Robot Rights

Can robots have rights? Should robots have rights? These deceptively big questions regarding "roborights" are shaping up to be among the Big Issues debated by law makers, scientists, engineers, and philosophers in 2019 - and far into the future. I read David J. Gunkel's Robot Rights to get a handle on where academia is "at" … Continue reading Robot Rights

Scale

"The pseudoscience of planning seems almost neurotic in its determination to imitate emphatic failure and ignore empire success." - The Life and Death of American Cities   Scale by Geoffrey West may not be the easiest read (it has a highly academic style, complete with lots of highly academic jabs at different academic fields - … Continue reading Scale

We

"Those two, in paradise were given a choice: happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness. There was no alternative." - We I'm really enjoying retro-science fiction at the moment. The ideas imagined in science fiction of years past planted seeds in more practical minds who went on to shape the future that we live in … Continue reading We

Enlightenment Now (Yes, please, and thank you)

Apparently Reason, Enlightenment, Science, and Human Progress are controversial again. (If the conversations I've been having on Twitter lately are anything to go by, ideas such as 1) absolute progress is better than relative progress, 2) that things are not all bad right now, in fact they have never been better for most people across … Continue reading Enlightenment Now (Yes, please, and thank you)

Cat's cradle

Cat’s Cradle

"What could possibly go wrong?" The more I read and learn about science and technology, the more often I think that we don't give enough attention to that question: What. Could. Go. Wrong. Most technology is dangerous in the wrong hands, and as technology becomes more powerful, the what could go wrong  is only escalating. … Continue reading Cat’s Cradle

Nudge

Nudge is a book about "Libertarian Paternalism" - in other words about manipulating people into making better choices that are in their best interests (according to some centralised authority anyway). Tautology aside, the book is a decent take on the more practical (or evil, depending on your point of view) applications of behavioural economics. The … Continue reading Nudge

On Writing

 “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot, learn, unlearn and relearn”. - American Futurist, Alvin Toffler In a world where the half-life of skills is shrinking, we have to get comfortable with the idea of learning and re-learning, just like Alvin Toffler says … Continue reading On Writing

Ficciones

Ficciones is a collection of some of Jorge Louis Borges most compelling, philosophical (fictional) fantasies. The mind-expanding Library of Babble and the Garden of Forking Paths are among the outstanding short stories contained in the book. Borges's gift is to take complex concepts about subjects as obtuse as quantum physics, multiple futures, time travel, and … Continue reading Ficciones

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Anyone interested in the future is (or should be) familiar with Yuval Noah Harari's work. He is one of the great philosopher-historians of our time and he poses the questions all of us should be asking ourselves and each other. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is his latest offering. It's not my favourite book … Continue reading 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Zero to One

"A great company is a conspiracy to change the world." "Darwinism may be a fine theory in other contexts, but in startups, intelligent design works best." "Computers are compliments for humans, not substitutes. The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make … Continue reading Zero to One