Thomas Frey

Demonstrating Futurist Thinking

with Thomas Frey

Demonstrating Futurist Thinking

with Thomas Frey

Thomas Frey

Thomas Frey is who you will undoubtedly find when you do a Google search on “futurist speaker”. Having shared the stage with many A-listers, Frey has earned that moniker. But his true skill demonstrated repeatedly in this week’s episode is taking an event or innovation and the extrapolating the future. In this episode we see him do that in real time. It’s a unique glimpse into the futurist process.  @thomasfrey

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DNA seen through the eyes of a coder , The language of DNA is digital, but not binary. Where binary encoding has 0 and 1 to work with (2 – hence the ‘bi’nary), DNA has 4 positions, T, C, G and A. Whereas a digital byte is mostly 8 binary digits, a DNA ‘byte’ (called a ‘codon’) has three digits.

2022 Book co written with Amy Webb – The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology Synthetic biology will revolutionize how we define family, how we identify disease and treat aging, where we make our homes, and how we nourish ourselves. This fast-growing field—which uses computers to modify or rewrite genetic code—has created revolutionary, groundbreaking solutions such as the mRNA COVID vaccines, IVF, and lab-grown hamburger that tastes like the real thing. It gives us options to deal with existential threats: climate change, food insecurity, and access to fuel. But there are significant risks.

History of mRNA vaccines

CRISPR gene editing  is a genetic engineering technique in molecular biology by which the genomes of living organisms may be modified.

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Gene therapy is a medical field which focuses on the genetic modification of cells to produce a therapeutic effect[1] or the treatment of disease by repairing or reconstructing defective genetic material.

Genome engineering, or gene editing, is a type of genetic engineering in which DNA is inserted, deleted, modified or replaced in the genome of a living organism. Unlike early genetic engineering techniques that randomly inserts genetic material into a host genome, genome editing targets the insertions to site specific locations.

Virotherapy is a treatment using biotechnology to convert viruses into therapeutic agents by reprogramming viruses to treat diseases. 

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YouTube Chapters are created in YT and the link to them can be found in the YT description of each episode video and then pasted in here 


See example from  episode 3 below

02:02 Where did the term Super Forecasting come from

04:00 Why weren’t the intelligence community able to foresee 911

04:25 Who is Prof Philip Tetlock Author of expert political judgment

05:45 What is the good Judgement Project

06:11  Why can experts be bad at predicting the future

07:04 What makes a good futurists or Super Forecaster

10:21 Understanding human behaviour when making predictions

10:44 Hybrid decision making withs human and artificial intelligence

12:32 The importance of historical base rates for forecasting 

16:15 Why temporal scope is critical to forecasting

20:22 Forecasting starts with systemic inductive reasoning

25:00 Expertise can lead to blindspots when forecasting

25:44 Why do experts get things so wrong 

this week on the futurists Thomas Frye when I was a kid growing up I would see the cover of Popular Science magazine the stuff coming out of bell lab and the future was fun I couldn’t wait for the future to happen

welcome back to the futurists of course I’m your host Brett King with Rob turcek in the hot seat with me this week we have a wonderful guest Thomas Frye he’s currently one of Google’s top rated future speakers award-winning engineer from IBM he’s the founder and executive director of The Da Vinci Institute prolific speaker he started 17 businesses himself and insisted in the development of hundreds more he was an engineer for IBM for over a decade he’s on the celebrity speaking circuit he shared the stage with Rudy Giuliani Tom Peters Jack Walsh um his clients include NASA IBM Lucent Technologies Boeing Capital One Visa for the motor company and so forth and he’s been interviewed um pretty much anywhere you read a daily newspaper Thomas Frey welcome to the show yeah thanks for having me on no worries listen uh Thomas we do this little thing before we get started normally on the interview we just cover off a few worthy news items that caught our eye that it’s Fuji focused so um Rob what did you uh find this week there’s a couple developments we’re keeping track of uh and and these are topics that seem to keep coming up on the futurists and no doubt we’ll continue to return to them in the future uh the first item is um a lot of folks may have the impression that nfts have gone away with the Meltdown in cryptocurrency prices that started in the beginning of this year but that’s not the case it’s actually a lot of lively development happening in the world of non-fungible tokens and one news item that popped up this week is that meta is now going to support uh the trading and sharing of uh nfts across Instagram and Facebook that means you can link your crypto wallets from a number of different providers uh with your uh with your social media accounts and trade there this is not Facebook’s first foray into cryptocurrency uh they famously were behind a couple of initiatives to develop their own cryptocurrency but which they eventually abandoned but it’s quite obvious that Facebook sees some future use for nfts inside of the metaverse and this is a step toward that so we’ll keep track of that Trend uh the other thing that I’ve been paying attention to that will probably return to in the future episode is the impact of tick tock on social media and it’s an impact that’s Rippling across all of New Media so even streaming media companies like Netflix are now getting affected by Tick Tock there’s a rising generation uh that prefers Tick Tock to any other streaming platform usually Tick Tock is left out of any kind of ranking or survey of the leading companies in streaming media I always think that’s a mistake because there’s a big group that’s watching Tick Tock but now we’re gradually starting to see the algorithmic feed that Tick Tock innovated being replicated on Facebook and other social platforms like Snap and the news this week is that Google is not immune to this trend one of the things I’ve noticed in a previous episode is how little Google’s interface and frankly Amazon’s interface have changed in the last 20 years there’s still very much text-based and rectangular and so forth uh well it turns out that a rectangular layout that page-based layouts of text links that you get back from a Google search isn’t going to work for The Tick Tock generation and so watch your watch your Google results in the future you’ll see them responding to Tick Tock by integrating more media and more visuals into this search returns at those are that’s it for me this week yeah I saw uh you know of course uh Tesla did their uh Optimus uh um robot video um they’re not as advanced as say the work that we had with um you know our friend Dr Harry kluer who came on with their tele operated right but that but they’ve made some fairly uh rapid progress um having said that um you know I wouldn’t say it’s differentiated from the whole Boston Dynamic stuff that we’ve seen over the last few years so yeah it’s true I think Elon Musk because he’ll openly praised uh you know Boston Dynamics um so at some point we need to get either one of those folks could come back on the show or folks from Boston Dynamics to talk a bit about that Trend yeah he did have a funny quote about uh the atlas robot that you know the primary Boston Dynamics when it was doing some like you know the parkour calisthenics stuff he said in a few years you’re going to need a strobe light to see them move so I thought that was a good uh a good quote Thomas um you’ve been in the futurist game for quite a while you’ve started obviously as an engineer but let me ask you this question to get us kicked off if I can what was the first moment you knew you wanted to be a futurist oh you knew that the future wanted to you wanted to make that your life

yeah I actually started the da Vinci Institute back in 97. um but it was a few years before then um I didn’t really uh know what a futurist was what they did and I mean it’s it’s really kind of a profession where you kind of make up the rules as you go along uh there’s we’ve we’ve added a lot more science behind the thinking since I first got started but yeah even today though there’s even though a lot of people call themselves a futurist there’s very few people that make a full-time living as a futurist so it’s um it requires uh get lots of dedication and you need to be able to validate your thinking in uh in lots of interesting ways now you started obviously as an engineer um so um you know what aspect of this was you know your love for technology the the nature the the um you know exponential Natures of technologies that we we see and and just trying to extrapolate that from a training perspective versus you know what we see a lot when we talk to futurists on this show is you know um you know as great a Great expressed really well by Zoltan istevan we had on on the transhumana side recently which is futurists are trying to ha in a hurry to get to the future you know um so how much of it is the technology piece of it versus that desire to advance Humanity well you know when I was a kid growing up uh I would see the cover of Popular Science magazine the stuff coming out of bell lab and the future was fun I couldn’t wait for the future to happen now if you ask the average kid on the street uh what they think about the future it’s uh it’s more famine and disease more uh more Wars more things going wrong and the news media has really done kind of a hack job on the future so I think part of my job as a future is just to make the future fun again optimistic okay let me go a little bit further into that so I’m going to follow up on it it’s an interesting point um this topic has come up in the past uh utopian Futures versus dystopian Futures certainly Hollywood has uh it’s it’s it’s share to answer for in terms of portraying a dystopian future we get that image a lot in movies right right um but how much do you think that the general population um kind of the general perspective of the future how much do you think that’s a reflection of current circumstances you know in other words in an earlier era where there was a lot of widespread Prosperity let’s say the 60s and 70s people had kind of a positive view of the future that sort of Jetson’s view of the future was very popular um today we have income inequality there’s war there’s famine there seems to be a general breakdown of Institutions International and National institutions how much do you think people’s view of the future is influenced by current circumstances well I think it’s V I think it’s definitely influenced by the headlines and and you get much better click bait if you have a negative headline yeah uh I think that’s that’s problematic in a lot of ways um I I don’t think the future is going to be nearly as good as some people are predicting or near nearly as bad as other people are predicting I don’t believe in the dystopian side of things or the utopian side of things it’s somewhere in the middle um but at times it can kind of go off onto extremes but um I I think we have a rich future ahead and uh just filled with unbelievable possibilities I think this is an amazing time to be alive

why do you think that what makes you feel like this is this particular moment is so great um because you know as as the internet has come along it’s increased our awareness of the world around us and and that has given us insights and pers uh changed our perspective and unique in different ways uh right now I can I can easily scan through as many as a thousand headlines in a day and I I drill down on the things that I find interesting and that simply wasn’t possible even 20 years ago um and with the AI systems that are built in the background it aligns with my interests It lines it up with the things that I’m most interested in so I’m I feel I’m much more empowered than I’ve ever been in the past

this is um there there’s just so so many interesting things happening uh and and then you you find that one little nugget that one thing that kind of comes out of left field and it might be a headline like I came across this headline uh a few days ago that Abra is going to launch the first U.S regulated crypto bank and I find that I know I know I I know um Bill who who’s founded Abra who’s a good guy yeah and and then you start you see that headline and then you start drilling down on the possibilities of that okay how does that change things well it enables the the kind of the integration of lots of different cryptocurrencies into the banking system um it doesn’t offer any FDIC Insurance on cryptocurrencies because it’s not really a currency yet um if you can load these things onto a credit card what can you do with it and is there ways of actually gamifying cryptocurrency in a way that it suddenly becomes normal it feels um it feels like normal everyday life like accumulating frequent flyer miles um you spend extra money on this credit card then you get extra frequent flyer miles um Can Can we integrate things in a way where the average person on the street is is using currencies uh on day-to-day life and then you can work your way through these series of questions and that’s that’s one of the techniques I use um in the futureing world is what I call question mapping um it’s a technique where you start with the the first question which you don’t know how to solve and then you start asking a series of more and more specific questions surrounding it uh you asked the who what when where how and why questions that naturally come along with it and then you you ask well what came before and what came after and then you start seeing a series of other questions that will start cropping up around all that and that question mapping technique is really I think such a fascinating way of of getting to an answer it may not be a complete answer but getting far closer to the answer than you ever were in the past it’s true in a way you’re just doing that you’re giving us a little demo of that you start started out with the fact that Abra is launching a or are you proposing the launch a crypto Bank okay so there’s a fact and then you start to apply some imaginative thinking you know you sort of pitch some scenarios to us well what might happen if that occurs what might the impact be on banking what might the impact be on other cryptocurrencies and so forth um I think that that’s a really good example of your Technique would you describe it as is that what you do as a futurist is that how you operate you start out with a big question and then you they break it down into a series of smaller questions or provable statements well that that’s one of the techniques we’ve got um a little over a dozen techniques that we’ve developed over the years we’ve put together our course this is our project during covid we put together a course called future like a boss uh so anybody who’s interested in this we haven’t we haven’t uh released it just yet but very soon so if you want to get on the mailing list it’s future future and you can get on the mailing list we’ll let you know when it’s coming out we’ve got a textbook that goes along with 14 video courses and um and it goes into all of these techniques that I’ve developed myself uh that are most of them are different techniques than anybody else is using um and it it helps put what I refer to as Anchor Point in the future that we can kind of uh build build scenarios around those um so they like major inflection points so major Milestone so yeah but let’s let’s take uh this technique I call firsts um so whatever whenever a new technology comes out um let’s just take the space hotel as an example um who’s going to be the first to launch a space Hotel who’s going to be the first people that are on that space Hotel who’s gonna um be the ones that cook the first food for a space Hotel um and and then you see you start looking at all of the things surrounding um who’s going to be the first paid guest at a space Hotel who’s going to be the first entertainment at a space hotel in invariably these are all things that are are very high probability items that we we can refer to as anchors in the future we can we can then start building uh scenarios around and and I find that to be such a fan take um and we can do that with with virtually any emerging technology because there’s always people that want to go first that’s part

I find it interesting because you sort of describe the future I find I mean the process I find myself going through whenever I read a news item on a and and you know a new piece of tech or some announcement like that I’m always extrapolating where’s this going to take us and I think that’s the futurist mindset yeah right is that you you you you know that you’re always thinking about where where does that go and I think that that’s the element that if you could bottle that or train people to do that then everyone can be a lot more optimistic but it also means that people are um you know you you we get so short-termism don’t we as humans you know we’re so focused on on the next quarter or the next year or the next election and um when you know if we were more ambitious um you know I think it would just do Humanity a a much greater service yeah so we’re very cautious about using imagination or applying imagination uh you know just last week we had an interview with uh Elena Hilton from Finland who is a well-known futurist in Europe and and she defined uh futuring as facts plus imagination and I was really happy she did that because candidly in the business world people are very averse to using words like creativity and imagine we like matcha words like you know Innovation and Ingenuity but we’re a little bit afraid of the word imagination um but what you just described actually is an incredibly useful skill so for the people listening what Thomas just described uh that idea of asking a series of questions and envisioning possibilities that can be used right now today in product two of the companies they’re doing product development focus on a capability uh maybe some new technology that they’ve introduced and they want to apply it but they fail in constant in building a good concept of how’s the consumer going to use this uh when I work with a company like that what I try to do is get them to think like how we present it where will it be sold what will the package look like what would be priced like who’s the customer where are they going to put in a shopping cart or is it something you’re going to get as a service how do they find out how do they buy it how do they pay for it how do they use it and you know some of these questions are really really basic but it’s similar to what you’re describing Thomas in the sense that you’re causing people to think vividly and imaginatively about the scenario in which that thing is actually going to be a reality and if you can Envision it then you can build it Let’s uh let’s use an example you brought up earlier Boston Dynamics and their their robot dog and you start going through the scenario of okay what what kind of capabilities does a robot dog have why would I as the consumer want a robot dog and uh and and you start thinking about well dogs are for protection and what kind of things is it protecting us from and so you think about does the robot dog have the ability to sense danger okay well what kind of danger is a danger from humans Danger from animals Danger from weather if some disease is floating through the air or because is it going to detect that if there’s some radio wave that’s coming through that’s uh you know gonna that I’m gonna run into somehow is going to protect me from that and then then you start going through these other questions like why a dog what do I want to be able to talk back and forth to this dog and and if I have a robot dog do I take it everywhere I go does it go on the plane playing with me do I have it in a house if I have a robot dog in a house is that make the house more valuable and and then you just start going through the decision if I have a robot dog that runs into another robot dog what uh what will it do and Canada can the robot dog fights now yeah can the Robot Dog be turned to an offensive mode I mean can you uh uh make it lethal and does does right bear arms give us to own a robot dog that’s armed yeah laser turrets yeah yeah so so then then that starts opening up your thinking just by asking those serious questions um from from an engineering standpoint can you think of any times in particular you’ve really helped organizations change course or you’ve helped a product um design go in a different direction because of this type of thinking I’m just curious I mean um yeah we well I’ll uh I’m I’m working as an advisor for a project in in South Korea where they’re trying to build a theme park based on future jobs and it’s quite the Innovative project and um and so and not only you have to come up with what what these future jobs are you have to figure out okay how do we build an exhibit around it how can somebody participate in a way that makes interesting uh how can somebody get a sense as to what the work life is going to be like in the future with this particular uh and what skills are you going to need moving forward so it opens up lots of other uh things that I find fascinating interesting that’s cool let’s just well we’re about to hit the break but before we do that Thomas we like to do this quick fire around just ask you a few few questions and uh just uh you know just um free form it so what was the first science fiction you remember being exposed to on Via you know via TV or books oh probably a James Bond movie uh when I was I don’t know 12 or so

um name a futurist that has influenced you and why

um well certainly in Leonardo da Vinci but um uh I I love the work of Philip K dick I mean he was very very influential uh I mean he lived back in the 1950s but it was all of his thinking surrounded time travel or time thinking uh in some respect absolutely um this is a bit of a tougher one what do you think is the best prediction a futurist or a Sci-Fi practitioner has ever made um

yeah that’s a tough one well um Elon Musk says that uh you know and I I actually said this before he did but the human race cannot survive if all humans only live on one planet yeah um I think and some some of the the talks I do ask this question do we live on an overpopulated planet or an underpopulated universe and it’s actually the same question from a little different perspective very good and what science fiction story is most representative of the future you hope for

uh one one of my favorite uh science fiction movies is the movie Next starring Nicholas Cage uh I don’t know it’s just I think it’s extremely well done yeah you like to have that few minutes of insight you know yeah um so you can change uh calibrate them in advance yeah they’re pretty interesting all right great well listen let’s take a quick break you’re listening to the futurists I know Sprint King with Rob turc and our guest is Thomas Frey this week we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors

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welcome back you’re listening to the futurists I’m Rob turcic with my co-host Brett King and this week Our Guest is Thomas Frey Thomas thanks for joining us on the show we’ve had a lively conversation so far now let’s start to think a little bit more about the future and and frankly what I want to understand are what are the constraints on the future some folks when they hear that we’re doing this program they say oh futurist you guys just think everything goes it’s open-ended uh any kind of crazy scenario is possible and I say no no that’s not true there’s actually hard limits there’s constraints that we know about and within those boundaries that’s where the future is going to unfold can you just talk a little bit about that tell me a little bit about your perspective on the constraints that determine the course of the future yeah I I heard about a famous uh physicist one time and I was asking this question he said um a thousand years from now what things will be possible and what things will not and um and I thought that that was such a telling question because the um because we don’t know what the the hard limits are on the the physical science I mean uh at what point can we actually see what the ultimate tiny particle is is there something smaller than quirks and uh and neutrinos is there is there something bigger than the universe and so we don’t we don’t quite understand where the the hard limits are I I actually had a an architect explain this to me one time he was he was in the process of building a dome house and he says when you’re when you’re working with the Dome housed he says domes are actually an optical illusion because whenever you enter a room your eyes inadvertently go up to the corners of the room so you understand the space that you’re you’re in and the same as if you’re on the outside you look at the corners of the house and you get some estimate as to how big it is he says a dome house is actually when you view it from the outside it actually looks smaller than it actually is and when you go out to the inside it actually as much feels much bigger than it actually is because you can’t see the corners of the room and that idea of of going for the corners of the room it has always struck me as such an interesting concept because we’re always trying to find the boundaries of of what uh what what the limits are and that we’re able to think in and uh that opens opens a lot of doors because see we’re we’re a very backward looking Society yeah we’re back we’re backward looking because it’s just human nature see we we’ve all personally experienced the past as we look around us we see evidence of the past all around us in fact all information that we can come into contact with is essentially history so the past becomes very Noble and yet we’re going to be spending the rest of our lives in the future so it’s almost as if we’re walking backwards into the future so my job as a futurist is to help turn people around to give them some idea what the future might hold and so that’s where I spent a lot of time uh working on that and and then when you start asking the question well where does the Future come from where how does the future get created well we all participate in creating the future but we actually our ideas about the future I I use this phrase quite a bit the future creates the present which is just the opposite of what most people think most people think that what we’re doing today is going to create the future but from a little different perspective it sees image of the future that we hold in our heads determine our actions today yes I know yeah so if we change somebody’s vision of the future we change the way they make decisions today and so I use this as my justification for um for everything that I do because invariably when I give a presentation when I give a talk people are going to walk out of the room making different decisions and some of those decisions could be worth billions of dollars and so that’s that’s how I that’s how I justify what I do okay this is really powerful stuff let me recap make sure we’re on the right track and for the benefit of the listeners uh you really raised two points just now one is that we’re we’re kind of doomed to sleepwalk into the future because we’re mesmerized by our past we all understand the past we’ve all lived with the past we grew up with it its Legacy is all around us so we’re sort of conditioned to think about the past and I guess the Gap that people fall into the Trap they fall into is um linear extrapolation from known things in the past we try to extrapolate that into the future and everybody knows that doesn’t work because the future doesn’t unfold in a straight line there’s always different forces that affect it so that’s a kind of blind spot um and then what you’re seeking to do in your talks is to kind of get people to turn their Vision towards the future so that they can make different decisions today so that they can understand that the future that we aspire to or the future we vision is something you can direct action towards you can make decisions right now they’re going to cause that future to unfold did I get it right is that a reasonable summary of what you just said right right yeah and then you I I mean um does this make you more optimistic do you think as a person you know having this type of viewpoint yeah it it’s a stepping stone to other other kinds of thinking you know the the future is far more predictable than most people think that I can make I can make quite a few predictions a high probability predictions like like the room that you’re in today is still going to be around six months from now I can make um I can make that prediction with a high degree of probability that the Earth’s gonna travel around the Sun in roughly the same orbit 100 years from now again a high degree of probability uh that we’re gonna 50 years from now we’re still going to have the seasoned summer winter spring and fall uh even that if I put a handful of seats in the ground that a certain percentage of them are going to Spring to life all of these things can happen with a high degree of probability and in fact we have so many slow stable moving parts to our future that we can plan a birthday party two weeks from now and have enough stable elements surrounding it that we can we can actually anticipated being able to pull that off with a high degree of probability um and and so the the biggest things that are uh most of our futures built around this stable of slow-moving elements um the the biggest changes happen with animals and nature and people and uh and weather and things like that so uh to the degree that we can get better at anticipating uh those variables uh that gives us a massive Edge in in the business world I think the science fiction writer Charlie Strauss is the one who said um most of the future is already here and his point was you know the streets that we drive on the cities that we fly into where the airports are located and that stuff’s not going to change in a long time because structurally there’s a lot of development around it there’s a lot of architecture and real estate that’s been developed around it and so uh it’s going to be very very difficult to change it very unlikely barring some you know catastrophic climate change incident it’s unlikely that the geography of the planet is going to change um now let’s talk about some things that might change because there’s a lot of speculation that our hyper-connected global trading system is under um is in the advanced stage of Decay or trouble or trauma right now starting with the pandemic but now because of global tensions uh war and so forth looks like the supply chain is being reconsidered uh so here is probably the most complicated thing humans have ever created this interconnected trading network uh that involves manufacturing and develops distribution Transportation communication like just generally all the technologies that humans have developed are integrated into the supply chain to ensure that with a reasonable degree of likelihood there’s going to be uh you know a package of diapers or a package of coffee on the Shelf of the grocery store when you go over there next week you know you can kind of reliably depend on that although in the last few years it’s been a little bit less reliable uh so now we’re in the radical rethink mode uh you see this with computer manufacturers any company that depends on semiconductors is now radically rethinking uh where they where they source that Supply um tell us a little bit about changes to the the existing world they’re going to affect the future because I’m quite interested in this Theory this so it’s about seven or eight years ago I gave a talk for the uh Turkish post and that’s the postal system in turkey and they every every year they pull together all the postal systems from around the world and uh and they did do this kind of best practices Symposium so I gave gave my talk and I started off with this one central question how long before you can mail a package let’s say from Istanbul and it’d end up in San Francisco without ever touching any human hands now I I find this to be quite quite fascinating because when we put information into the the internet the internet routes it around and it comes out over here it’s all done automatically how long before we can put a package into this global system and everything get routed around and it comes out over here without ever touching any human hands and and then I drove dove in and looked at the automated processes that we have in place and there’s there’s always disconnects from one uh one system to another one country to another and um and so nobody had that overarching vision of having an entire supply chain where things would just get routed around automatically um I think it’s important that somebody come up with that type of vision and and then we need somebody who is a Global Systems architect somebody who takes on this Mission this uh this caused and and actually drives it home uh and and I find that to be such an interesting uh the concept right now is in in light of all of the supply chain issues that we went through during covet that we we really need to come up with more automated systems and and and uh and take the human element out of out of the middle of all this true yeah this is a giant project the automation of the supply chain it’s been underway for about 10 years but we’re at least 10 years away from seeing it realize you know there’s so many distributed it’s fully it’s very decentralized there’s no one controlling Authority that runs the supply chain but there’s a lot of systems that need that sort of global design thinking you know I think about Air Traffic Control right um the think about passport and identity management on a global basis um you know medical medical information money laundering um you know management all the systems you’re referring to are highly centralized they’re run by bureaucratic institutions that are highly inflexible that have a really rigid process for change this is where this concept of radical decentralization becomes such an interesting proposition no guarantee it’s going to work better but it applies it posits an alternative to these systems that we kind of take for granted you know Thomas to your point we kind of Sleepwalk or stumble into the future assuming that the banking system we got is the best banking system we can come up with and we therefore can’t contemplate any radical change to it or that the national standards International standards that we have that govern the size and shape of Parts uh that that can’t be reconsidered and can’t move faster well when of course all those things are possible Right with enough willpower political willpower and economic willpower you could rethink it any amazing the banking system doesn’t get me started but you know it still takes you five days to send money from One bank to another in the the US yes we’re getting fed now next year the real-time payment system but anyway so so if if you uh if you think about putting a base on the moon or on Mars virtually all of our standards that we use on Earth start to go away because none of them make sense absolutely suddenly the day night cycles don’t make any sense our measure of hours and minutes still makes sense we have different gravity there so the weights and measurements all start getting messed up and capitalism yeah yeah so why do you why would you need capitalism on the moon and Mars right yeah I always think about the economy of the Starship Enterprise they don’t they don’t spend a lot of time talking about that but it doesn’t make sense and then why why should somebody that lives on the moon be governed by laws on Earth yeah uh that doesn’t make any sense so they’re going to create their own laws well how are they going to be different how do they start from scratch um and it it gets really interesting because all of these things I can see the influence of Philip K dick on your thinking right now because well also this is this is also Kim Stanley Robinson with the Maz Trilogy and stuff like that the interview a fair number of science fiction authors on this show tell tell me a little bit about the influence of Da Vinci because he brought him up a couple times yeah it’s pretty clear you’re influenced by Philip K dick and that’s cool with us but now I want to understand like what is what does Da Vinci represent for you like what what was Da Vinci’s role in history what did he change the first futurist yeah well Da Vinci dedicated over 35 000 words and 500 drawings to the concept of flying at that time nobody but in their right mind was thinking that flying was possible and uh in his mind it was it was entirely possible and it would take another um roughly 300 years before the first taught on flight and 400 years before the Wright brothers um so in my mind this is the the epitome of the true Visionary um and uh and not not that many people like him but um you know it’s it’s kind of interesting when you actually uh look at all of the the pieces that that eventually left all the drawings and all the um the the booklets that he created and um and there’s Silvers over 6 000 items that he left and he said I’m um when he died they all fell into the hands of his his trusted assistant Francisco multi and emulsi kept everything pretty much in place but then when when he passed on it was his children that that um it kind of started tearing things uh apart and and at one point there was a sculpture that got into middle and he started cutting out drawings and putting him with other drawings to uh so it made more sense and then a lot of these codexes the the books ended up traveling around in different different ways and then a lot of them ended up in Napoleon bonaparte’s possession for a while and uh and in the 1960s some of these codexes were were discovered uh the library at the University of Madrid and nobody had a clue what these were and they were down in some basement room collecting dust and and it raises raises the interesting question of how many people like Da Vinci existed that we have absolutely no record of yeah yeah and I find I find out to be the the biggest question of all wow and my guess is there is quite a few of themes or something sure but at a time when written records may have been lost uh you know a lot of people think of Da Vinci as a painter and it’s certainly true you know with the last supper and the Mona Lisa those famous paintings in history of humanity were created by by this incredibly gifted painter he’s almost sculptor he’s also an architect but he’s also an engineer only 17 paintings yeah that’s really remarkable but they’re all masterpieces right um but the uh what a lot of people don’t realize about Da Vinci is that he was a naturalist and a rationalist and most of his work is derived from observe observation yeah very close observation of the way a river would move or you know he was one of the first to detect that we’re currents of air and how do you actually prove that or demonstrate that so he put his mind to thinking that I mean you mentioned a bunch of a a lot of his drawings and um notes uh about Air flight but it’s not fanciful right those are pragmatic that’s the engineering mind well you could even see the the helicopter you can see probably you know the helicopter prototype beef sketched out he probably built a paper model of that beef you know like the the corkscrew thing and you could see it you could see him playing Ram with this this stuff but you’re right um bro you know he a lot of it he observed sorry we got some of the first uh drawings of human anatomy uh because he would he would actually go out in the middle of the night and dig up Graves and carve up people and draw draw pictures so what he’s saying not everybody got to do that naturally they would have been considered grave robbers or something but uh what lesson can our audience take away from Da Vinci certainly you mentioned curiosity the sort of Relentless curiosity and this close observation what are some of the things that might help our audience be more future minded from da Vinci well yeah with with every with every Visionary I mean you have to your product of your time the time and place where you live um so he he had the tools that were available at that time um so he he tried to do uh the sketch of himself and he didn’t use the best material and so it’s very faded and there’s very little little of it left I mean creating creating the Mona Lisa had to have been redone several times um which the Mona Lisa is very likely the most um uh the most expensive painting on the planet right now if somebody is going to Value it um and and the reason for that is because the Mona Lisa actually got stolen uh not that many people realized it but it was stolen in the early 1900s and it was gone for I don’t know 10 12 years something like that and before they recovered it and and so that Drew a lot of attention to the Mona Lisa and um so that was uh ever since ever ever since then people have had a lot of focus on that one that one painting it’s astounding when you go to the Louvre you you walk past you walk down the long hallway and you walk past half a dozen da Vinci paintings that are each a masterpiece no one pays attention to those because there’s a giant line sneaking its way into the chamber where the Mona Lisa is and I was thinking like wait a minute you’re walking right past there’s John the Baptist right there you know yeah yeah

yeah it’s the same in the Sistine Chapel you walk through these these corridors of just endless remarkable artwork everybody wants to see what Michelangelo did um quite quite impressive um so uh can can I ask you then to wrap up because we are running out of time Thomas um we at this part of the show as we we wrap up we want to get a little bit more out there so looking 20 30 50 years into the future um you know as as the futurist you are you know um what what do you look forward to in the future that in terms of advancements um that you know Humanity has the potential to make or you think we need to make you know for the future of humanity that really excites you uh I actually give quite a few talks on this this concept of designer babies uh the in the not too distant future young young ladies that are pregnant will will have the option of going to a geneticist and they’ll have a checklist of different different items that they can incorporate into their unborn child different attributes and and you can do things like hair color and I I color and and the chin shape and ear shape and things like that uh those those are fairly trivial nothing controversial about that no no no but very likely you’ll be able to uh create a child that is super smart super resilient uh super strong uh with the super long lifespan and and so everything about this child ends up you’re giving birth to a super child and a super child grow up to be a superhuman and um and then you start asking um what’s what’s the lifetime value of a superhuman yeah uh is is it possible that the lifetime value of a superhuman is 100x 100 times what the average value of a a person is today and and it’s interesting going down that pathway that scenario because then you start looking at okay if it’s if every superhuman’s worth a billion dollars in in today’s terms to society or 10 billion dollars then countries are going to start wanting to have the most superhumans they start paying women to have children they’ll just put them up in a resort to give them a bonus once the child is born they’ll have nurse Maids they’re helping them through everything and um and then so suddenly women are going to want to start having wow I can have a superhuman uh this becomes a whole different equation and then but not everything about superhumans is going to be uh wonderful because you can also give birth to a super villain and super children growing up are going to throw super tantrums and uh and so they’re going to challenge everything in society then and uh and so so again these questions start opening up I know they’re very tangential every time we ask a question it’s great I love it because this is we as seeing we are seeing the futurist mindset in in execution in real time and that’s what I like about it so yeah uh that’s that’s fantastic Thomas um so uh we’ve heard about the da Vinci Institute um where can people find out more information about the the stuff that you’re doing uh you can go to or go to um uh future like a or uh

um most of the stuff that I’m doing this on those I write a new columnar every week the column that I uh that I just that’ll go up this week will be about where the office came from because where the office came from tells us a lot about what the office of the future is going to look like yeah great oh we could have a whole conversation about that the The Future Has deep roots in the in the past well listen Thomas it’s been phenomenal having you on I uh I I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface hopefully we can get you back on at some future date um you know when you have something important to say please let us know and we’ll uh would definitely love to have you back on okay that’ll be great yeah that’ll be great but thank you for your work in the space and uh um yeah um for showing us uh you know how to think like a futurist all right all right appreciate it thank you now that’s it for the futurist this week if you enjoyed what you heard then please give us a shout out on social media um you know give us a five star rating um you know uh post post the episodes out you know we crossed over 20 000 downloads last month so for a podcast it just started in April that’s phenomenal work and we really appreciate the support but please keep it going and let us know who else you’d like to hear on the futurists now thanks go out to the production team provoked media Kevin herschm lisbe severins uh Sylvie and Carlo on the social media side um and uh the rest of the team there that’s it for uh this week on the futurist be sure to join us next week as we have another renowned futurist join us uh but for now we’ll see you in the future [Music] well that’s it for the futurists this week if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share it with the people in your community and don’t forget to leave us a five star review that really helps other people find the show and you can ping us anytime on Instagram and Twitter at futuristpodcast for the folks that you’d like to see on the show or the questions that you’d like us to ask thanks for joining and as always we’ll see you in the future [Music] thank you