This is an age of transformative technologies. Artificial intelligence, ‘the singularity’, 3 and 4-D printing, the Internet of Things, cyber systems, quantum mechanics and outer space exploration all reflect potentially exponential changes in the ways that human beings will live their lives in the future.

Preparing for that future needs to begin now. One step in that direction is to have a better sense of what the consequences of such technologies might be on a range of factors such as governance, social structures, livelihoods and security. And, yet, it is quite likely that those perspectives will depend upon the experiences and attitudes of those being asked the question. Therefore, a second step is to see to what extent those with alternative perceptions differ about the world in which they live and which they foresee.

A third step begins with identifying commonalities as well as differences, and then to identify ways that such differences can be bridged and commonalities re-enforced. With this in mind, the Baselines & Paradigms: Bridging Generational Divides project (the Generational project), as the title suggests, explored through a series of plenary and working group sessions differences and commonalities based upon different age and cultural backgrounds.

This report concerns the results of the project’s first trial event, held in London, between 28-29 March 2018, which brought together ‘participants’ and ‘experts’. The former consisted of 18 people, evenly divided between generational and gender groups — 20 to 25 and 55 to 65+ years of age, 9 male and 9 female. Of this number, 12 came from the United Kingdom, and the remaining 6 from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The latter came from business and research centres heavily involved in emerging technologies.