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...

It’s a new world. Making a map?

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

Map #25: Has China Got It All Figured Out?

The Dictator Who Dethroned Democracy? These days, the commentariat is talking a lot about China and what China’s rising confidence means for the world—and for the democratic world in particular. In almost all these conversations, at some point someone will mention...

read more

Map #24: Voyages Into The Unknown—And The Familiar

Donald Trump can become President of the United States. Boris Johnson can become Foreign Secretary of Britain. Silvio Berlusconi, whose bongo bongo parties once secured his status as the most debauched leader in the democratic world, is back on top of Italian...

read more

Map #23: Here Come The Avatars

Just a short letter this week. I’m doing a bunch of interviews and podcasts in the U.S. at the moment, to coincide with the U.S. paperback release of Age of Discovery (Revised Edition). It’s hard to look at events in the U.S.—ranging from the Florida Parkland school...

read more