The World Future Society (WFS) has been around for a long time. Long enough to host its 50th annual conference in Washington DC from July 23 – 25, 2016. It is arguably the world’s best known community of futurists and futures-focused organisations who are constantly seeking to redraw the contours of the world of tomorrow. As a member of the World Futures Organisation, I have seen the contours of the horizon getting reframed by friends and industry colleagues from the community. The Futurist, a bimonthly magazine that was published by WFS from 1967 to 2015, was eagerly looked forward to with writings from people like Alvin and Heidi Toffler, Buckminster Fuller, Frederik Pohl, Isaac Asimov, Vaclav Havel, Margaret Mead, Robert McNamara, B.F Skinner, Nicholas Negroponte, Arthur C. Clarke, Douglas Rushkoff, David Walker, Glenn T. Seaborg, Clay Shirky, Robert James Woolsey, and Ray Kurzweil.
The conference in Washington DC was an eclectic combination of people, topics, and ideas—ideas that challenge status quo and seek to redraw the horizon of the future. The arguments—from moonshots and beyond to resurrecting the ‘human’ inside us—sparked off intense conversations about how the future would perhaps look like. These arguments touched on neurosciences, artificial intelligence, learning, the dilemmas in ethics and governance as technology redraws new boundaries and, of course, how the future will look like for work in itself. All of it delectable fare, so much so that time melted away as I was glued to the sessions.
An array of superlative keynotes and a giant palette of breakout sessions with adequate spaces to converse and make collective meaning, made it an experience to remember. The collection of tweets below will give you an idea of the event. We need to speak and delve more on the ideas that emerge from here. We need to spend more time talking about and working on our futures. After all, it is where we are going to spend the rest of our lives.