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Welcome to Augmented Society - An RSA Thematic Network

What is this? This is an RSA Thematic Network founded in 2019 by two RSA Fellows with a passion for humankind.

We are concerned and excited about the impact technology is having on society and will continue to have in the coming weeks, decades and centuries.

We bring insight, news and transparency to complex subject areas helping make sense of topics that include: The future of work, Ethical AI, Augmented society, and the quest for Superintelligence.

This is a collaborative platform for discussion and a safe place for powerful thinking and dialog for fellows and non-fellows alike.
Why would I read it? Regular insight created by those involved in areas you care deeply about and want to affect change in.

Collaborative story-telling that will inform and shine a light on complex topics.

This is a knowledge sharing space to enable conversation and creation.  This will be shaped by your  passion and mutual interest in our collective experiences of an augmented society.
How do I get involve…

ASN:Podcast - The unfinished fable of the sparrows

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Podcast with Mitchell Weisburgh FRSA, Daryl Gibson,
Wayne Wallace and Zoe Camper FRSA (47 mins)

Much like The Unfinished Fable of the Sparrows raises this dilemma without providing an answer; how do we carry forward new paradigms, and forces of change, while not being overburdened with solving unknown variables AND be socially responsible.

Listen to our September ASN:Podcast
Preparing ourselves and our organizations to advance intelligently.Factors weighing on our requirement for iteration, and the management of forthcoming questions and concerns.Superintelligence, Funding, Societal Adoption, Technologies, etc.Examples of society-changing technologies that relied on the ability to deliver upon the above.

Ma and Musk agree; it is population colapse not expansion that will be the problem

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While two AI titans were disagreeing about AI, the one thing they did agree on was the issue of population collapse.

 Population collapse not expansion is, according to Ma and Musk at the World AI Conference (WAIC) this week in Shanghai, the big problem humans will face. So not the fact that AI will think faster and dispense with humans, suggesting that we are merely ‘boot loaders’ for a higher intelligence, no that is not the main concern. The concern is that there won’t be any humans at all.

I am amazed, everything I have learned or used as a measure of the planets resources and ability to sustain us has been based on the uncontrolled explosion of humankind and a rocketing population.

At our recent ASN:Discussion about the future of work we discussed immigration control and its impact on an available workforce, among other things. The scarcity of workers will continue to challenge our ability to progress as a society. Changing current discourse is difficult enough but introducing th…

Event: Disruption, Disintermediation, disconnecting; is the world falling together?

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Oct 24, 2019 11:00 AM – 12 noon PST Please join us for an ASN: Discussion

People are coming together to work, play and share information, but increasingly on very different terms. We see opportunity and new forms of sharing taking shape, peer-to-peer decentralised networks, individuals taking responsibility for their own data security, and different more eco-friendly ways of using power. But what is emerging and is it ‘good’?


The Internet’s underlying protocols (TCP/IP) were designed to decentralise sharing and to get information to its destination, come what may, nuclear war, dictators overthrown; it was supposed to be the ultimate Pony Express. But the very success of the Internet is now threatening its existence. Countries are looking inward, political unions breaking apart and long-time established powers faltering.

So this is truly a time of opportunity to make technology in a form that respects individuals rights to privacy and one that is built with the welfare of the planet,…

Event: The unfinished fable of the sparrows

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Sept 26, 2019 11:00 AM – 12 noon PST Please join us for an ASN: Discussion

In our August ASN:Discussion, when pondering evolution’s effect on a future workforce, RSA Fellow and ASN participant, Mitchell Weisburgh, surmised that iteration is key “we don’t have to deliver a be-all-end-all solution, that isn’t always required to truly bring change”.


Yet, we find ourselves often wedged between those who want to determine every detail before taking step one, and those who immediately begin with the belief all will be figured out later.

Much like The Unfinished Fable of the Sparrows raises this dilemma without providing an answer; how do we carry forward new paradigms, and forces of change, while not being overburdened with solving unknown variables AND be socially responsible.

Join us to discuss:
Preparing ourselves and our organizations to advance intelligently.Factors weighing on our requirement for iteration, and the management of forthcoming questions and concerns.Superintelligence, Fun…

Grand challenges of Human Versus Machine do not tell the real story

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Written By Zoe Camper, Las Vegas

What is it like to be beaten by a machine? Not a human, or in the case of war, an army or a country, but a machine built by fellow humans. It beats you, takes your crown, and leaves you utterly defeated. Feel bad? I think so. Can the battles be fair or equal? How do we measure fairness and what equates to parity in a battle of human versus machine; they are of course, simply not the same.

Challenging machines has a long and storied history, from John Henry the African American folk hero’s race against a steam-powered rock-drilling machine in the 1870’s, to Lee Sedol’s 2016 defeat at the ancient game of Go, in Seoul, South Korea, by AlphaGo, an AI built by Google DeepMind.

The story of Garry Kasparov and his chess challenges against IBM go to the very heart of fairness, and highlight that humans and machines are entirely different entities.

Garry Kasparov, Emperor of Chess, youngest World Chess Champion at the age of 22, holding the World Chess Champio…

Event: The Future According to Us: Workforce

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22nd August, 2019 11:00 AM – 12 noon PST Please join us for an ASN: Discussion Are you interested in provocative and exciting exploration? Join us to communally explore some ideas on possible futures - no vision is too far “out there”! What is going to play the largest role in our future workforce?
Artificial Intelligence?Neural Lace?Genetic Predetermination?Global Warming?  All of the Above, or something else entirely?

Come get the juices flowing as we poke and prod what future society has in store for us.

Zoom meeting: https://zoom.us/j/366336183

Join us to discuss: 
How technology will affect the workforce in the long-term futureIs disruption a strong enough word for what is to comeShould you learn anything new or just learn how to learnWhat makes a new collar worker different from you

If you’re interested, we’ve begun the posting of ASN interviews to learn more about the members.
ASN:People interview with Philippa Mothersill and Zoe Camper (34 mins) ASN:People interview with Joe Gla…

ASN:People

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ASN:People interview with Zoe Camper and Philippa Mothersill (34 mins) In our third interview we learn more about Philippa Mothersill. The chain of interviews is growing and will shine a light on our motivations, passions and areas of expertise. Join us and either be interviewed or offer to interview someone you admire.



This is our problem, are you hearing us?

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Written By Zoe Camper, Las Vegas

On the 21st April 2019 an article was published on the BBC News website about a profoundly deaf seven-year-old girl Leia Armitage.

Leia was born with no inner ear or hearing nerve, a hearing aid would be of no use. At the age of two she had cutting edge surgery at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (UK), to insert a device directly into her brain to stimulate the hearing pathways.

Along with a microphone and sound processor unit worn on the side of her head she could ‘hear’ and her parents painstakingly taught her sounds and words; eventually she was able to speak.

Re-wiring the brain to fix or enhance a specific capability has been the subject of research for many years, it has also been the stuff of science fiction.

In 1966 Swedish physicist and astrophysicist Hannes Alfvén published his vision for the future in ‘The Tale of the Big Computer’. In it he says “the problem of organising society is so highly complex as to be insoluble by t…

Event: Augmented Society Network – What are you working on?

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20th June, 2019 11:00 AM – 12 noon PST Please join us for an ASN:Discussion We’re getting to know each other and would love to know what you are working on. What’s keeping you engaged in the exploration of our future capabilities?

Got anything going that will tease us in relation to being beaten at a game by a machine?

Are you having some fun doing things like running the Mueller Report through Watson discovery?

Are you theorizing on future augmentation in any form? Or are you just interested in hearing from others?

Then join us for a ‘show and tell’, let us learn more about you, what projects you are working or what a good day at work looks like.

Zoom meeting:https://zoom.us/j/409252920

Join us to discuss
Your projects and the things that matter to youThe value of understanding each other’s motivationsProject work underway or plannedGeneral updates on ASNetwork activity
If you’re interested, we’ve begun the posting of ASN interviews to learn more about the members. Check out the guine…

ASN:People

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ASN:People interview with Joe Glaser and Jonathan Tavss (32 mins) In our second interview we learn more about ASN co-founder Jonathan Tavss.  The chain of interviews is growing and will shine a light on our motivations, passions and areas of expertise. Join us and either be interviewed or offer to interview someone you admire.




Event: Augmented Society Network – Why should I listen to you?

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Please join us for an ASN:Discussion Even with the best of intents, experts are becoming the very people making considerable mistakes within isolated “echo chambers” and the resulting issues affecting the unrepresented are not being addressed.

This makes weighing the need for inclusivity over the desire for exclusivity vital.

To venture into true discourse, we need a way of being and thinking that will help us to grow and bring the right people into this incredibly important sandbox tackling new ideas, resisting bias and influencing progress and policy.

We aim to put the mechanisms of this into action at this meeting.
Date: Time: May 23, 2019 11:00 AM – 12 noon Pacific Time (US and Canada)Zoom meeting: https://zoom.us/j/264847460

Join us to discuss
Fostering rules on the edge of changeUnderstanding and formulating policy for an emerging future Broadening the Network’s participants beyond sole reliance on the ‘expert’General update on AS Network activity
We look forward to seeing you!

ASN:People

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Our first ASN:People interview with Joe Glaser and Zoe Camper (33 mins) In this interview we learn more about ASN co-founder Zoë Camper. Join us and either be interviewed or offer to interview someone you admire. We are building a chain of interviews that will be published as part of the work of the ASN and will shine a light on our motivations, passions and areas of expertise.





Event: Augmented Society Network – Probing Future Policy

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Please join us for our second AS Network discussion. Event: Augmented Society Network – Probing Future Policy. If the Augmented Society Network is meant to ultimately establish itself as a trusted factor in the setting of related policy in multiple regions and countries, we've got to start somewhere. Please join us to discuss scope and deciding factors in our policy involvement.

We will begin the framework for future policy influence and activation from within the Augmented Society Network. We welcome those with experience in future technologies, ethical considerations and government advisement to take part and help set the strategy and structure for our future endeavors.
Time: April 25, 2019 11:00 AM – 12 noon Pacific Time (US and Canada)Zoom meeting: https://zoom.us/j/554101762.
Discussion pointsEstablishing an effective policy framework Policy influence and activationScope and deciding factors in our policy involvement General update on AS Network activityWe look forward to se…

Desperate singleton, what are you going to do? Find the next biggest prime number?

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Written By Zoe Camper, Las Vegas

Firstly, did you assume the singleton in the title was a human being? A strong desire to anthropomorphise, or make things like us, can prevent us from making good decisions or perceiving meaning accurately.

What I perceived as a desperate singleton will say more about me than I might want to reveal :^); it is wide open to interpretation, judgment, and dependent on the context you bring to it.

We talk to inanimate objects, we chastise our cars when they breakdown, we try to reason with our computers; there is a deep need to humanise objects and things we interact with on a daily basis.

If I talk to it nicely, it might work... and so on.

Some of us are also doing this with artificial intelligence. One of the mile stones for AI is to pass the Turing Test. To have an AI good enough to hold a human conversation, and make it indistinguishable from us.

We want to progress to the point where we cannot tell the difference between us and technology.

It’s a fan…

Event: Augmented Society Network - Introduction to the AS Network

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Event: Augmented Society Network - Introduction to the AS Network Please join us for our first AS Network discussion. We will be discussing the aims and objectives for the group, forming our first collaborations and exploring topics for the long and short term. We've already got solid representatives of the RSA plus active leaders in the AI and Blockchain fields joining the meeting and we'd love to have you there too! Time: March 22, 2019 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/274277287

To launch the Augmented Society Network productively, you’re invited to join us for an open conversation on the network’s vision and hoped-for future endeavors. While Zoe and Jonathan are leading the charge, the Network will not be successful without considered and informed input by all. As such, this kick-off will quickly cover the initial hopes of the network, broaden out for more voices, then drill down to start the plans in motion to actually make it happ…

Are you part of a dominant tribe?

Written By Zoe Camper, Las Vegas

Welcome to The RSA’s Augmented Society thematic network. When you have time to look up from your hectic life to see what technology has changed, it might be too late. 

You will be living a life controlled by data driven systems that match you and your activities with the actions and wants of a prevailing dominant tribe. Everything you see, hear, touch or taste will have been augmented. Will you fit in? Will you be an outcast? 

At CES in Las Vegas this year Ginni Rometty, current chair, president, and CEO of IBM, said that only 1% of the data that is possible to collect has been collected, that is an incredible thing to consider. 

We are having to adjust the scale that we use to imagine the world in 5 years’ time to the one Ginni is seeing. It is disturbing, hard to digest in terms of impact and I am compelled to explore and question what that future holds for society as a whole.
Society has undergone many step changes but this is different, this change bea…

Why Even Bother?

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Some might ask why this is important to me. The thing is, it's important to all of us, but not everyone is in a position to truly consider implications that go far beyond their day-to-day lives. This Network seemed to be an amazing opportunity to make a difference...
Following numerous interactions and great conversations about society’s future augmented by technology at conferences and meetings around the world, three things have become increasingly clear:
What the future holds in terms of AI, XR, Blockchain, Robotics, and any other buzzwords (that may or may not have yet been coined) is extremely exciting and energizing.We are very much still in the “Wild West” phase where everything goes and, perhaps, too much is focused on minutiae rather than the bigger picture.As a society, we don’t yet know what we’re truly dealing with and are not putting enough resources into discourse and discovery of the possibilities and concerns as they affect us and…