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Home / Resources / News / How do we get back to the future?

How do we get back to the future?

We were at @futureday at Impact Hub Islington to explore how the future is transforming us.

Future Day was organised in cities across the world “about what our cities, politics, technology, economics and our personal lives might look like in 2030 and beyond. In a world where politicians, activists and entrepreneurs often don’t have time to think beyond the issues of the day, Future Day asks us to imagine how today’s trends might translate to the future, and what new trends, challenges and solutions might emerge in their place, in an interactive series of brainstorming and group discussions.

At Future Day, there are no experts. The focus is on exploration, creativity, and intellectual stimulation: to step outside the bounds of what you currently know, to think on what might be. The day will be fun and interactive, with a mix of scene-setting futurist videos, small-group brain storming and big group discussions, around a series of questions relating to activism, religion, energy, development and more.”

At the Future Day in London, there were activists, fundraisers, journalists, researchers, teachers, entrepreneurs and artists from as diverse backgrounds as the Akasha Foundation, Global Poverty Project, Gates Foundation to Institute of Fiscal Studies to us…European Alternatives.

Simon who co-organised the day with Rachel introduced the challenges that face us now that could shape the future of tomorrow.

How will the impacts of climate change could disrupt not just the environment, but the world around us, from creating new forms of conflict and migration?

How we will see increases in our population, in particularly in the proportion of older people? What will be the next frontier for civil rights?

What will be the role of government, of the corporation…and of citizens themselves?

Who’s going to be included in the society of 2040…and who’s going to be left out?

If we look back 20 years, we had the first release of Back to the Future…which itself looked to see what the world would be like in…2015 (just a year away). Back then, we had films mocking the “greed is good” myth which defined Wall Street at the time, we had a war of words between Russia and the US, we had a nuclear catastrophe and Charlie Sheen was a star.

So…some things don’t change that much in thirty years. But it was also a time when people were scared of going into London, let alone Dalston…and preferred to live in the burbs.

Whereas these days, it’s young people who help define consumer trends because they have the highest propensity to spend on products…and have more time to spend shopping, will it be older people who are the “trend influencers”?

If so, given how consumer trends influence social trends – just look at how we use technology affects how we behave – will the behaviours of older people determine how society acts? 

What will the happen to the very old people (85-100)? Will we see a return to multi-generational households like you see on the Indian sub-continent?

On how people will be empowered in 2040, participants observed that it is crises that create vacuums in power which people and new groups can fill. 

We debated whether it’s more important to empower people to be leaders in society or in themselves. It was pointed out that power doesn’t exist within indidividuals, but it exists in relations – Foucault’s notion that “power is everywhere”, it’s an everyday phenomenon.

This then means that if power doesn’t exist in individuals, then should we reframe human rights from its individualist frame to more relational human rights?

When we talk about power, how resilient will people and communities be to the macro changes that occur – from the impacts of climate change to those of migration?

This blog post lists the authors that might inspire you to think about the future – from Gilles Deleuze to Slavoj Zizek via Paul Gilder. And you can also read impressions of the day by @gretarossi13.

With all this mind, how do we plan for the future coming down track?