Why Nations Fail

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty, is a very big book that uses rather a lot of pages to outline a very basic idea: Bad Suff Happens to Countries Which Are a) Run Badly b) by Bad People. That's it. (Also, if you don't know much about global political and economic … Continue reading Why Nations Fail

Illustration by Alexis Emma

The Problem With Big Gov’s War on Big Tech

Big Government has declared war on Big Tech. The EU copyright directive wants to "control" the internet. The EU has fined Google billions for (essentially) being too big and successful. The UK wants a tech-tax. US Senator Elisabeth Warren wants to dismantle big-tech monopolies. The Californian Governor wants big tech to pay people a data … Continue reading The Problem With Big Gov’s War on Big Tech

death of the gods carl miller bronwyn williams futurist futurenomics

Death of the Gods

"Our opinions and beliefs, what we hold to be true and what we think is right and wrong have all become strategic objectives... Each of us has been brought - face-to-face - to a new front line." The (very readable) Death of the Gods by Carl Miller is a whirlwind overview of the biggest Big … Continue reading Death of the Gods

envy a theory of social behaviour

Envy – A Theory of Social Behaviour

"Social justice means that we deny ourselves many things so that others may have to do without them as well, or what is the same thing, many not be able to ask for them." ~ Sigmund Freud (emphasis my own) Helmut Schoeck's theory of social behaviour focuses on Envy as the key driving force behind … Continue reading Envy – A Theory of Social Behaviour

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

A Century of Retro-Futurism Reviewed

I love retro-futurism - who doesn't? Here's a random selection of some of my favourite past predictions of the future over the 20th century ... and what we got instead.   We were promised space holidays: We're almost there with Virgin Galactic:   We were promised zip-line zeppelins: We got passenger drones (only for the … Continue reading A Century of Retro-Futurism Reviewed

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