Hot Topic: Hotter cities! Plus news from the futurist community

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Volume 8,
Number 8
July 30, 2022

Mack Report: Urban Heat Risks

The heat wave under way in many areas around the world may be hitting urban areas hardest, potentially exposing many more people to heat-related illnesses and death, warns AAI Foresight Managing Principal Tim Mack in his latest article.

“What have been called ‘urban heat islands’ occur when the growth of cities replaces natural land cover with dense concentrations of pavement, buildings, and other surfaces that absorb and retain heat,” Mack writes. “This effect increases energy costs (e.g., for air conditioning), air pollution levels, and heat-related illness and mortality.”

The problem also tends to hit poorer communities harder, due to lack of natural amenities such as trees and parks, as well as lack of mitigating technologies such as insulation and air conditioning.

As the effects of climate change become more apparent, the development of potentially life-saving strategies becomes more urgent, Mack concludes.

ReadUrban Heat Risks” by Timothy C. Mack, Foresight Signals blog (posted July 18, 2022).

In Memoriam: James Lovelock

Independent climate scientist and futurist James Lovelock died July 26, on his 103rd birthday, at his home in Dorset, UK. Renowned for his Gaia hypothesis, Lovelock helped us to see the planet as a living entity, an interconnected network of organisms.

As a futurist, Lovelock warned of the impacts of burning fossil fuels in such books as The Revenge of Gaia (2006). But rather than succumbing to despair for the future, he focused on actions we could take to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

ReadJames Lovelock, creator of Gaia hypothesis, dies on 103rd birthday” by Helena Horton, The Guardian (posted July 27, 2022).

News and Moves in the Field

  • New venture:, co-founded by Stephen Thaler, aims to deploy artificial intelligence to “sniff out” and diagnose cancer with greater than 95% accuracy. Thaler, CEO and chief engineer of Imagination Engines Inc., will serve as AI director at the new enterprise. [Learn more]
  • Education: Register by August 20 to receive a 5% early-bird discount for LBL Strategies’ Mastering Foresight: Scenario Based Planning Bootcamp. The course is eligible for certification from the George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership and is also endorsed by the Baldridge Foundation. Mastering Foresight runs from September 12–16 via Zoom. [Submitted by Robin Champ, LBL Strategies foresight instructor. Learn more]
  • Meeting, October 10–12: The inaugural Dubai Future Forum, hosted by the Dubai Future Foundation, will convene at the Museum of the Future. The Forum “will provide an international platform for futurists and thought leaders, from diverse sectors, to build a long-lasting community by engaging on tomorrow’s most pressing issues.” [Learn more]
  • Meeting, November 12–13: TransVision Madrid 2022 will focus on transhumanism, theory and practice, and will include talks about major transhumanistic issues like the singularity and immortality, There will also be optional tours to UNESCO sites around Madrid during November 10–11. [Submitted by Jose Cordeiro. Learn more]
  • Education: Teach the Future has introduced a course on teaching the future, based on the Futures Thinking Playbook. Peter Bishop taught the pilot Teaching Futures Thinking course in three two-hour classes over three weeks. Those interested in participating the next time the course is offered may click here.
  • New publication: Essays on the Future of Psychology and Consciousness by Tom Lombardo, director of the Center for Future Consciousness, is an anthology spanning 20 years of inquiry, teaching, and writing about human psychology, consciousness, and the future. Independently published and available at [Learn more]

World Building Competition Results

The Future of Life Institute’s Worldbuilding contest to create visions of the year 2045 received 144 entries and named 20 finalists among teams from around the world. The goal was to design “visions of a plausible, aspirational future that includes strong artificial intelligence.”

First prize was awarded to philosopher and engineer Mako Yass of New Zealand, whose “Bridging Demonstration” entry asserts “that it becomes a lot easier to establish the levels of global coordination needed to solve the alignment problem if you can clearly demonstrate the imminent risk of misalignment.”

The team from The Millennium Project—Jose Cordeiro, Jerome Glenn, Theodore Gordon, Elizabeth Florescu, Maria Mateo, and Veronica Agreda—was included among fourth-place winners. Their entry described a world in which “humanity and technology are becoming a continuum of mind and machine.” The video included with TMP’s entry received more than 1,000 visits and 100 likes. [Learn more]

Futurist Journals Roundup

The Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies has launched a new quarterly journal, Farsight. The inaugural issue asks “how will work be done in a future that is more fluid, hybrid and digital than today,” addressing factors ranging from robots and AI to open-concept offices and worker burnout.

Online, the journal features an interview with futurist Brian David Johnson, a professor of practice at Arizona State University, focusing on his science-fiction prototyping methodology for understanding threats such as “dirty bombs and quantum warfare.”

The print edition of Farsight is available as a member benefit and is for sale in the CIFS bookstore and on newsstands.

Also check out:

  • Compass, the quarterly magazine of the Association of Professional Futurists, currently features articles on climate change, plus Richard Slaughter’s reflection on “Deep Time.” Upcoming issues will focus on foresight education, foresight careers, and democracy. The publication is written and edited by and for APF members. [Learn more about APF membership]
  • European Journal of Futures Research’s latest open access articles describe a “radical technology inquirer” methodology, a “co-design” tool for human and non-human collaborations, ways to view the future as an aesthetic experience, and more.
  • Foresight’s latest is a special issue on “Business Disruptions and Innovations beyond COVID-19.”
  • Futures offers previews of papers in press for the September edition, covering such topics as scenario generation, post-Covid-19 scenarios, and the “limits of conceivability in the study of the future.” The editors have called for submissions for the April 2024 issue on reparative futures, due January 15, 2023.
  • The Futurian, an online journal edited by Stephen Aguilar-Millan, has posted its sixth number on the Medium platform. The issue looks at the impacts of digital technologies on the battlefield, in space, and in the workplace. The next issue, to be published late September 2022, will look at the future of the USA, “just in time for the mid-term elections.”
  • Futuribles Journal’s July/August issue looks at the French health system, the housing and building industry, and prospects for productivity after the pandemic and war in Ukraine.
  • Human Futures is published three times a year by the World Futures Studies Federation (look for the August issue soon). Published on the ISSUU e-publishing platform, the journal may be viewed online or downloaded in its entirety.
  • Journal of Future Studies’ June issue includes papers by Maree Conway, Puruesh Chaudhary, and Nicholas Marsh, among others.
  • Technological Forecasting and Social Change offers previews of its September and October issues in progress, with open access for many papers. The editors have put out a call for papers on “Tech-Based Business Scaling,” with a September 15 deadline to submit an extended abstract. Selected papers will be presented at a workshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in May 2023, and published in early 2024.
  • World Futures Review has posted “The World Future Day Method: A 24-hour Round-The-World Global Discussion” by Mara Di Berardo, PhD, an assessment of the March 1, 2021, event hosted by The Millennium Project.

Signal Thoughts

“It is preposterous to suppose that the people of one generation can lay down the best and only rules of government for all who are to come after them, and under unforeseen contingencies.”
Ulysses S. Grant, The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, 1885–86