Guest speaker surfs futureworld
Depending on how well adjusted you are, futurologist Ian Pearson hovers in a space somewhere between advancement and Armageddon.
His predictions that it will be possible to construct a conscious computer with phenomenal human intellect before the year 2020; that zombies will zoom out of fact into fiction; that a smart yogurt harnessing bacteria could have as much raw processing power as all the human brains in Europe don’t so much require suspending belief as keeping an open mind.
But Pearson – pioneer of Futurizon and guest speaker at Business Weekly’s 21st Anniversary East of England Business Awards dinner at Queens’ College, Cambridge – admits future gazing can be scary to contemplate.
Toss into the mix the fact that he was given an Award for Excellence by the US Army not so long ago for inventing 10 weapons of mass destruction for a conference on mad scientists and you might conjure thoughts of a Bond villain.
But that’s his job; pushing the packet; trampling down fences and frontiers; pricking pretension; charting potential developments in technology, business, society, politics and the environment.
He gave a predictably lively and entertaining address to the Awards guests that showed the thin dividing line between the disruptive and the disturbing.
The factor that makes Pearson a ‘must follow’ is that his predictions are rooted in science. He has been passionate about science since he was in short pants and is an engineer, not a boffin.
He estimates that 85 per cent of his predictions have been confirmed and doesn’t dwell too long on the 15 per cent that missed the mark.
As inventor of text messaging and the active contact lens, and with a track record of having been BT’s full-time futurologist from 1991 to 2007, Pearson is a proven pathfinder with an enviable track record.
We urged him to follow his imagination in addressing the Awards dinner and he did so brilliantly.
Ian Pearson is based in Ipswich although Futurizon is international in its outlook and influence. Visit the website for more information and videos of his presentations.