Map #37: (Whose) Future of (What) Work

Says the Futurist: “The future is just over the horizon!” To which the social scientist replied: “Isn’t ‘the horizon’ an imaginary line that moves farther away as you approach...

It’s a new world. Making a map?

Map #35: Fake News—Or Honest Propaganda?

“I think Trump may be one of those figures in history who appear from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretenses.” -Henry Kissinger, Financial Times, July 2018 It’s been a long, hot summer. And I spent most of it far away from...

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Map #34: The American Dream—Or Fantasyland?

After my last letter (which took a deep dive into my friends’ research on the “power of doubt”) and with Donald Trump here in Europe for meetings with NATO, the Queen of England and Vladimir Putin all in the same week, now felt like the ideal...

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Map #33: The Power Of Doubt

Last week, I helped open OXSCIE 2018, a global summit on the future of education at Oxford University. It was a special event, focussed mainly on challenges in the developing world. Delegates were a balance of education policy makers, academic researchers, donors and...

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Map #32: Homo Hubris? (Part 2 of 2)

Technology drives change. Does it also drive progress?  Those eight words sum up a lot of the conversation going on in society at the moment. Some serious head-scratching about the whole relationship between “technology” and “progress” seems like a good idea. In Part...

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Map #32: Homo Hubris? (Part 1 of 2)

On the heels of my recent foray into A.I., I’ve been reading a bunch of recent books on our coming technological utopia: Yuval Harari’s Homo Deus, Peter Diamandis’s Abundance, Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now and Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near. They’re quick...

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Map #31: A.I. — Humanity’s Lab Rat Or Robot Overlord?

’I have always believed that any scientific concept can be demonstrated to people with no specialist knowledge or scientific education.’ Richard Feynman, Nobel physicist (1918-1988) I feel like the whole field of AI research could take a cue from Richard Feynman. Why...

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Map #30: Violence, Conformity and a Toronto Van Attack

I was going to write about something completely different this week. Then I saw the news headline that a van had plowed through a mile of sidewalk in Toronto, killing nearly a dozen people and injuring dozens of others. It suddenly felt wrong to continue with the work...

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Map #28: A Higher Loyalty?

I was in Washington, D.C. this past week—the talk-shop capital of the world. I attended a conference on the future of war and spoke at a conference on the future of energy. In between, I took in Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings on Capitol Hill—and even found time to binge...

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Map #27: Fixing Fake News

I wonder, do you ever share my feeling that ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’—these phrases that get thrown about every day by the commentariat—cloud our understanding rather than clarify it? To me, such phrases—frequently used, fuzzily defined—are like unprocessed items...

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