Why Even Bother?


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 humanity moving forward.

There’s great conversation/s taking place, but they are mostly disconnected or in a vacuum depending on what conference they’re taking place within, what biased business needs are foremost in the mind, and whether there was even a need to be inclusive of voices not in attendance. Through The RSA’s global footprint with a diverse fellowship and deeply rooted belief in open, responsible and respectful discourse, Zoe and I found a golden opportunity to start the meaningful conversations – of which this Thematic Network is the next step.

What began as shared professional and personal passions for future technologies and their impact on humanity quickly led to the production of place-based and virtual events that allowed for deeper dives into their implications, opportunities, ethics, biases and much more. Each event became stronger than the last and emphasized the already-known reality that such outlets could only ever hope to scratch the surface of what can be shared and disseminated within an ongoing network of interested and collaborative people utilizing a platform that enabled cross-time and cross-border facilitation of communication, collaboration and exploration on the topic of our collective augmented futures.

Everything about this Augmented Socitey Network (ASN) is absolutely iterative – just like it’s subject matter – beginning with this launch platform. The hope is that we can connect, share articles and even mere thoughts for others to link into for ongoing discourse and dig around into the sandbox to see what connected minds can create. And, as shown below in a poll conducted of MIT Technology Review’s Global Panel, the majority feel that future technologies, such as AI, should be regulated by international entities and not self-serving companies themselves or micro-visioned government institutions…



Ultimately, we see that this AFN could play a role among other multi-nation and multi-disciplinary bodies in helping to affect policy and regulation that takes society’s needs into consideration transparently rather than narrowly-defined or opaque needs.

The opportunity for diverse viewpoints and a willingness to collaborate and publish findings for the betterment of society through this network is something we welcome and hope that it excites you equally to come, join us and be active as we attempt to altruistically build a better society utilizing technology for the benefit of all.

I'm truly excited about the opportunity for discourse, exploration and playing in the sandbox will all the network members!

Jonathan

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