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Finnishing the Future


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.

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[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 weinterview somebody who is designing planning and inventing the futureand just before we get to this week's guest I want to have let my colleague andco-host Brett King do a survey some of the recent developments on the Forefrontof the future so over to you Brett give us a quick wrap up thanks man well um you know there's uh there's thiscontinued debate of course in the community writ large the scientific Community about what affect artificialintelligence is going to have on society those like Ray kurzwell and Peter diamandis think artificial intelligenceis going to create this world of abundance but we've had people like Stephen Hawking in Elon Musk frame theirconcerns about this so the question is what do AI researchers and scientiststhink about the potential upside versus downside of artificial intelligence wella recent survey of AI researchers around the world agree that AI decision makingcould cause catastrophic outcomes what percentage about 36 of AI researchersthink like that so this really tells us we need a plan in terms of how we shouldbe integrating artificial intelligence into our society and and as we've discussed numerous times on the show itprobably starts with ethics secondly um you know I wanted to talk about the fact that there is a lot of activitywith NASA going on at the moment they're about to try uh um deflecting an asteroid by crashing ina spacecraft into an asteroid um parts will go wrong with that yeahyeah exactly but this asteroid is is not going to pass anywhere near Earth it's it's you know it's closest distance isabout seven million kilometers from Earth so uh um you know we'll see um where that happens and of course wejust saw uh the James Webb Space Telescope um uh release photos ofNeptune with its ring system which is is pretty uh pretty cool but um the lastone I'll leave you with is uh in terms of self-driving Techum Volvo has introduced their new electric car and it won't let you drive if it detects your drunk so um you knowthis is some of the Tech that I think is going to be a stop gap before we get to full autonomous carsmaybe you come in that sideways that way you know one step at a time well thanks for that quick Roundup Brett this week'sguest is coming to us from Finland uh where she's the author of a number of books and the CEO of what's nextConsulting so Brett let's welcome Elena Hilton in to the futurist thank you verymuch thank you happy to be here great to have you with us thank you for joiningus so it is a it is a Finnish future futurist ever finished sorry um that's abad that's a badge no that was almost a joke yeah yeah almost a jokewelcome to the show yeah thank you very much we'd love to have guests join usfrom other places because uh you know the old adage goes uh the future is already here it's just unevenlydistributed and in some ways Finland is um living in a future that it certainly wouldn't have chosen uh circumstancesbeyond your control or started dictating what happens around your borders uh and even kind of a significant change toyour borders can you give us a quick quick view of what's happening right now that's going to shape the future for FinlandFinnish Militarywell we are trying to join NATO and and I I think that this is we are on the wayto Nato and and people are very happy about that here in Finland um and uh but still when we think aboutFinnish military we have been prepared for Russia for decades because we havehad our two Wars with Russell in 1940s so since that of course we have noticedthat we have a challenge with our eastern border so we have been prepared for that always all the time andum we have had this threat and Finnish military is there andwe have this people are very happy to defend their country here in Finlandwhen there have been some research studies about how willing people are to defend their countries Finland is in thetop so we are very happy historically Finland has been stuck between twodifficult neighbors right between Russia of course and and centuries of Domination by the Russian Empire butalso there's a period of time where Sweden your neighbor on the other side also accommodatedto live in that neighborhood well we are very good friends with Swedish peopleand Sweden so for example when it comes to the military we are doing a cooperation and I I think the uh BalticSea is the most important thing here in when we think about the defense of Finlandit's not necessarily the Border but Baltic Sea yeah yeah the the other element of this islike um I I've noticed in a lot of your writing Alina you talk aboutum climate as a key element of defense strategy you know um in the United States where Rob and I are today ofcourse um you know the U.S defense department was quite vocal in terms of climate riskdismissing the the climate denial um you know for for um well a couple of decades now reallyidentifying it as a key strategic risk um for the United States and Counting asa defense uh you know as part of their defense strategy so why does climatealign with defense you know as a sort of a natural thing these days we see whenit's talked about yes it's not only the climate change that is causing threatsand and uh something to think for armies uh it's also the uh biodiversity loss ofbiodiversity today that is problematic and these are the two things that are really causing problems all around theworld and if we think for example climate change is it's causing uh therise of the sea level which is meaning that many of the cities are located next to the Sea and then there is going to bemore and more climate refugees and this is causing um security challenges for manycountries and of course there might be Wars over fresh water for exampleand if you think that people are going to lack foods like uh Water Press waterso what this is something that is causing uh security threats really bigsecurity threats and this is actually something as a futurist when I'm talking about the future of whatever future ofHealth future of uh traveling future of logistics future of technology digitalization I always start my speechabout climate change and biodiversity loss because they are the biggestthreats of the humankind and well the thing thing is the planetis planets is surviving without human beings but we are not surviving without the planet that's right that's a goodpoint the planet will carry on yeah you know there may be different life forms here even if we end up killing ourselveshow does climate change affect Finland in in your particular region is that um how does it manifest in in the NorthClimate Changewell actually uh Finland is one of the places that climate change is affectingvery much and and the average temperature has been rising uh twicefour times more than uh the average temperature all around the world so thetemperature is rising here and I live in the southern part of Finland and the challenge here is that we used well weused to have beautiful white winter time winter times and now it's totally blackbecause 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 snowbut not anymore we have a couple of months maybe the snow here in southernpart of Finland but when I was a child it used to be the from November to Marchwe have the snow here but now it's maybe uh January February and that's itand it has really affected and it's affecting in many level one of theexamples I'm saying to my customers about climate change is usually we think about the the uh extreme weathers andand um melting of glazeries and these kind of things and which is happening and which arevery big things but uh once I was going to one of myum speaking gigs and I was waiting in the uh railway station and I was lookingat the lead display very big display and it was actually broken and then therewas a sign in the uh let display that's because of the summer uh the last summerwas the hottest summer since 1937 this late display was uh like broken becauseof the Heat and this is something I'm saying to my class customers think about this theseare the big small things that are really affecting to your own uh business environment and what are they and thesecan be really big things for you and it's not the climate change that it's this only these big extreme weather andRise of the average temperature it's the small things that are going to affect every organizationand that's certainly true the words changing in incremental ways but they add up to big changes eventuallydefinitely yeah what kinds of companies do you typically provide advice to uhwell they are from different Industries and different areas and they are like government institutes andum like um really like companies and maybe the biggest companies here inFinland I've been visiting every of those and having my lectures and speeches why do they need a futuristwhat what is the reason for hiring a futurist uh I really hope that they listen toElinas Keynoteisn't only the clown having some entertainment for them I'm actuallyI'm I'm finding tumorous when I'm having my speeches so I it might be a little bit like combination of stand-up comicsplus Futures but but there are actually serious things that we have to considerwhen we think about the future and and that's why I a little bit add humor on that because otherwise it would be sosad stories about the future but okay they want to listen uh my viewers of what is happening in the future and thisis something that I do I look at information what is happening now andthink about how would this be in the future and what are the threats and possibilities and so on so one thing isthat I really quote different companies have my Keynotes beaches but then I work with the strategy with many companiesand I have my own methods how to do the strategy work with my with my clientsand it is very systematic as I I am an engineer from my background so I'm verysystematic I'm a like crazy person too very creative but I'm very systematictoo so would you say you're an optimist because most futurists I think aregenerally optimistic but a lot of stuff we see in depiction of the future isdystopian and so you say pessimistic pessimistic ofwhat does that mean for theuh well that makes sense given the times that we're in that's probably that sort of describes me and Robert togetherokay you really have to have the positive somewhere you have to have the hope forthe future that I think is very important and uh and that's why theoptimistic but then I see that there are really big challenges that the human kind is facing now so we have to dosomething and that's why I won't shut up when I go to companies I will tell thatthese are the big really big issues here so do something this is your responsibility too now how do you knowthat those are big issues the one the point the issues that you're pointing to how are you so certain that those arethe issues that matter uh there's the one word answer to that science ohso you have a scientific methodology for forecasting no uh no I don't have oneI dont forecast the futurething is that I don't forecast the future that is something that I don't do I don't forecast the future future uh Ianticipate different features and it's not only one future so it's notforecasting it's thinking of different views just my idea here is that we can't foregass nobody can forecast the futureand forecast can actually be quite dangerous because when people hear thisForex some very uh some president is saying that this is happening and everybody is listening to him and and orher and thinking that because he is the president he probably knows that thingsare going to be that in the future and then we might end up in the situation that people are only seeing thisforecast happening and missing all the other signs of the change and then thechange can be very surprised for this big companiesyes definitely scenario modeling but but uh you'll be asking that how do I knowthat these are the big things because uh well I I trust in science I read very much and I know what scientists aretalking about the climate change what scientists are talking about the uh biodiversity lossand so that's why I know that these are the big things what are some what are some good sources of information likewhere do you find find this stuff that keeps you up to date well I have to have to say that thank you for asking thatGood sources of informationbecause I really like information break well uh there are for example uh WorldBank uh United Nations State uh United Nations and all the statistics they havefor example the estimation of the growth of the world population then one of myfavorites is um our world in data these web pages uhand well as you can see I try to seek for statistics of what is happening andthen of course I tried to look at all different kind of like uh scientific magazines and nature forexample Scientific American and that's one example and and then of course I read The Finnish uh scientificlike popular magazines and these are some of the these sourcesbut but do you have your own framing for this you must take all that information in and then put it into your own contextor your own hypothesis right yeah uh yeah well I have my frame in my head soFormula for the futureI'm like sucking all the information around the uh like uh from differentsources and then I'm organizing that in my head and then I have my ideas of whatcould happen in the future I'm actually uh I could say that uh whenyou are asking that do I have some like uh frame or method for the future I haveone formula for the future as I am an engineer so it's it's very good thatum to have everything in formulas for example I have a formula what is lifedo you want to hear what is the formula sure yeah of course death minus birthdeath minus birth so okay okay but probably you want tohear my formula for the future anticipating the future equals factsplus imagination right that's plus imagination so theidea yeah so the idea is that you really have to look at the facts of today and the history what are happening now andthen you add some imagination so that's why actually I'm a fan of science pixelbecause in science fiction you trust the facts what is happening in science and then you add the imagination that's whyI write science fiction yeah no I was going to say that because um you know it the science view isobviously very helpful for scenario planning but it's going beyond that and Imagining the details of the world inthose scenarios that science fiction is is very good for so um yeah I think that's that's animportant element of of of sci-fi and how it sort of reflects our view of thefuture for sure yeah um uh when when we talk about thescience fiction you do what sort of time periods you're dealing with how far in the future we had Dave had been onrecently and of course and Gareth Powell uh was was a guester recently as well and you know they're talking aboutthousands of years in the future in in many cases some 10 years and actually I have one uhLightning Roundscience fiction book published by my own publishing house and uh the name of the book was on that day uh 2000X 9. so X nine so I didn't say which decadeit is but some decades in in 2000 so at this point in the show what we'dlike to do is ask you sir as a quick questions um and the answers can be very brief uhso Brett how about if you take it away with the lightning round and give us a few quick counts quick questions withshort answers okay excellent here we go so Elena whatwas the first science fiction you remember being exposed to on TV or booksBack to the Future okay cool when did you first realize that the future waswhat you wanted to base your career on um 25 years agoso what was it that where the penny dropped it's a long story okay all right coolname a futurist that has influenced you and why and he was actually uh the opponent ofmy PSD thesis about wake signals very coolum when you think about different futurists who you've been exposed to what's the best prediction you think afuturist has ever made or the best forecast I think that a good future is don't doany forecasts you're the second you're the second futurist that said that actually we hadthe um was Brad Templeton wasn't it yeah it leaves me scratching my head thinking well the futurist are you but I guessit's the word forecast first it is it's the prediction of forecast yeah forecast is it predict a predictionyeah and we don't try to predict we are not a fortune tellers yes we arefuturists yeah what science fiction story is most representative of thefuture you hope for that's a difficult question I think that my science fiction stories that's adiplomatic answer and what future technology do you most hope for uhsynthetic biology yeah very cool me too well great on that note I think it'stime for us to take a little break uh you're listening to the futurists andthis week Our Guest is Elena hiltonen who's joining us from Finland stay tuned because we're gonna be back in just aBreaking Banksfew minutes [Music] welcome to Breaking Banks the number oneGlobal fintech radio show and podcast I'm Brett King and I'm Jason henricksevery week since 2013 we explored the personalities startups innovators andIndustry players driving disruption in financial services from incumbents to unicorns and from Cutting Edgetechnology to the people using it to help create a more Innovative inclusive and healthy financial future I'm JPNichols and this is breaking Banksforeign welcome back to the futurist I'm yourhost Brett King with my good friend Rob turc sitting in the hosting chair and uhbefore we jump back to Elena Hilton who we've been talking to the The Finnishfuturist I wanted to do just a quick Deep dive if I could into some of the uh um battery technologies we're looking atfor grid level storage because we've got Rama's Nam coming up in a couple of weeks and and mares is one of the topguys at Singularity talking about energy but with all of the talk aboutum grid grid failures around the world you know we have Europe Under Pressurebecause the of the Russia Ukraine situation and the pro the energy situation coming out of Russia with thepipelines and so forth but we also have news of grids under Threat all aroundthe world right now we hear about California's grid under threat Texas under threat London is uh is potentiallyhaving going to have brown outs in London you know during this winter aswell as in Australia um you know in the states of Victoria and New South Waleswe already see uh um projections of grid failures there similar to what happenedin South Australia um a few years ago now in South Australia the solution to this you mayremember was a big bet that um Elon Musk made with the SouthAustralian government to help their Grid or strengthen their grid through the use of a Tesla so a battery Farm linked totheir solar generation and renewable capability now um Elon Musk made this bet that he would if he could do thiswithin a hundred days I think it was that South Australia would have to pay for him but if he couldn't get thebattery Farm up and running in that period Then he they would get it for free so he he was successful and theydid an initial 130 megawatt hour battery farm and have since expanded on thatadding another 65 megawatt expansion and they plan to double the size of thatbattery Farm again in the near term because it's been so successful this has led to the the grids in New South Walesand Victoria also adopting battery farms in fact one of the world's largestbattery energy storage storage system um powered by Tesla began operating inthe state of Victoria back in December of 2021 and it can power or the battery storageis has enough power for more than 650 000 homes for an hour now why this isimportant is because uh previously what those energy grids would have to do ishave online generation capacity built with around gas uh gas-fired turbines torapidly generate energy in the case of load balancing issues this is what caused the South Australian grid to failwhen two tornadoes broke out in South Australia I didn't even know South Australia had tornadoes and that's youknow that's there but we see Texas now getting 15 utility scale battery storagesites we see California has launched um a number of battery storage facilitiesthere 2 500 Tesla power walls in a plant to deliver 16.5 megawatts of storageenergy and just one on a battery Farm there so the question is what is the Technologies we're going to use forthese types of batteries well this is where it gets really interesting we're using a Lithium-ion batteries right nowbut some of the new technologies we're looking at are not actually based onlithium ion but are based on some much simpler Technologies like the use ofsalt molten salt and the use of sea water and things like this for muchlower cost grid level energy storage but the real change that's going to beinteresting here is that the if we're looking at renewable resilience forclimate proof or future proof energy grids we are going to have to change theway we think about grid design so battery storage isn't going to be likethese massive generation facilities that we have which are centralized on thegrid they're most likely going to be distributed systems where these batteries are stored in multiplelocations in cities in homes and so forth to make the grid more resilient it's a big shift in the way we thinkabout grid design for energy resilience so we'll see what Mez has to say aboutthat in a few weeks when he's on the show back over to you rob looking forward to hearing that it's interestingyour 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 certainlydecentralization has been a theme that comes up again and again particularly with regard to web3 but here we'retalking about a kind of decentralized power grid and of course that power grid is necessary because the climate itself ischanging and so as the climate changes then the need for energy has also been evolving and so that's forcinggovernments around the world to contend with the notion that a new kind of power system is required to deal with a newkind of climate that brings us back to the topic that we're talking about just before the break with Elena Hilton who's our guestuh she was telling us a little bit about climate as a major threat something that's undeniably going to be in thefuture and it's going to shape the future and that her clients need to be prepared for let's return to that topicso welcome back Thanks Elena for waiting for us as we took our break thank you and I was actually listeningBatteries from woodto this battery story and kind of tell us some little detail please sure yeahin Finland we actually uh starting to create batteries from woodwood Nano cellulose yes yeah actually Ididn't mention graphene because that's another tech obviously yeah yeah but tell us about Nano celluloseFinlands forest industrywell it's it is something that we are starting to make this I'm I was just reading one article here that uh we arewell I don't know more about the technology but I know that there are some research and development processeshow to make these uh batteries from Nano cellulose and from Woods and because weuh in Finland we are living from the forest so the forest industry is one of the biggest industry here yeah so sureno shortage of wood in Finland that's for sure true no no not not yet at leastFinnish inventionsyeah so so this is one of the inventions that Finns are doing we have quite niceideas actually then we made from wood uh from birds actually I think uh thisum sugar called sulitol I don't know if you have heard about this doll yeah uh it's we call itXylitol here yeah yeah so we use it's a phoenix invention and it's good for yourSolitolteeth so actually uh in daycare the little kitties are two having thechewing gum solitol to income after every meal so it's better really sugaryeah yeah that's good for their teeth that's cool well it's smart to use the resources that you've got at handum you know one of the other things one of the other forces that shapes the future is geopolitical attention and ofcourse uh to build the Lithium-ion batteries well those rely on heavily on rare Earths and yeah we all know whererare Earths come from and so these days everyone's wondering can we be so dependent can we afford to be sodependent on a country that might not be looking out for our best interest in the near future and so that's forcingcountries to consider alternatives whether that's batteries built with nanocellularis or using things like saltand seawater graphene is actually something that I have been expecting to Boom already whenGrapheneI was writing my book about future of technology and it was published in 2014I was already writing about possibilities of graphene in the book and yet come on eight years after andand this has happened well this is where I think cabin sequestration is obviously going to lead to more graphenedevelopment because it's the obvious use of the you know Carbon sequestration byproduct is to create graphenebatteries and um you know the Buckyballs and all of all of those exotic materialsnanotech I heard they were having trouble manufacturing graphene at scale is that correct yeah yeah there's butthere's a new modified um application graphene with a Y whichis a new process they're working on um so yeah but yeah it is at scale is isthe big problem but if we're going to build a space elevator we need graphene right yeahyes and that's imminent I'm sureWater Warwe might have to wait for a couple of decades or centuries maybe for the spaceelevator yeah but I've been writing about that too so yeah I know what you're talking aboutbut 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 imminentand very real you talked about climate refugees and you spoke to you spoke about the prospect of a water War abattle over fresh water supplies and while there's probably an abundance of fresh water in Finland that's just nottrue in other parts of the world and so we're already seeing attention in the Middle East uh problems arising in Indiayou know the the control of the Himalayas is a big issue between India and China because that's basically thewater tower for South and East Asia yes and then the glacier is all meltingGlacier Meltingthere and this is causing the challenges well more water at the first but lateron there will be big big challenges for this and this summer we saw some of the big rivers in China run nearly dry uhyou know water levels were dropping drastically also true in Europe you know the Rhine River and the the sun wereboth at his historically low levels this summer the Rhine was even closed to traffic at one point it's the busiestbusiest river in the world for industrial traffic so these issues are not really laying out in the futurethey're quite clear now what do you anticipate in the next five years how will this problem get worse was this hotsummer the coldest summer we're going to have for the next five years head of the future when it comes to thePollutionclimate change and biodiversity loss and and we the humankind is expert in inmessing around here at this world and polluting the world uh it's not only theclimate change but if we're thinking about for example the Apollos 99 of theworld population are living in the areas where the air quality is poor 99and and we are dumping like 80 percent uh well from used uh at waste Warden noton not traded so untreated 80 percent of the water is poured back to the lakesand seas without uh any treatments eighty percent umand and this the numbers are like amazing amazing so we we have brilliantchallenges and I I think the one big challenge is because we think all we think about is economic growth we'vetraded off profits for the lives of humans because like let's look let's face it 10 millionpeople die every year from pollution air quality pollution this is not this we'renot talking fossil fuels in its role in climate here we're just talking about deaths from air pollution air qualityFossil Fuelsactually fossil fuels are one reason of the deaths and yeah and and we you know you couldargue that we had the technology to in the 70s we could accelerated solar andrenewable energy production if our priority was society and the health ofour citizens then we would have prioritized that over burning fossil fuels and we didn't so we made adecision to trade off human lives for uh fossil fuel profits um and that is Ithink that says a lot about the heart of the problem with capitalism in a climateaware world that the world is gonna if we push for sustainability and things like that we're going to have to changechange our view of capitalism I I think that's pretty pretty necessary there wasEconomyone uncle aboutpeople to have green clothes so the economy will grow and we will be sustainableis it really possible or is the growth always the thing that we to sort of achieveor should be decrold or you know decrease the economy would this be oneone of the options I don't have the answers for that negative growth yeah yeah economic contraction yeah butHopeum I think that there is still hope I want to believe that there is still hope and and there are very good exampleswhat what with a good achievements that the human kind has had for example whenwhen we think about the odd Zone uh whole in the odd Zone yeahwe were successful successful and actually uh we had the uh was it Montreal agreementParis Agreementabout that and where the CFC uh compounds were forbidden to use and thatwas actually one very good agreement when we think about the climate change because the CFC uh compounds are muchmuch worse when we think about the carbon dioxide or Amazon uh when wethink about how how much they are warming the invite the climate so that was actually something that wehave done and to be honest I'm very happy that today now uh the president ofthe United States is really thinking about the climate change thank you for that and I'm so happy about that Parisagreement I I found an interesting fact uh um yesterday actually vultures are a bigcontributor to reduction in CO2 emissions because they all of thethe decaying animals so there you go I didn't know that but yeahyou talk yes we need more vultures obviously um I thought we had enough and whilst we yeahI knew that was coming too Alina um you know you talked also about the EcoRefugee situation and we've seen some um varying estimates to this you know 300million to over a billion Eco refugees some as high as 1.6 billionum we we you know I mean Europe has had to deal with refugees over the last fewyears with the Syrian crisis and so forth but you know we're talking about a scale of influx of immigrants that thatwe've you know that isn't even equivalent to what we saw during the second world war or or things like thatit's just almost mind-blowing how how is that going to change this issue ofglobal governance you know you talked about the the CFC uh you know the mantra real Accord and things like that wherewe came together we're obviously going to need to come together how do we solve this problem of Eco refugees or how doyou think the planet's going to respond well that's a again that's a good question if I would have the answer forthat I would be very happy because I I think that actually uh one way to cope with that is to reallyto act on the climate change now and to try to find the solutions we have toadjust to the climate change but we have to prevent for it to happen uh and andum do really we we have the means we we know how to do that so we have to changefrom fossil fuels to renewable fuels and and that's one way and then we have tofor example plant trees and forests so these are the two ways to do that andthen we of course have the technological solutions but I wouldn't want to go there when we are thinking about climateengineering because that's a risky business I would say we can't know what is happening if we are putting sulfuricacid to the to the fuel of airplanes and and putting that to the air so that is oneway to do this but I I wouldn't Chemtrails yeah yeah that would bereally absolutely um you know this geoengineering um is obviously something that you knowwe we are already doing but we've got to switch the intent to being positive youknow uh yeah yeah yeah that's that's true incidental right there's um a great book called the ministry of the futureby Kim Stanley Robinson he gets into a lot of these potential I don't um you know areas of geoengineering hopefullywe'll get him on the show soon you know Robert Robertson press can I now say a little bit about my background because IElinas backgroundwant to tell you what's what's in my background yo okay my background is in chemical engineering so uh I'm master ofscience and that's and then I did my PhD thesis about weak signals and that was about future so weak signals inorganizational Futures learning and now I'm doing my second PSD um to the National Defense University ofFinland and it's about how do you science speaks in in National Defenseorganizations anticipation process so that's my back from well I want toclarify for the listeners that you were talking when you said uh weak signals you meant weak signals wait yeah yes noInformation hygieneno that's okaylet's talk a little bit about signal Theory and information because uh quite a lot of what you're referring to uhwhen you talk about climate change and and planning for the future is very dependent on information and inparticular information hygiene you know the idea of keeping your information clear being having reliable informationreliable facts but I think it's safe to say that here in the United States but also in many other countries around theworld facts have been under assault facts have been under a kind of there's been a kindof Siege on on the world effects before the break you shared with us a formula for thinking about the future uh yousaid that the future can be envisioned as facts Plus in imagination and I love that idea because it brings in that kindof creativity when you get into forecasting and strategy and planning and scenario planning it relies a littlebit 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 usedbut let's be clear that methodology is in Jeopardy when we don't have solidfacts that we can all agree upon and let's add one more notion here the assault on information in the UnitedStates we often will attribute it to adversaries uh you know countries like Russia or perhaps China would say ohthey're the ones that are polluting our environment with fake news but let's be really clear this has been a function of fossil fuelcompanies for many many years preceding geopolitics the fossil fuel companiesfilled us with disinformation about climate change they did everything they possibly could to minimize the threatand then sometimes it presented completely implausible alternative scenarios just to clutter the atmosphereand confuse people talk to me a little bit about the world of disinformation asviewed from Finland because I know this has been a big issue in the whole Nordic region not just Finland but also inEstonia Latvia Lithuania and all the way in Poland you've been at the Forefront I guess of an information War for manyyears yeah well I have to say that's one way I think about information or information influence operations soInformation influencethere's no border in that it doesn't uh you know there's no border now in thisworld because we have the internet so it's affecting to every one of us and Iwould say that you in United States have had your part from Russian informationinfluence in in 2016. definitely in your uh presidentialelections and that is saying how effective way that is to influence andwhen we are thinking about and and when I'm studying now military studies and thinking about how to wage war in thefuture it's it's about it's not only in the air or uh sea and and land it's alsocyber and information influenced then it's also space so we have different dimensions when we are thinking about uhhow to how to wage a war so information influence is actually something that Iwrote my latest scientific article it was about how to use science speaks andto think about future information influence operations in war and that was quite a nice article but really yesthat's a big problem I think everywhere in the world and umbut but one thing that I'm very actually trustful is that when people have theEducationeducation level high they might have better tendency to recognize that thisis actually uh not true and this is true so I think in that sense also theeducation is one um a tool for fighting back for this information Warin Finland we are very good in education yeah no I I you know the nordicsgenerally I think uh have got a really good approach to education and quite Innovativeum 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 knowSocrates Plato story of the state ship actually um you know which which was talking about the philosopher king but ThomasJefferson used that to to say that actually the best way to have ademocracy in the United States was to have Highly Educated citizens and that's why education should be free becausethat would maintain a a informed discourse around policyum and welcome to Finland because education is free here when you go to universityFree Educationit's totally free that's why me as a child of a parent who didn't haveeducation almost at all I have I'm doing my second PSD thesis here in Finland andthat's that's a good thing here because you don't have to pay for the education it's free for everyoneif your parents are rich or poor is free for you I think that's an economic Advantagepersonally and I think um free education this is core infrastructure yeahin the United States we have one approach to everything we have one answer for every problem which is thefree market will solve the problem and so instead of making an education a freely available to everyone orHealthcare making that available to everyone which is what a lot of uh industrialized countries do wealthycountries 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'swhere it brings us right back to this information because as soon as you have people with a vested interest they'regoing to start to pollute the information ecosystem with the information propaganda that uh thatfavors their interest so here we have it we've got this kind of hairball um all these matters is you got to havesome pure information in order to make a good decision and when you have modeled information or facts that are in disputethen it's very difficult for society to Grapple with that and come to a determination that everyone can agreewith that is a big challenge yeah Elena if you could we love to have our futuristguests talk to us about the far future and I realize your focus is much more practical pragmatic on the near futurebut go with us for a second indulge us please share with us your vision for afuture out there what gets you most excited you'll be talking about you talked about synthetic biology forinstance as a technology you're keen on give us a forecast if you will go for it well uh I will tell about my latestQuantum AIscience fiction book because in that there was a podcast about future and actually it was it was a book that therewas a Storyteller and it was a quantum computer artificial intelligence one wayI think about the artificial intelligence it's very good to combine that with the idea of quantum Computingwhich is then like exploding the issue of artificial intelligence but thisquantum computer was really affecting to people's lives it was reading people'sminds and ideas and it was also affecting the people's dreams whenpeople were sleeping so people streams and uh so this was the story and I hopethat this uh this I would call it like artificial uh Quantum entity in thefuture would be kind to people it's the positive future and some of ourbig problems you know it's interesting because there's a lot of research about Consciousness right now that thinks thatConsciousness has a Quantum effect or is a Quantum effect you know and so it youknow you wonder whether to get super intelligent AIS are we going to need to integrate Quantum with AI because rightnow we're fairly we're we're a fair way off from that I don't know of anyresearchers working on Quantum AI right now no but maybe that's something weshould research but that's really uh big thing in the future and the second thing is really this um synthetic biology howwould that change our future tell me what you mean when you saysynthetic biology for the benefit of the audience just give us a definition synthetic biology is like well we couldSynthetic Biologycall that extreme Gene manipulation but this is something combining like we wellwe could like create new um creatures by synthetic biology andum for example with a synthetic biology I could have my dog glowing in the darkand if I go to the well uh Black Winter finish winter night outside and I havemy black Labrador Retriever and it would glow in the dark and it's a very similar specific usecase I remember working in Finland at one point and would you have a long time agoand 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 doesthe Sun come up and he said April yeah yeahdo you think that Finland will breed reindeers with with glowing red noseswell actually yeah yeah that would be I right actually these prey things thatWrap Upyou can spray on the reindeer and it will start to glow in the dark so yeah there you go yeahyeah unfiction fun vision of the future uh well uh Elena thank you very much forjoining us on the show it has been a great pleasure to hear your perspectives uh always interested in the good voicesfrom other places outside the United States sometimes people think that you know at least Americans think that wedecide the future that's not really always the case the future unfolds differently in different places and it's useful to get those perspectives thankyou very much for joining us today where can people find out more about you Elena uh well www.elina.comthat's my web pages www.whatsnext.fi is this the second onewhat's next yeah I have the what's next Consulting so this is my company yeah very cool you know Brett before we wrapup I wanted to point out one more thing that's actually quite exciting um two of our previous guests TonyParisi and Mark Pesci who both spoke to us uh about 3D worlds and the metaversehave released a new podcast and I've checked it out it's really quite good so I recommend that folks who are listeningcheck out a brief history of the metaverse which is available as a podcast on all yourregular podcast Outlets from two futurist guests that joined us on this show in the past Mark Pesci and TonyParisi so do check it out if you get a chance to download the the short history of the metaverse and awesomethank you for asking me to come here it has been very uh to talk with you it's always good to getfuturists together you know we're you know we we love to talk about the future that's why we chose to do this podcastthanks for joining us this week everybody um you know if you like the podcast don't forget to leave us a review oniTunes or Google play or podcaster Stitcher you know wherever it is that you download the Spotify you know whereit is you download your episodes from leave us a review that helps other people findum the podcast and uh or you know publish it on social media you know umgive 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 findfuturists in those particular areas um but uh a quick shout out of thanks toour team that helps us put the show together each week Elizabeth severins Kevin hershamum Sylvie and Carlo on the social media side and the team at provoke who help us put it together as well as the teambehind us supporting us on the futurist thanks again for listening and we will see youin the future [Music] well that's it for the futurists thisweek if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share it with people in your community and don'tforget to leave us a five star review that really helps other people find the show and you can ping us anytime onInstagram and Twitter at futuristpodcast for the folks that you'd like to see onthe show or the questions you'd like us to ask thanks for joining and as always we'll see you in the future[Music]

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