Learning about the future

By spending time with 15 futurists and thought leaders, we’re learnt so much about the future. So, we’ve put together some of their most insightful comments on select topics and remixed them into bite-sized videos.  All of us need a bit of a break from the doom and gloom of 2020, it feels like we are living through the most boring apocalypse imaginable (or is that just us locked down here in Melbourne, Australia?). We know you’ll feel so much more informed after watching these 5 minute episodes, and hopefully you’ll gain new inspiration for the world we’re going to live in too.  You can dive into AI and robots, mental heath and even the future of equality, right here on this page. Learning about the future is essential as we move beyond 2020, because no one wants a repeat of this year.

There’ll be more to come in the next few weeks so don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube and sign up to our newsletter. 

Learning about the future: Will robots take my job?

According to a famous Oxford study that was released in 2013, around 50% of jobs are at risk of being automated and taken over by robots by 2020. Well we’ve made it, and while 2020 has brought a lot of change and uncertainty, that prediction hasn’t been completely fulfilled.

It’s true that technological advancements can mean that certain jobs will be less needed in the future, yet that doesn’t necessarily indicate that entire industries will be abolished. Yes, it’s very likely that technology will change how we work, where we work and the hours we work, but humans are also endlessly creative at finding new ways to stay relevant. Some futurists have mused that if we allow automation to take over the more simple and mundane tasks, human workers will have the time to learn more stimulating and complex skills. Sounds interesting. But will this impact our health?

In this quick fire episode, we capture all the best AI insights from our Futurists World guests. Be prepared to question your perception of work life balance, but we promise it’s not all doom and gloom.

Settle in and watch as Mike Hill chats with Gerd Leonhard, Dom Price, Jamais Cascio, Thimon de Jong, Rob Grenfell and Narjis Hilale, and asks: Will robots take my job?

Learning about the future: Is gender equality really possible?

Gender equality feels like a topic that’s been both over-explored and not spoken about nearly enough. So what does gender equality actually mean, and when will we finally achieve it?

A 2018 study by the World Economic Forum revealed that at the current rate of change, true gender equality wouldn’t really be evident until 2126. Yes, you read that correctly. A 106 year wait for women to close the global gender gap. What’s even more astonishing is that economic gender parity might be even further away – a whopping 200 years in fact.

Fortunately, feminist and futurist Shivani Gopal is on a mission to bring that prediction forward to as early as 2050 (although, we do hope it might actually be a bit sooner).

Today, it’s estimated that women have only three-quarters of economic rights of men. Even the word’s most gender-equal countries continue to hold girls and women back due to tired gender norms and expectations. So, how do we move forward?

As always, and especially now, we must be looking to the future. On this episode of Futurists World, our guests give their expert opinions on why gender equality is still a way off, while also offering guidance on how it can be achieved. It’s a rallying cry for a more inclusive and equal future. Because the advancement of women advances the whole of society.

Please join Mike Hill as he chats with Shivani Gopal, Narjis Hilale, Dom Price, Katherine Boiciuc and Aarathi Krishnan as they contemplate the future of gender equality, and if girls will really run the world one day.

Learning about the future: Is mental health getting better or worse?

Wearable tech that measures emotions. Digital systems that detect how you’re feeling from the sound of your voice. Technology is set to have an enormous impact on our psychological wellbeing, which has us wondering: is mental health getting better or worse?

In 2020, people are taking a much more active role in their mental heath than ever before. We’ve finally moved away from the archaic perception of mental illness and acknowledged that our brains can become sick, just like any other organ. Psychologists and mental health researchers have started to explore how technology can assist in mental health care, with machines now affording a data-driven approach to psychiatry.

Modern mental health care might mean tools that give us greater insight into someone’s brain function. Which can in turn identify the likelihood of that person developing depression, anxiety, or even dementia.

Of course, we need to remain mindful that these are only tools that must work in partnership with human touch and interaction. Smart devices will allow clinicians to enhance the mental health of their patients, which will help those patients deal with life’s inevitable challenges and curve balls. However, individuals will still need to take some personal liability for their general well-being, won’t they? As Dr Robert Puff says, only we can prevent ourselves from having an “awesome life, no matter how dire our situation is”.

So If bad days are just as much our responsibility as good days, and if emotional AI is really coming, will mental health become something we only need to prevent rather than cure? If you’re feeling in the dark, this latest episode from Futurists World brings together the brightest discussions on mental health and happiness. Watch on as Dom Price, Thimon de Jong, Dr Rob Grenfell and Dr Robert Puff talk the future of mental health.


Learning about the future: Is the education system outdated?

Is our education system outdated? We’re sure this is something you’ve considered from time to time.

While our world has changed dramatically over the past century, our basic schooling model has remained the same. The education system we know was actually designed for factory workers –which is probably why futurists Dom Price thinks it “ smells and looks like a factory.”

Putting 20, sometimes even 30, children around the same age into a classroom with a single teacher, sounds foolish when you say it out loud. But it’s a model we’ve come to know and expect, Of course, there have been endless calls to rethink our education system, and in 2020, due to the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve no doubt witnessed the largest disruption to the system in history. According to the UN, nearly 1.6 billion learners across 190 countries and continents have been impacted by the pandemic.

Teachers, parents, children and governments have grappled with the shift to online learning and the best ways to approach education in a socially distanced world. The massive efforts made to upend the classroom has helped to remind all of us that change is truly possible.

So, is now the time to overhaul our education system entirely? Many of our Futurists World guests think so. In this episode, Dom Price, Jack Delosa, Narjis Hilare and Gerd Leonhard question the future of learning and highlight the changes that are needed – now.

If you want to experience the future first, subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up to our newsletter today. 

Thanks for watching.

Learning about the future: 15 visions

What will society look like in 30 years? Or even 10 years? With the world changing faster than ever before, how on earth is anyone meant to answer that question?

As we face multiple and overlapping threats to our civilisation – climate change, algorithms and a global pandemic to name just a few – it’s no surprise the future can feel a little overwhelming or even foreboding at times.

What does the future hold for our health system? And the homes we live in? What about technology, equality and education? It would be easy to roll out the clichés, like flying cars or frequent trips to space, but what if it’s not that exciting. What if it’s a world we still recognise, just one that’s a bit smarter and more automated and hopefully filled with more empathy too. There will no doubt be new innovations that will completely change us, others we may not even notice at all. 

Part of the reason we created the Futurists World series was to unpick the hopes thought-leaders with far-reaching experiences and different world views have for the future. So in this episode, we’ve weaved together a few of their greatest visions. Some you might see coming, while others could knock you sideways – the future, as they say, is unpredictable.

Watch closely as 15 futurists reveal what they think the future might look like. 

Learning about the future: Will hard of soft skills be more important in the future? 

Hard or soft skills: what do you lean on most? To advance your career you’ll likely need both. But what will be most valued in the future? What type of expertise will be needed to remain astute, in-demand and ahead of the curve?

A hard skill is our ability to complete a task, whereas a soft skill is the way we perform that task. If you’ve ever put together a resume, you’ve probably focused heavily on your hard skills, such as your technical knowledge and the software you can comfortably operate. They are easy to quantify by demonstrating what you have learnt through education or previous roles.

Soft skills are harder to put down in words. Essentially, they define our aptitude for problem solving, teamwork and innovation.

Forecasts from the Futurists World guests suggest that our reliance on soft skills will only accelerate, and quickly at that. As many industries look into automation and other cost-cutting strategies, it’s our “human” capabilities – like creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and empathy – that will keep us in our jobs. Put simply, these attributes can’t be automated (well, not yet at least).

It’s predicted that the need for strong social and emotional skills in the workplace will grow dramatically over the next few decades. To prepare you for what’s ahead, we’ve pulled together some insights from futurists Dom Price, Narjis Hilale and Gerd Leonhard.

This is a short, sharp episode, which will have you questioning what skills you might need to build on in a rapidly changing work environment.

Learning about the future: Is there hope for a more positive future?  

Having hope in 2020 can seem, well, a little hopeless. We’ve all seen how this year has gone, and it’s all very easy to feel disheartened after what we’ve endured.

But hope is ours for the taking and we need it to keep us going.

Hope can make an impossible situation bearable. It can also motivate us to take the necessary steps needed to invoke change.

Hope pushes us to fight for a future we want to see. And keeps us looking forward, even when we think it would be safer to just stand still.

This week, we’ve asked our Futurists World guests a burning question: Is there hope for a more positive future?

Their answers are as varied as they are, but they all agree on one thing: there really is a lot to be excited about.

In this mashup episode, Katherine Boiciuc, Thimon De Jong, Jamais Cascio, Shivani Gopal and Aarathi Krishnan share their inspiring insights on the society we are all striving to create.

From an economic reckoning, to a leadership shift and people born after the turn of the millennium, these thought leaders are making us believe the future is bright.

Once you’ve watched this episode, please share your takeaways with us in the comments section. We’d ove to hear what is giving you hope for a positive future. 

Learning about the future: How can science fiction influence the future? Part 1

Science fiction has influenced society significantly. It has probably also inspired many consumers to pursue careers in science and technology, which might explain why so many societal advancements – like AI, mobile phones, Bluetooth and the Internet to name a small few – are a reality today. Creators of science fiction look closely at the world around them and imagine a path forward.

Some are hopeful. Others are dystopian. Many feel completely far-fetched. Of course, to people born 200 years ago, most modern technology would feel like magic, which means we probably shouldn’t write off anything these days.

Science fiction is no doubt brimming with possibilities, but can it truly influence the future? Probably more than any other genre, science fiction is developed with a purpose in mind: to either propel humanity forward, or caution us against a high-tech world of horrors.

So, which pieces should we pay close attention to? In this latest episode of Futurists World, Shivani Gopal, Dr Robert Puff and Dr Rob Grenfell reveal the screen sensations that stayed with them well after the credits rolled.

From the Terminator series to a Meryl Streep fantasy, watch on and discover the pop culture favourites that these thought-leaders think envision a futurists world. This is part one in a three part series

Learning about the future: How can science fiction influence the future?  Part 2 

From video calls to smart homes, space travel to virtual reality, many technologies we take for granted today were once dreamed up by science fiction writers.

Artists like Arthur C Clarke, Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov imaged a future world with impressive skill – even if they weren’t completely sure how to turn their ideas into reality.

Perhaps the most important thing science fiction creators have given us is a true sense of wonder for the world around us. In fact, they probably do something far better than predict the future – they influence it. They allow audiences to examine society and its expected norms. Not just technology, but everything from gender to education and even physics.

In part two of our series uncovering science fiction’s influence on the future, Jack Delosa, Aarathi Krishnan, Thimon de Jong and James Beacham share a few of their favourite sci fi films and tv shows with Mike Hill.

One guest calls on the classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Another looks to the recent adaption of Black Panther. And Jack Delosa wants to create something entirely new.

This is part two in a three part series.

Learning about the future: How can science fiction influence the future?  Part 3

Can sci-fi really influence the future? This is something we’ve been thinking a lot about lately. So much so that we dedicated three episodes of Futurists World to the concept.

We are part of a society that is becoming increasingly tech-centric and fanatical day by day. Maybe you’re wondering if we’re actually living in a science fiction story.

Or, given we walk around with computers in our pockets, activity trackers on our wrists and wireless speakers in our ears, you might be considering if there is even a place for science fiction in a modern world.

Well, the Futurists World team thinks so. And so do many of the guests interviewed for the series.

Science fiction questions what could happen next – or, arguably, what will happen next. It asks us to contemplate the consequences of our actions as we step closer towards a ‘futurists world’.

It is bursting with promise but at the same time full of warnings – and in many ways, lays a clear foundation for growth. In this final part on our science fiction special, Gerd Leonhard, Katherine Boiciuc, Narjis Hilale and Mark Boughey share the sci-fi stories that they think have influenced society.

There are classics including The Jetsons and Dr Who, plus contemporary favourites such as Her and Black Mirror. Watch now and discover what these guests found so informing. 

Before you go, we need to ask you something…

We’re here to make a change, but we need your help.

The purpose of this series is to move humanity forward, think bigger and cast our minds into the future.

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Learning about the future

by | Oct 14, 2020 | Work