Does Democracy Still Work?

As you know, I like to talk about our collective need to “make new maps” to better navigate this age we live. Another way to think about this same need is to question the fitness of our “social technologies”. An economist and historian at Columbia University, Richard...

Questing for Economic Utopia (Part 2)

Society does not serve the economy. The economy serves society. That seems obvious, and yet core to redrawing the maps that guide us toward “prosperity”. The first Renaissance proved powerfully that society’s progress is a bigger concept than economic progress....

Questing for Economic Utopia (Part 1)

This year is the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia, a book that, in the midst of the political, social and technological upheavals of the first Renaissance, imagined a radically different society. “Utopia” literally means “no-place”, and over time the word has...

Mundus Novus

I hope everyone had a great summer (or winter, depending on your hemisphere). It was a busy few months of writing, researching, travel, reflecting and speaking for me. A common narrative nowadays is that we are flooded—overwhelmed—with data and information. But this...

Montezuma’s Bane (a.k.a. Fake News)

I’ve been in Australia for the past couple weeks to write, to research—and occasionally, to share with other people what I’m writing and researching about. Highlights included a talk at the Committee for Adelaide on June 26 and a keynote at DATA61+LIVE in...

Civilization Starts Now

For months now, I’ve been trading letters with Doug Robertson, author of two impactful books in the philosophy of science: The New Renaissance: Computers and the Next Level of Civilization (1998) and Phase Change: The Computer Revolution in Science and Mathematics...

Artificial Intelligence is like Riding a Bicycle

One of the hottest stories here in China last week received far less coverage outside the country: the Human-vs-Machine Go Showdown, between the world’s top Go player, Ke Jie, and Google’s AlphaGO AI machine. I’ve met Gary Kasparov a few times, and...

Grinding a New Lens

The world always makes sense. But it doesn’t always make sense to us. Shock—a seemingly relentless theme nowadays—is personal proof that whatever lens we’ve been looking through to see the world no longer shows things as they really are. We need to shatter that...

One Week, Two Flawed Visions

Trump’s anti-globalist vision of putting ‘America first’ to ‘Make America great again’ is explicitly outdated. Such a lens is a clear error in political leadership, since even if the Trump administration successfully recreates an era of protectionism, it cannot...