Finnishing the Future

with Elina Hiltunen

Finnishing the Future

with Elina Hiltunen

In this week’s episode of the Futurists, top-ranked Female Futurist (Forbes), science fiction author and TV presenter Elina Hiltunen joins us to talk her unique brand of futurism from Finland. Elina takes us through some of her more concerning forecasts on potential climate collapse, and the role that futurists have to play in setting policy responses, galvanizing public opinion, and helping us navigate the unknowns of the future.  Follow @elinafuturist

Breaking Banks
Hosted By Brett King, Jason Henrichs, & JP Nicols
The #1 global fintech radio show and podcast. Every week we explore the personalities, startups, innovators, and industry players driving disruption in financial services; from Incumbents to unicorns, and from the latest cutting edge technology to the people who are using it to help to create a more innovative, inclusive and healthy financial future.

foreign [Music] I’m very scared of the future when it comes to the climate change [Music] well welcome back to the futurists I’m Rob tercick your co-host of the futurists and each week on this show we interview somebody who is designing planning and inventing the future and just before we get to this week’s guest I want to have let my colleague and co-host Brett King do a survey some of the recent developments on the Forefront of the future so over to you Brett give us a quick wrap up thanks man well um you know there’s uh there’s this continued debate of course in the community writ large the scientific Community about what affect artificial intelligence is going to have on society those like Ray kurzwell and Peter diamandis think artificial intelligence is going to create this world of abundance but we’ve had people like Stephen Hawking in Elon Musk frame their concerns about this so the question is what do AI researchers and scientists think about the potential upside versus downside of artificial intelligence well a recent survey of AI researchers around the world agree that AI decision making could cause catastrophic outcomes what percentage about 36 of AI researchers think like that so this really tells us we need a plan in terms of how we should be integrating artificial intelligence into our society and and as we’ve discussed numerous times on the show it probably starts with ethics secondly um you know I wanted to talk about the fact that there is a lot of activity with NASA going on at the moment they’re about to try uh um deflecting an asteroid by crashing in a spacecraft into an asteroid um parts will go wrong with that yeah yeah exactly but this asteroid is is not going to pass anywhere near Earth it’s it’s you know it’s closest distance is about seven million kilometers from Earth so uh um you know we’ll see um where that happens and of course we just saw uh the James Webb Space Telescope um uh release photos of Neptune with its ring system which is is pretty uh pretty cool but um the last one I’ll leave you with is uh in terms of self-driving Tech um Volvo has introduced their new electric car and it won’t let you drive if it detects your drunk so um you know this is some of the Tech that I think is going to be a stop gap before we get to full autonomous cars maybe you come in that sideways that way you know one step at a time well thanks for that quick Roundup Brett this week’s guest is coming to us from Finland uh where she’s the author of a number of books and the CEO of what’s next Consulting so Brett let’s welcome Elena Hilton in to the futurist thank you very much thank you happy to be here great to have you with us thank you for joining us so it is a it is a Finnish future futurist ever finished sorry um that’s a bad that’s a badge no that was almost a joke yeah yeah almost a joke welcome to the show yeah thank you very much we’d love to have guests join us from other places because uh you know the old adage goes uh the future is already here it’s just unevenly distributed and in some ways Finland is um living in a future that it certainly wouldn’t have chosen uh circumstances beyond your control or started dictating what happens around your borders uh and even kind of a significant change to your borders can you give us a quick quick view of what’s happening right now that’s going to shape the future for Finland well we are trying to join NATO and and I I think that this is we are on the way to Nato and and people are very happy about that here in Finland um and uh but still when we think about Finnish military we have been prepared for Russia for decades because we have had our two Wars with Russell in 1940s so since that of course we have noticed that we have a challenge with our eastern border so we have been prepared for that always all the time and um we have had this threat and Finnish military is there and

we have this people are very happy to defend their country here in Finland when there have been some research studies about how willing people are to defend their countries Finland is in the top so we are very happy historically Finland has been stuck between two difficult neighbors right between Russia of course and and centuries of Domination by the Russian Empire but also there’s a period of time where Sweden your neighbor on the other side also accommodated to live in that neighborhood well we are very good friends with Swedish people and Sweden so for example when it comes to the military we are doing a cooperation and I I think the uh Baltic Sea is the most important thing here in when we think about the defense of Finland it’s not necessarily the Border but Baltic Sea yeah yeah the the other element of this is like um I I’ve noticed in a lot of your writing Alina you talk about um climate as a key element of defense strategy you know um in the United States where Rob and I are today of course um you know the U.S defense department was quite vocal in terms of climate risk dismissing the the climate denial um you know for for um well a couple of decades now really identifying it as a key strategic risk um for the United States and Counting as a defense uh you know as part of their defense strategy so why does climate align with defense you know as a sort of a natural thing these days we see when it’s talked about yes it’s not only the climate change that is causing threats and and uh something to think for armies uh it’s also the uh biodiversity loss of biodiversity today that is problematic and these are the two things that are really causing problems all around the world and if we think for example climate change is it’s causing uh the rise of the sea level which is meaning that many of the cities are located next to the Sea and then there is going to be more and more climate refugees and this is causing um security challenges for many countries and of course there might be Wars over fresh water for example and if you think that people are going to lack foods like uh Water Press water so what this is something that is causing uh security threats really big security threats and this is actually something as a futurist when I’m talking about the future of whatever future of Health future of uh traveling future of logistics future of technology digitalization I always start my speech about climate change and biodiversity loss because they are the biggest threats of the humankind and well the thing thing is the planet is planets is surviving without human beings but we are not surviving without the planet that’s right that’s a good point the planet will carry on yeah you know there may be different life forms here even if we end up killing ourselves how does climate change affect Finland in in your particular region is that um how does it manifest in in the North well actually uh Finland is one of the places that climate change is affecting very much and and the average temperature has been rising uh twice four times more than uh the average temperature all around the world so the temperature is rising here and I live in the southern part of Finland and the challenge here is that we used well we used to have beautiful white winter time winter times and now it’s totally black because we don’t have the sun here yeah it’s it’s really it’s really dark here and and usually we had the white snow but not anymore we have a couple of months maybe the snow here in southern part of Finland but when I was a child it used to be the from November to March we have the snow here but now it’s maybe uh January February and that’s it and it has really affected and it’s affecting in many level one of the examples I’m saying to my customers about climate change is usually we think about the the uh extreme weathers and and um melting of glazeries and these kind of things and which is happening and which are very big things but uh once I was going to one of my um speaking gigs and I was waiting in the uh railway station and I was looking at the lead display very big display and it was actually broken and then there was a sign in the uh let display that’s because of the summer uh the last summer was the hottest summer since 1937 this late display was uh like broken because of the Heat and this is something I’m saying to my class customers think about this these are the big small things that are really affecting to your own uh business environment and what are they and these can be really big things for you and it’s not the climate change that it’s this only these big extreme weather and Rise of the average temperature it’s the small things that are going to affect every organization and that’s certainly true the words changing in incremental ways but they add up to big changes eventually definitely yeah what kinds of companies do you typically provide advice to uh well they are from different Industries and different areas and they are like government institutes and um like um really like companies and maybe the biggest companies here in Finland I’ve been visiting every of those and having my lectures and speeches why do they need a futurist what what is the reason for hiring a futurist uh I really hope that they listen to

isn’t only the clown having some entertainment for them I’m actually I’m I’m finding tumorous when I’m having my speeches so I it might be a little bit like combination of stand-up comics plus Futures but but there are actually serious things that we have to consider when we think about the future and and that’s why I a little bit add humor on that because otherwise it would be so sad stories about the future but okay they want to listen uh my viewers of what is happening in the future and this is something that I do I look at information what is happening now and think about how would this be in the future and what are the threats and possibilities and so on so one thing is that I really quote different companies have my Keynotes beaches but then I work with the strategy with many companies and I have my own methods how to do the strategy work with my with my clients and it is very systematic as I I am an engineer from my background so I’m very systematic I’m a like crazy person too very creative but I’m very systematic too so would you say you’re an optimist because most futurists I think are generally optimistic but a lot of stuff we see in depiction of the future is dystopian and so you say pessimistic pessimistic of

what does that mean for the

uh well that makes sense given the times that we’re in that’s probably that sort of describes me and Robert together okay you really have to have the positive somewhere you have to have the hope for the future that I think is very important and uh and that’s why the optimistic but then I see that there are really big challenges that the human kind is facing now so we have to do something and that’s why I won’t shut up when I go to companies I will tell that these are the big really big issues here so do something this is your responsibility too now how do you know that those are big issues the one the point the issues that you’re pointing to how are you so certain that those are the issues that matter uh there’s the one word answer to that science oh so you have a scientific methodology for forecasting no uh no I don’t have one thing is that I don’t forecast the future that is something that I don’t do I don’t forecast the future future uh I anticipate different features and it’s not only one future so it’s not forecasting it’s thinking of different views just my idea here is that we can’t foregass nobody can forecast the future and forecast can actually be quite dangerous because when people hear this Forex some very uh some president is saying that this is happening and everybody is listening to him and and or her and thinking that because he is the president he probably knows that things are going to be that in the future and then we might end up in the situation that people are only seeing this forecast happening and missing all the other signs of the change and then the change can be very surprised for this big companies yes definitely scenario modeling but but uh you’ll be asking that how do I know that these are the big things because uh well I I trust in science I read very much and I know what scientists are talking about the climate change what scientists are talking about the uh biodiversity loss and so that’s why I know that these are the big things what are some what are some good sources of information like where do you find find this stuff that keeps you up to date well I have to have to say that thank you for asking that because I really like information break well uh there are for example uh World Bank uh United Nations State uh United Nations and all the statistics they have for example the estimation of the growth of the world population then one of my favorites is um our world in data these web pages uh and well as you can see I try to seek for statistics of what is happening and then of course I tried to look at all different kind of like uh scientific magazines and nature for example Scientific American and that’s one example and and then of course I read The Finnish uh scientific like popular magazines and these are some of the these sources but but do you have your own framing for this you must take all that information in and then put it into your own context or your own hypothesis right yeah uh yeah well I have my frame in my head so I’m like sucking all the information around the uh like uh from different sources and then I’m organizing that in my head and then I have my ideas of what could happen in the future I’m actually uh I could say that uh when you are asking that do I have some like uh frame or method for the future I have one formula for the future as I am an engineer so it’s it’s very good that um to have everything in formulas for example I have a formula what is life do you want to hear what is the formula sure yeah of course death minus birth

death minus birth so okay okay but probably you want to hear my formula for the future anticipating the future equals facts plus imagination right that’s plus imagination so the idea yeah so the idea is that you really have to look at the facts of today and the history what are happening now and then you add some imagination so that’s why actually I’m a fan of science pixel because in science fiction you trust the facts what is happening in science and then you add the imagination that’s why I write science fiction yeah no I was going to say that because um you know it the science view is obviously very helpful for scenario planning but it’s going beyond that and Imagining the details of the world in those scenarios that science fiction is is very good for so um yeah I think that’s that’s an important element of of of sci-fi and how it sort of reflects our view of the future for sure yeah um uh when when we talk about the science fiction you do what sort of time periods you’re dealing with how far in the future we had Dave had been on recently and of course and Gareth Powell uh was was a guester recently as well and you know they’re talking about thousands of years in the future in in many cases some 10 years and actually I have one uh science fiction book published by my own publishing house and uh the name of the book was on that day uh 2000 X 9. so X nine so I didn’t say which decade it is but some decades in in 2000 so at this point in the show what we’d like to do is ask you sir as a quick questions um and the answers can be very brief uh so Brett how about if you take it away with the lightning round and give us a few quick counts quick questions with short answers okay excellent here we go so Elena what was the first science fiction you remember being exposed to on TV or books

Back to the Future okay cool when did you first realize that the future was what you wanted to base your career on um 25 years ago so what was it that where the penny dropped it’s a long story okay all right cool name a futurist that has influenced you and why

and he was actually uh the opponent of my PSD thesis about wake signals very cool um when you think about different futurists who you’ve been exposed to what’s the best prediction you think a futurist has ever made or the best forecast I think that a good future is don’t do any forecasts you’re the second you’re the second futurist that said that actually we had the um was Brad Templeton wasn’t it yeah it leaves me scratching my head thinking well the futurist are you but I guess it’s the word forecast first it is it’s the prediction of forecast yeah forecast is it predict a prediction yeah and we don’t try to predict we are not a fortune tellers yes we are futurists yeah what science fiction story is most representative of the future you hope for that’s a difficult question I think that my science fiction stories that’s a diplomatic answer and what future technology do you most hope for uh synthetic biology yeah very cool me too well great on that note I think it’s time for us to take a little break uh you’re listening to the futurists and this week Our Guest is Elena hiltonen who’s joining us from Finland stay tuned because we’re gonna be back in just a few minutes [Music] welcome to Breaking Banks the number one Global fintech radio show and podcast I’m Brett King and I’m Jason henricks every week since 2013 we explored the personalities startups innovators and Industry players driving disruption in financial services from incumbents to unicorns and from Cutting Edge technology to the people using it to help create a more Innovative inclusive and healthy financial future I’m JP Nichols and this is breaking Banks


welcome back to the futurist I’m your host Brett King with my good friend Rob turc sitting in the hosting chair and uh before we jump back to Elena Hilton who we’ve been talking to the The Finnish futurist I wanted to do just a quick Deep dive if I could into some of the uh um battery technologies we’re looking at for grid level storage because we’ve got Rama’s Nam coming up in a couple of weeks and and mares is one of the top guys at Singularity talking about energy but with all of the talk about um grid grid failures around the world you know we have Europe Under Pressure because the of the Russia Ukraine situation and the pro the energy situation coming out of Russia with the pipelines and so forth but we also have news of grids under Threat all around the world right now we hear about California’s grid under threat Texas under threat London is uh is potentially having going to have brown outs in London you know during this winter as well as in Australia um you know in the states of Victoria and New South Wales we already see uh um projections of grid failures there similar to what happened in South Australia um a few years ago now in South Australia the solution to this you may remember was a big bet that um Elon Musk made with the South Australian government to help their Grid or strengthen their grid through the use of a Tesla so a battery Farm linked to their solar generation and renewable capability now um Elon Musk made this bet that he would if he could do this within a hundred days I think it was that South Australia would have to pay for him but if he couldn’t get the battery Farm up and running in that period Then he they would get it for free so he he was successful and they did an initial 130 megawatt hour battery farm and have since expanded on that adding another 65 megawatt expansion and they plan to double the size of that battery Farm again in the near term because it’s been so successful this has led to the the grids in New South Wales and Victoria also adopting battery farms in fact one of the world’s largest battery energy storage storage system um powered by Tesla began operating in the state of Victoria back in December of 2021 and it can power or the battery storage is has enough power for more than 650 000 homes for an hour now why this is important is because uh previously what those energy grids would have to do is have online generation capacity built with around gas uh gas-fired turbines to rapidly generate energy in the case of load balancing issues this is what caused the South Australian grid to fail when two tornadoes broke out in South Australia I didn’t even know South Australia had tornadoes and that’s you know that’s there but we see Texas now getting 15 utility scale battery storage sites we see California has launched um a number of battery storage facilities there 2 500 Tesla power walls in a plant to deliver 16.5 megawatts of storage energy and just one on a battery Farm there so the question is what is the Technologies we’re going to use for these types of batteries well this is where it gets really interesting we’re using a Lithium-ion batteries right now but some of the new technologies we’re looking at are not actually based on lithium ion but are based on some much simpler Technologies like the use of salt molten salt and the use of sea water and things like this for much lower cost grid level energy storage but the real change that’s going to be interesting here is that the if we’re looking at renewable resilience for climate proof or future proof energy grids we are going to have to change the way we think about grid design so battery storage isn’t going to be like these massive generation facilities that we have which are centralized on the grid they’re most likely going to be distributed systems where these batteries are stored in multiple locations in cities in homes and so forth to make the grid more resilient it’s a big shift in the way we think about grid design for energy resilience so we’ll see what Mez has to say about that in a few weeks when he’s on the show back over to you rob looking forward to hearing that it’s interesting your your brief report there ties together a bunch of the trends and topics we’ve been talking about on the futurist for many weeks it’s certainly decentralization has been a theme that comes up again and again particularly with regard to web3 but here we’re talking about a kind of decentralized power grid and of course that power grid is necessary because the climate itself is changing and so as the climate changes then the need for energy has also been evolving and so that’s forcing governments around the world to contend with the notion that a new kind of power system is required to deal with a new kind of climate that brings us back to the topic that we’re talking about just before the break with Elena Hilton who’s our guest uh she was telling us a little bit about climate as a major threat something that’s undeniably going to be in the future and it’s going to shape the future and that her clients need to be prepared for let’s return to that topic so welcome back Thanks Elena for waiting for us as we took our break thank you and I was actually listening to this battery story and kind of tell us some little detail please sure yeah in Finland we actually uh starting to create batteries from wood wood Nano cellulose yes yeah actually I didn’t mention graphene because that’s another tech obviously yeah yeah but tell us about Nano cellulose well it’s it is something that we are starting to make this I’m I was just reading one article here that uh we are well I don’t know more about the technology but I know that there are some research and development processes how to make these uh batteries from Nano cellulose and from Woods and because we uh in Finland we are living from the forest so the forest industry is one of the biggest industry here yeah so sure no shortage of wood in Finland that’s for sure true no no not not yet at least yeah so so this is one of the inventions that Finns are doing we have quite nice ideas actually then we made from wood uh from birds actually I think uh this um sugar called sulitol I don’t know if you have heard about this doll yeah uh it’s we call it Xylitol here yeah yeah so we use it’s a phoenix invention and it’s good for your teeth so actually uh in daycare the little kitties are two having the chewing gum solitol to income after every meal so it’s better really sugar yeah yeah that’s good for their teeth that’s cool well it’s smart to use the resources that you’ve got at hand um you know one of the other things one of the other forces that shapes the future is geopolitical attention and of course uh to build the Lithium-ion batteries well those rely on heavily on rare Earths and yeah we all know where rare Earths come from and so these days everyone’s wondering can we be so dependent can we afford to be so dependent on a country that might not be looking out for our best interest in the near future and so that’s forcing countries to consider alternatives whether that’s batteries built with nanocellularis or using things like salt and seawater graphene is actually something that I have been expecting to Boom already when I was writing my book about future of technology and it was published in 2014 I was already writing about possibilities of graphene in the book and yet come on eight years after and and this has happened well this is where I think cabin sequestration is obviously going to lead to more graphene development because it’s the obvious use of the you know Carbon sequestration byproduct is to create graphene batteries and um you know the Buckyballs and all of all of those exotic materials nanotech I heard they were having trouble manufacturing graphene at scale is that correct yeah yeah there’s but there’s a new modified um application graphene with a Y which is a new process they’re working on um so yeah but yeah it is at scale is is the big problem but if we’re going to build a space elevator we need graphene right yeah yes and that’s imminent I’m sure

we might have to wait for a couple of decades or centuries maybe for the space elevator yeah but I’ve been writing about that too so yeah I know what you’re talking about but some of the things in the near future that you were just speaking about a moment ago I think we might want to revisit uh because those seem imminent and very real you talked about climate refugees and you spoke to you spoke about the prospect of a water War a battle over fresh water supplies and while there’s probably an abundance of fresh water in Finland that’s just not true in other parts of the world and so we’re already seeing attention in the Middle East uh problems arising in India you know the the control of the Himalayas is a big issue between India and China because that’s basically the water tower for South and East Asia yes and then the glacier is all melting there and this is causing the challenges well more water at the first but later on there will be big big challenges for this and this summer we saw some of the big rivers in China run nearly dry uh you know water levels were dropping drastically also true in Europe you know the Rhine River and the the sun were both at his historically low levels this summer the Rhine was even closed to traffic at one point it’s the busiest busiest river in the world for industrial traffic so these issues are not really laying out in the future they’re quite clear now what do you anticipate in the next five years how will this problem get worse was this hot summer the coldest summer we’re going to have for the next five years head of the future when it comes to the climate change and biodiversity loss and and we the humankind is expert in in messing around here at this world and polluting the world uh it’s not only the climate change but if we’re thinking about for example the Apollos 99 of the world population are living in the areas where the air quality is poor 99 and and we are dumping like 80 percent uh well from used uh at waste Warden not on not traded so untreated 80 percent of the water is poured back to the lakes and seas without uh any treatments eighty percent um and and this the numbers are like amazing amazing so we we have brilliant challenges and I I think the one big challenge is because we think all we think about is economic growth we’ve traded off profits for the lives of humans because like let’s look let’s face it 10 million people die every year from pollution air quality pollution this is not this we’re not talking fossil fuels in its role in climate here we’re just talking about deaths from air pollution air quality actually fossil fuels are one reason of the deaths and yeah and and we you know you could argue that we had the technology to in the 70s we could accelerated solar and renewable energy production if our priority was society and the health of our citizens then we would have prioritized that over burning fossil fuels and we didn’t so we made a decision to trade off human lives for uh fossil fuel profits um and that is I think that says a lot about the heart of the problem with capitalism in a climate aware world that the world is gonna if we push for sustainability and things like that we’re going to have to change change our view of capitalism I I think that’s pretty pretty necessary there was one uncle about

people to have green clothes so the economy will grow and we will be sustainable is it really possible or is the growth always the thing that we to sort of achieve or should be decrold or you know decrease the economy would this be one one of the options I don’t have the answers for that negative growth yeah yeah economic contraction yeah but um I think that there is still hope I want to believe that there is still hope and and there are very good examples what what with a good achievements that the human kind has had for example when when we think about the odd Zone uh whole in the odd Zone yeah we were successful successful and actually uh we had the uh was it Montreal agreement about that and where the CFC uh compounds were forbidden to use and that was actually one very good agreement when we think about the climate change because the CFC uh compounds are much much worse when we think about the carbon dioxide or Amazon uh when we think about how how much they are warming the invite the climate so that was actually something that we have done and to be honest I’m very happy that today now uh the president of the United States is really thinking about the climate change thank you for that and I’m so happy about that Paris agreement I I found an interesting fact uh um yesterday actually vultures are a big contributor to reduction in CO2 emissions because they all of the the decaying animals so there you go I didn’t know that but yeah you talk yes we need more vultures obviously um I thought we had enough and whilst we yeah I knew that was coming too Alina um you know you talked also about the Eco Refugee situation and we’ve seen some um varying estimates to this you know 300 million to over a billion Eco refugees some as high as 1.6 billion um we we you know I mean Europe has had to deal with refugees over the last few years with the Syrian crisis and so forth but you know we’re talking about a scale of influx of immigrants that that we’ve you know that isn’t even equivalent to what we saw during the second world war or or things like that it’s just almost mind-blowing how how is that going to change this issue of global governance you know you talked about the the CFC uh you know the mantra real Accord and things like that where we came together we’re obviously going to need to come together how do we solve this problem of Eco refugees or how do you think the planet’s going to respond well that’s a again that’s a good question if I would have the answer for that I would be very happy because I I think that actually uh one way to cope with that is to really to act on the climate change now and to try to find the solutions we have to adjust to the climate change but we have to prevent for it to happen uh and and um do really we we have the means we we know how to do that so we have to change from fossil fuels to renewable fuels and and that’s one way and then we have to for example plant trees and forests so these are the two ways to do that and then we of course have the technological solutions but I wouldn’t want to go there when we are thinking about climate engineering because that’s a risky business I would say we can’t know what is happening if we are putting sulfuric acid to the to the fuel of airplanes and and putting that to the air so that is one way to do this but I I wouldn’t Chemtrails yeah yeah that would be really absolutely um you know this geoengineering um is obviously something that you know we we are already doing but we’ve got to switch the intent to being positive you know uh yeah yeah yeah that’s that’s true incidental right there’s um a great book called the ministry of the future by Kim Stanley Robinson he gets into a lot of these potential I don’t um you know areas of geoengineering hopefully we’ll get him on the show soon you know Robert Robertson press can I now say a little bit about my background because I want to tell you what’s what’s in my background yo okay my background is in chemical engineering so uh I’m master of science and that’s and then I did my PhD thesis about weak signals and that was about future so weak signals in organizational Futures learning and now I’m doing my second PSD um to the National Defense University of Finland and it’s about how do you science speaks in in National Defense organizations anticipation process so that’s my back from well I want to clarify for the listeners that you were talking when you said uh weak signals you meant weak signals wait yeah yes no no that’s okay

let’s talk a little bit about signal Theory and information because uh quite a lot of what you’re referring to uh when you talk about climate change and and planning for the future is very dependent on information and in particular information hygiene you know the idea of keeping your information clear being having reliable information reliable facts but I think it’s safe to say that here in the United States but also in many other countries around the world facts have been under assault facts have been under a kind of there’s been a kind of Siege on on the world effects before the break you shared with us a formula for thinking about the future uh you said that the future can be envisioned as facts Plus in imagination and I love that idea because it brings in that kind of creativity when you get into forecasting and strategy and planning and scenario planning it relies a little bit on imagination right because you have to come up with ideas maybe it’s a range of different scenarios so that’s for sure the methodology we used but let’s be clear that methodology is in Jeopardy when we don’t have solid facts that we can all agree upon and let’s add one more notion here the assault on information in the United States we often will attribute it to adversaries uh you know countries like Russia or perhaps China would say oh they’re the ones that are polluting our environment with fake news but let’s be really clear this has been a function of fossil fuel companies for many many years preceding geopolitics the fossil fuel companies filled us with disinformation about climate change they did everything they possibly could to minimize the threat and then sometimes it presented completely implausible alternative scenarios just to clutter the atmosphere and confuse people talk to me a little bit about the world of disinformation as viewed from Finland because I know this has been a big issue in the whole Nordic region not just Finland but also in Estonia Latvia Lithuania and all the way in Poland you’ve been at the Forefront I guess of an information War for many years yeah well I have to say that’s one way I think about information or information influence operations so there’s no border in that it doesn’t uh you know there’s no border now in this world because we have the internet so it’s affecting to every one of us and I would say that you in United States have had your part from Russian information influence in in 2016. definitely in your uh presidential elections and that is saying how effective way that is to influence and when we are thinking about and and when I’m studying now military studies and thinking about how to wage war in the future it’s it’s about it’s not only in the air or uh sea and and land it’s also cyber and information influenced then it’s also space so we have different dimensions when we are thinking about uh how to how to wage a war so information influence is actually something that I wrote my latest scientific article it was about how to use science speaks and to think about future information influence operations in war and that was quite a nice article but really yes that’s a big problem I think everywhere in the world and um but but one thing that I’m very actually trustful is that when people have the education level high they might have better tendency to recognize that this is actually uh not true and this is true so I think in that sense also the education is one um a tool for fighting back for this information War in Finland we are very good in education yeah no I I you know the nordics generally I think uh have got a really good approach to education and quite Innovative um you know beyond the sort of Industrial Age model of Education that we have in the west um I I am reminded of the the you know Socrates Plato story of the state ship actually um you know which which was talking about the philosopher king but Thomas Jefferson used that to to say that actually the best way to have a democracy in the United States was to have Highly Educated citizens and that’s why education should be free because that would maintain a a informed discourse around policy um and welcome to Finland because education is free here when you go to university it’s totally free that’s why me as a child of a parent who didn’t have education almost at all I have I’m doing my second PSD thesis here in Finland and that’s that’s a good thing here because you don’t have to pay for the education it’s free for everyone if your parents are rich or poor is free for you I think that’s an economic Advantage personally and I think um free education this is core infrastructure yeah in the United States we have one approach to everything we have one answer for every problem which is the free market will solve the problem and so instead of making an education a freely available to everyone or Healthcare making that available to everyone which is what a lot of uh industrialized countries do wealthy countries do provide those things here in the United States we relinquish it to the free market which is a chance for someone to profiteer and frankly that’s where it brings us right back to this information because as soon as you have people with a vested interest they’re going to start to pollute the information ecosystem with the information propaganda that uh that favors their interest so here we have it we’ve got this kind of hairball um all these matters is you got to have some pure information in order to make a good decision and when you have modeled information or facts that are in dispute then it’s very difficult for society to Grapple with that and come to a determination that everyone can agree with that is a big challenge yeah Elena if you could we love to have our futurist guests talk to us about the far future and I realize your focus is much more practical pragmatic on the near future but go with us for a second indulge us please share with us your vision for a future out there what gets you most excited you’ll be talking about you talked about synthetic biology for instance as a technology you’re keen on give us a forecast if you will go for it well uh I will tell about my latest science fiction book because in that there was a podcast about future and actually it was it was a book that there was a Storyteller and it was a quantum computer artificial intelligence one way I think about the artificial intelligence it’s very good to combine that with the idea of quantum Computing which is then like exploding the issue of artificial intelligence but this quantum computer was really affecting to people’s lives it was reading people’s minds and ideas and it was also affecting the people’s dreams when people were sleeping so people streams and uh so this was the story and I hope that this uh this I would call it like artificial uh Quantum entity in the future would be kind to people it’s the positive future and some of our big problems you know it’s interesting because there’s a lot of research about Consciousness right now that thinks that Consciousness has a Quantum effect or is a Quantum effect you know and so it you know you wonder whether to get super intelligent AIS are we going to need to integrate Quantum with AI because right now we’re fairly we’re we’re a fair way off from that I don’t know of any researchers working on Quantum AI right now no but maybe that’s something we should research but that’s really uh big thing in the future and the second thing is really this um synthetic biology how would that change our future tell me what you mean when you say synthetic biology for the benefit of the audience just give us a definition synthetic biology is like well we could call that extreme Gene manipulation but this is something combining like we well we could like create new um creatures by synthetic biology and um for example with a synthetic biology I could have my dog glowing in the dark and if I go to the well uh Black Winter finish winter night outside and I have my black Labrador Retriever and it would glow in the dark and it’s a very similar specific use case

I remember working in Finland at one point and would you have a long time ago and it was like super dark all day yeah and um I said to one of the engineers I was working with I said what time does the Sun come up and he said April yeah yeah

do you think that Finland will breed reindeers with with glowing red noses well actually yeah yeah that would be I right actually these prey things that you can spray on the reindeer and it will start to glow in the dark so yeah there you go yeah yeah unfiction fun vision of the future uh well uh Elena thank you very much for joining us on the show it has been a great pleasure to hear your perspectives uh always interested in the good voices from other places outside the United States sometimes people think that you know at least Americans think that we decide the future that’s not really always the case the future unfolds differently in different places and it’s useful to get those perspectives thank you very much for joining us today where can people find out more about you Elena uh well

that’s my web pages is this the second one what’s next yeah I have the what’s next Consulting so this is my company yeah very cool you know Brett before we wrap up I wanted to point out one more thing that’s actually quite exciting um two of our previous guests Tony Parisi and Mark Pesci who both spoke to us uh about 3D worlds and the metaverse have released a new podcast and I’ve checked it out it’s really quite good so I recommend that folks who are listening check out a brief history of the metaverse which is available as a podcast on all your regular podcast Outlets from two futurist guests that joined us on this show in the past Mark Pesci and Tony Parisi so do check it out if you get a chance to download the the short history of the metaverse and awesome thank you for asking me to come here it has been very uh to talk with you it’s always good to get futurists together you know we’re you know we we love to talk about the future that’s why we chose to do this podcast thanks for joining us this week everybody um you know if you like the podcast don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes or Google play or podcaster Stitcher you know wherever it is that you download the Spotify you know where it is you download your episodes from leave us a review that helps other people find um the podcast and uh or you know publish it on social media you know um give us some comments tell us who you’d like us to interview next or what topics you’d like us to cover and we’ll go find futurists in those particular areas um but uh a quick shout out of thanks to our team that helps us put the show together each week Elizabeth severins Kevin hersham um Sylvie and Carlo on the social media side and the team at provoke who help us put it together as well as the team behind us supporting us on the futurist thanks again for listening and we will 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 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 you’d like us to ask thanks for joining and as always we’ll see you in the future [Music] foreign