There is little doubt that accelerating and ever-more impactful advances in science and technology will play an increasingly significant part in our everyday lives. The below global drives of change highlight how rapid advances are altering the way we might live and work and the way in which we manage our relationship with technology.

The role of a futurist is growing in prominence, and demand for our input is rising. Businesses and governments increasingly see 'ownership of the future' as as a key strategic goal. It is now common for futurists to be called in to advise businesses, governments, NGOs and - increasingly - individual clients, about our rapidly evolving reality and how to navigate the emerging landscape. Good futures work and foresight research involve the use of many different tools and techniques to identify and analyse the forces, trends, developments, and ideas shaping the future. Here we explore some of the key processes that a futurist employs and some typical applications of foresight.

Here are six upcoming futures focused events from around the world that have captured our attention.

1) 28th February – 8th March: Re/Work: Second Global Deep Learning in Healthcare Summit – London, UK
The Deep Learning in Healthcare Summit will explore recent breakthroughs in technical advancements and healthcare applications, from algorithms that learn to recognise complex patterns within rich medical data, to analysing real world evidence for personalised medicine, to discovering the sequence specificities of DNA- binding proteins and how it can aid genome diagnostics.

2) 1st March – 3rd March: Lift:Lab – Geneva, Switzerland
The Lift:Lab is an innovative workplace designed to help you bring your ideas and projects to the next level through hands-on building and experimenting. The lab has designed a 2.5 day program to allow individuals and organizations to tackle business and societal challenges using collaborative innovation. Startups, NGOs, Academics, Government organisations, large corporations, SMEs are joining the lab to respond to their own challenge.

3) 1st March – 3rd March: SRA Policy Forum: Risk Governance for Key Enabling Technologies - Venice, Italy
The SRA Policy Forum will provide discussion of current initiatives that are centered on refining the risk governance of emerging technologies through the integration of traditional risk analytic tools. The Forum will develop summaries of current activities of multiple efforts in the United States, European Union, Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere, and will indicate opportunities for future meetings and research. The event is targeted for professionals from research and academic institutions as well as from industry, governmental agencies, and other relevant organizations. Researchers from different fields are welcome to participate, such as nanotechnology, industrial and medical biotechnology, synthetic biology, advanced materials, and advanced manufacturing technologies.

4) 2nd March: Education, Humanities and Society Development 2017 International Conference – Washington, DC
The 2017 International Conference on Education, Humanities, and Society Development aims to bring together educators, researchers, academics, and scholar students to exchange and share their experiences, new ideas, and research results about all aspects of Education, Leadership, Social Sciences, Humanities and Liberal Arts, Management and Governance, and discuss the practical challenges encountered and the solutions adopted.

5) 6th March – 7th March: WeConnect: Software Asset Management Strategies 2017 - Berlin, Germany
How to save costs when buying and installing software, and reduce compliance risks. 14 World Café Sessions, Keynotes, 40+ Best Practices & Benchmarks, Icebreaker Session, 12 Challenge your Peers Sessions, Awards

6) 6th March - 7th March: WeConnect: Smart Mobility – Defining the future of automotive driving - Berlin, Germany
The annual industry show Automotive Tech.AD Berlin forms a combination of qualified, inspirational expert keynotes and case studies, interactive world café sessions, private discussion rounds and well moderated networking sessions. Discover the next era of mobility – now. Automotive Tech.AD is the world’s leading knowledge exchange platform bringing together all stakeholders who play an active role in the vehicle automation scene. The event provides you with precise insights into new business prospects and technical strategies while offering you the chance to discuss specific roadmaps for vehicle automation.

We are at the start of a dramatic reshaping of the economy, the business world, and the future of jobs and employment. Governments need to start thinking about the implications for national policy, economic strategy and ensuring a fair society.

The current maelstrom around Uber drivers being classed as employees in the UK is a fantastic case example of the kind of complex problem scenario that will be played out many tens of thousands of time all around the world over the next five years as we try to create a sustainable next economy.

Science fiction is increasingly becoming science fact and exponential technological changes are rapidly changing our culture, business and society.

Much of it is extremely promising and indeed has the potential to solve our biggest challenges, such as energy, water, diseases and global warming. But at the same time we are facing a myriad of unintended consequences such as the likelihood of widespread technological unemployment, a near-total loss of privacy and an overall dramatic dependency on technology.

In these drivers of change we explore some big picture views of how our world could play out in the next two decades and the potential implications for individuals, society, governments, and business. These drivers examine how the key economic, social and technological forces, emerging ideas, and developments discussed in the rest of the book could come together to drive fundamental change. In particular they highlight critical current and future technology revolutions that could disrupt and reshape how we live, how we govern and the future purpose, role, nature, and conduct of business.

In this post we dive into some amazing and controversial futures finds in social media. An in-ear, real time translator straight out of sci-fi blasted across social media these past weeks, but is it everything its creators are claiming? Plus, 3D printing is going metal, banks are still behind on the times, AI dips its employment toes into the legal profession and physics, the obsolescence of voting via Big Data, and a bit more.