Plans for Sprint 2

Various discussions have highlighted eight areas for progress by Future Surge during the first three months of 2023. They’re listed below, as the “plans for Sprint 2”, along with some ideas for practical steps forward.

Any feedback on these plans can be posted on Discord or on Facebook.

(If you’ve landed on this news posting by accident and are not sure what it’s all about: Future Surge is the recently-adopted new name for what used to be called Transhumanist UK. See our main website for more information.)

1. Policies and themes

Future Surge exists to identify and promote policies in support of our vision of “enabling a dramatically better future for all“.

These policies are intended to be both radical and real-world. If successful, they will lead to incentives, regulations, standards, or other frameworks, revitalising the social and political landscape, so that fast-changing technology is used in service of the sustainable superabundance which lies within our collective grasp.

One thing that happened during Sprint 1 was an event related to our policy idea “Measure and monitor human and social wellbeing: A metric to supersede GDP”:

The outcome of that event was greater awareness of why GDP remains so dominant, despite its many acknowledged shortcomings.

Since GDP is unlikely to be replaced any time soon, it’s therefore sensible to start building up a portfolio of alternative metrics of human and social wellbeing.

That’s an example of activity that ought, ideally, to be progressed during Sprint 2. At the same time, members and friends of Future Surge are encouraged to suggest ways to flesh out others of the themes on our policies page.

Arguably even more important than progress with individual ideas is deepening our understanding of which of these policy ideas should be prioritised over the others.

As our ideas progress, the website will be updated to match our latest ideas.

2. Bridge building

Members and friends of Future Surge have many connections to potential key allies regarding our various policy proposals.

By deepening these connections, we can improve both our inputs and outputs:

  • Inputs: Sources of ideas and resources
  • Outputs: Ways in which our recommendations can reach wider audiences.

Connections that have been highlighted as particularly important are with people working on the design of AI safety and AI regulations.

Various London Futurists events and podcast interviews have involved people in these fields; more will follow shortly.

As an example, consider this podcast interview with Jerome Glenn of the Millennnium Project and this video of an event on Artificial General Intelligence and the Future of Ethics:

3. Website

The Future Surge website saw considerable improvements during Sprint 1. In Sprint 2, the goal is to increase visitor engagement with the site.

A basic indication of visitor interest can be found in the statistics provided by WordPress:

These statistics show, for example, that

  • The greatest interest in the site (so far) was in the week commencing 12 Sept, when there were 162 different visitors, viewing a total of 419 pages
  • The most recent mini-surge of interest was in the week commencing 21 Nov, when there were 68 different visitors, viewing a total of 158 pages.

The decline in interest since then matches a lack of activity on the site, with more attention going to partner sites such as Vital Syllabus and London Futurists.

That decline also reflects a lack of Future Surge traffic on our social media sites (see later).

If you have any suggestions to improve aspects of the website, please let us know!

4. Videos

The YouTube channel formerly named “Transhumanist (Party) UK” has been renamed (and rebranded) as “Future Surge”.

It currently has 189 subscribers.

It’s over two years since any new videos have been posted on that channel.

During Sprint 2, there’s an opportunity to bring that channel back to life, via specially designed new material.

There’s an argument to keep these videos short, in the style of “YouTube shorts”.

Suggestions are welcome!

5. Discord

At the time of writing, there are 53 members of the Future Surge Discord.

Discussion on that server during Sprint 1 led to significant improvements in the graphics design on the main Future Surge website, and to some new material being added into various Vital Syllabus pages. But the activity is at a very small level compared to what could be possible.

Accordingly, the goal for Sprint 2 is to catalyse an increase in regular constructive activity on that server.

Let’s be friendly and supportive of each other there!

6. Facebook

A Future Surge Group has been set up on Facebook, but, up till now, has hardly been mentioned anywhere, so there’s almost no traffic there.

It’s a good way to connect with people who already have a presence on Facebook, and who not be comfortable using Discord.

Again, the goal for Sprint 2 is to catalyse and support regular constructive activity in that group.

7. Finances

Any thoughts of larger activities in the months and years ahead – such as running candidates in mayoral elections in the UK in 2024 – will depend on funding or sponsorship becoming available.

The goal for Sprint 2 is to increase:

  • Subscriber numbers (a “subscriber” is someone who pays the £25 per annum subscription fee, as per our Connect page)
  • Donations (also see the Connect page)
  • And/or sponsors.

With reference to possible mayoral elections in 2024, the following video has recently become available. It was recorded at the TransVision conference in Madrid in October 2021, that is, before the name change from Transhumanist UK to Future Surge, but most of the ideas in it remain relevant. It starts a bit slow, but leads to, let’s say, an upbeat set of conclusions:

8. Vital Syllabus

During Sprint 1, the redesign of the Vital Syllabus site proceeded, with materials being moved there from their original home on the London Futurists website. The content has also been restructured:

As can be seen from the website statistics, some of these areas have attracted more interest, whereas others languish in relative obscurity:

(The remaining 15.2% of the views are spread through a long tail of the other 12 top-level areas.)

The goal for Sprint 2 is to establish regular flows:

  • Of new material into the various pages
  • And of feedback about the material that’s already there.

For example, it would be good to know which videos on the site have been found particularly helpful by people – and which have left people cold, confused, or in disagreement.

Ways to provide that kind of feedback and suggestions are covered in the Connect page of the Vital Syllabus site: a dedicated Discord server, a Facebook Group, and a LinkedIn Group.

9. What’s missing?

Is there something you think should be added or changed in the above list of priorities?

Or do you see a way in which you can participate in one or more of these areas of activities? Let us know. Thanks!

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