If you like music, technology, mind-opening discussions, and the desert, you might want to check out the Further Future festival in Las Vegas April 29 to May 1, 2016. The event will feature artists and speakers from a variety of disciplines (think a mashup of Burning Man, TED Talks, and Coachella), all converging to share a creative space. We spoke with Further Future cofounder Robert Scott to find out more about his vision and the future of tech and creativity.
What is the purpose of Further Future?
Further Future aims to be a new kind of music and lifestyle festival. We want to not only provide a platform to bring together members of our community from around the world but also to be a place where people come to discover and explore new things—music, ideas, art, and friends.
With people coming together in a beautiful and inspiring setting—their senses fed by amazing music, landscapes, food, drink, and art—we can create a shared, present experience, where time stops and we are all together in the moment. This creates the perfect environment to explore new ideas and seed conversations about our future. Further Future aspires to be the ground in which these seeds can grow and flourish.
And this is important, because our society is in need of an alternative narrative about our future. We find popular culture and literature increasingly obsessed with dystopian futures filled with disaster and darkness. There seems to be a sense of inevitability within this narrative that is corrosive to our ability to find a better direction and solve the challenges confronting us. By working together to create an alternative vision of a more positive way forward, fueled by a mindful and informed sense of optimism, long-term and difficult solutions can become achievable.
How do you see the role of human creativity evolving in the next 10 years as technology advances?
The benefits, and dangers, of technology have been much written and spoken about. Perhaps the last frontier between humans and technology will be creativity. It doesn’t seem likely that the gap between human and machine creativity will truly close in the next 10 years, but beyond that time horizon it becomes another discussion entirely—and a very serious one. This is something I think we will hear about from a number of our speakers at FF002.
In any event, I think it is axiomatic that in a world where technology and industry increasingly replaces or intermediates human engagement and interaction, the role of art and literature in society becomes even more profoundly important. It can be argued, in fact, that technology follows science-fiction and art, deeply influencing people in their formative years and beyond, and ultimately influencing the direction of research and inquiry in the field. As I mentioned above, this is where it becomes so important to introduce and nurture new narratives about our path forward.
What are the most interesting advances in technology that you see impacting the future of human health and fulfillment?
Over the past weeks and months I have been hearing a lot about some of the directions technology, health, and wellness are taking (one of the advantages of being around experts like Sara Reistad-Long and Paula Gilovich).
Just a few of the mind-bending things that are already happening include bio-printing, where we are close to being able to repair damaged tissues or even print entire organs. Biofeedback technology has already begun to integrate into our day-to-day through wearable technologies.
As Sara said to me recently, virtual reality and other sensory-altering experiences have huge implications for both mental and physical health. Companies are already using VR to foster empathy and break down cultural barriers (allowing people to experience conditions in impoverished or war-torn countries, for instance, or simply to see what it’s like to live a different way), to help with PTSD and train people to meditate, and also to teach doctors to better perform surgery. There are obviously always legitimate concerns with new technologies—with VR, think about gaming, for instance. If people are used to harming each other without consequence in a virtual world, does this lead to more violence in the real one? This is where we think Further Future can have a positive impact.
We very deliberately designed a place where we can experience what’s ahead in a variety of ways. By actually living with these technologies, we can really start to explore what’s possible—and begin to crowd-source the best wisdom and knowledge to integrate the future into the present in a human, mindful, and game-changing way.
It is interesting to note that studies are showing we are more honest with technology than we are with doctors, and so this means anything tracking our health will amount to much cleaner data for the evolution of health science. Or, rather, it will result in the first batch of clean data we’ve had as a human species with regards to our health.
There are many more examples that we will be exploring at Further Future through our wellness program. It’s going to be incredibly eye-opening!