the awful mess.



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Category: Building a better blog · From the frontlines of the future

A global network where each organism is a cell

May 22nd, 2005 · No Comments

humannetwork.jpgAdvancing medical technologies have allowed humans to merge with machines. Pacemakers and other medical equipment are now embedded in people, creating what some describe as “bionic humans”.

Through technology, the wealthiest humans on the planet (if you’re reading this, you’re included) have become a global network in which each organism is a cell…

According to this French flash presentation all this technology raises questions of identity… who is this individual? Is our ability to transcend the former limits of our bodies a hope or a threat for the future? Raising more questions than answers, this presentation is not suited to people who like answers, rather than more questions.

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Category: From the frontlines of the future

The Future of Autonomous Systems

April 30th, 2005 · No Comments

Will Robots have souls?

“So if robots are being developed as pets, what about the idea of humans becoming pets to robots?

Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the Seti Institute, put it this way:  “It strikes me as likely that, sometime this century, we will build a thinking computer.  That machine will run the planet.  Competitive pressures will ensure this (if we don’t have a machine running our society, we’ll fall behind those that do).   We will no longer be the smartest things on Earth.  Our mantle of superiority will be donned by our own creations.
“Then what?  Will the machines get rid of us?  A machine that dwarfs our intelligence might regard us as we regard budgies or goldfish.   Our role may be to serve as pets for the sentients in charge.
“All of this would be dismaying enough if it were merely a science fiction story.  But I suspect the first steps will be taken by mid-century.  We could well be the last generation of humans to dominate Earth.”

Charles Brass once remarked to me that in this century we will more than likely become the second smartest species on Earth. He then asked me: “What do you consider the second smartest species on Earth, and how is it treated by humans?” Interesting…

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Category: From the frontlines of the future