“We are at an important evolutionary turning point in the history of our species. More than just a technological Singularity, we need a shift in perspective, and we need to harness the power of the human imagination.”
Benjamin J Butler is an Asia-based Futurist, Writer, and Speaker. He left England 20 years ago and has been ‘on the road ever since,’ accumulating a unique international perspective to advise leaders on where the world might be heading.
He is a member of the faculty of Futur/io, the European Institute of Exponential Technologies & Desirable Futures, a member of the Global Future Council on Computing at the World Economic Forum, and a futurist with the UN’s Resilience Frontiers initiative. This year he launched a new unconference series called Future Explorers.
Known for his ability to forecast cycles or paradigm shifts in financial markets, society, technology and geo-politics, Benjamin has been a trusted sounding board and advisor for many leaders, coaching them through uncertainty in both their business and life; and to cultivate a futurist mindset.
Previously he worked in international investment looking at trends and patterns in the world economy and human affairs, working at various investment banks, hedge funds, and also writing the International Column at Dow Theory Letters with Wall Street legend Richard Russell who started it in 1958.
Among others, Benjamin worked for Nomura Securities for 5 years as a Senior Executive. He was Executive Director at UBS and Managing Partner at Mind Fund. In 2011, he became strategist and advisor for the CIO of a global Macro Hedge Fund and his personal Family Office on the deployment of capital globally from currencies and private equity to stocks.
Benjamin earned his Master’s Degree in Arts in 2016 in Holistic Science from Schumacher College with his Dissertation on new approaches to future thinking: quantum theory and futurism. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in 1999 in Japanese and Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, at the University of London. He also attended King’s College London, Columbia Business School at Columbia University, and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
One of Benjamin’s recent passions has been the pursuit of the Holy Grail of creativity and the quest for self-realisation. In addition to a period of investing in Silicon Valley, he spent a number of years travelling around the world meeting visionaries, entrepreneurs, creatives, martial artists, and even Zen Masters and Himalayan Oracles (!), with the goal of discerning states of mind that lead to insight. He believes that the harnessing of collective intelligence will result in a new form of Enlightenment.
He has given keynote talks at international conferences such as the World Knowledge Forum, MIPIM, the Asia Pacific Financial Forum, the Chinese government on the future of finance at the Tianfu Financial Forum, and the UN’s Resilience Frontiers. He holds a BA in Economics and Japanese from SOAS, University of London and an MSc from Schumacher College, with a dissertation focused on new scientific approaches to futurism. He has also read law at Kings College London and Investment Management at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His book, “The Futurist” is due out this year; a very human-centred dialogue about the future.
Benjamin has lived in Asia for 20 years, speaks Japanese, and is a student of Chinese philosophy. He is based out of Hong Kong and has worked extensively in Asia.
“Schopenhauer once said that life makes no sense forwards, only backwards. I’ve come to understand much about my life looking back – my calling for travel and self-discovery and my fascination with the human journey. And all my really stupid and painful mistakes. Now I feel called to share my trails and tribulations, my sense of where humanity is heading, and to coach others in these fast-changing times. Through writing, speaking and coaching I hope to help others find their true self and purpose.” You can read about my alternative resume here:
Member, Global Future Council on Computing , World Economic Forum
Faculty of Futur.io
Emerging Future Institute, Founder and Futurist
External Strategist to a macro hedge fund and family office , Blue Sky in Australia
Dow Theory Letters, Wrote about the future and financial markets with Wall St legend Richard Russell
Advisor to the School of Design, Polytechnic University of Hong Kong, Co-Creation and Creativity
Mind Fund, Co-Founder and Managing Partner. Invested in California-based start ups and also early investor in Bytedance (most valuable start up in the world)
UBS, Executive Director, Equities, Hong Kong
Edge Capital, Portfolio Manager
Nomura Securities, Senior Executive Manager (Equivalent to a Managing Director),. Trusted advisor to CIOs and Fund Managers around the world. Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Morgan Stanley, New graduate program trained in New York City and sent to Tokyo. Equities Department.
Monbusho Scholar, University of Osaka – Wrote a Dissertation in Japanese about the Asian Financial Crisis
SOAS, University of London, Japanese and Economics
Kings College London, Dickson Poon School of Law
Embley Park School (now Hampshire Collegiate School)
My experience is that many people are confused about the future as we face several tsunamis of change. Clearly as the age of Robots and AI is upon us many are fearful about their jobs. But its so much more than that. Exponential technologies will affect every facet of our lives and the world of 2030 is going to be very different from today. In addition, political and social tsunamis of change are upon us. Our old institutions are no longer capable of functioning in the emerging new world.
My experience in exploring the future could be useful as you endeavour to look forwards and imagine tomorrow’s world. And perhaps more importantly, to guide you on your journey into the future. I have been coaching and advising leaders throughout my career on how to deal with uncertainty and the psychology of change. I have come to realise that finding your unique purpose and passion in life, is not merely a luxury but essential in these challenging times.