"Communities" is our regular column about just that. It is everything you need to know about a given social organization, group, charity, club, etc. in a convenient, easy-to-read package.
In a Nutshell
The study and prediction of the future is the work of futurists. Futurists of Shanghai is a small community that gathers to do exactly that through discussions and speaker events. They have over 400 members on Meetup.com and events draw between 15-50+ attendees. They discuss a wide range of topics that ask how emerging technologies, from AI to breakthroughs in medicine, will affect society. Many of their topics look at exponential changes that they expect to happen in the next 20-30 years.
Futurists of Shanghai was founded in January of 2015 by David Loew, a Shanghai-based photographer originally from Chicago. At the time, there wasn't a space to discuss future technology and its ramifications, so David started a group on Meetup and began hosting small get-togethers.
David says that everyone is a futurist. We all look into our future and make decisions based on our expectations and predictions. "A futurist just looks a little farther."
The group has generated interest among various walks of life. Their members include people from the tech industry to the arts. A large percentage of members are English-speaking locals and many are in their 20s to 30s.
What They Do
Futurists of Shanghai meets once or twice a month to discuss technology's impact on the future. They run two types of events -- small get-togethers for discussions and larger events with speakers and networking. Most events are free, but some of the speaker events, which require larger event space and include wine and other beverages have a cover charge. Past topics have included artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and immortality.
But discussions aren't just solely focused on the technological aspects of the future. The group asks the big questions on how it'll affect the future of human society. Will artificial intelligence be an existential threat or will it bring in a new millennium of prosperity? How will virtual reality change our perception of the world? How will developments in life extension change our values?
One previous event had a speaker dive into Elon Musk's plan to colonize Mars. Their next event, happening on Sunday, January 15, looks at what happens when automation takes over the workforce and the rise of the entrepreneurs.
How To Get Involved
Joining Futurists of Shanghai is easy. Just sign up on their Meetup page or attend one of their events. The group is open to anyone. There are about six core members that help out with planning events, which you can work your way into if you want to be more involved. They are also always on the lookout for speakers that are experts in their field who can speak about the big changes ahead.
If you're at all into technology, science fiction, or Elon Musk, this is the group to check out.