Are patents still a useful invention to carry forward into the future? Unaffordable price increases in the medical industry (where patent hoarding is a common practice where well-funded firms stock up on pre-emptive patents - i.e. patents for hypothetical future medtech innovations, new drugs, and medical devices) indicate that abuse of patents might be part … Continue reading Have patents outlived their usefulness?
Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - based, of course (loosely) on the infamous, real-life story of the Manson Family's murder of Sharon Tait and her friends story gives us a glimpse of the dark side of happy hippie culture - and how counter-culture-culture can turn into a cult. Recently, I was asked to co-author … Continue reading On cults, climate and culture
One of the big trends and socio-economic trajectories I'm focused on right now is the concept of how life is becoming untethered from reality. I'm not just talking about virtual / augmented reality and literal virtual escapism; and fake news and deep fakes either (although that's indeed an important part of it), rather I'm talking … Continue reading Nothing is real, everything is possible
As deep fake technologies "improve", they now have the ability to manipulate the past as well as the future. We can no longer be sure that a historical document, photograph or even video footage has not been manipulated to change history (in ways not even Orwell's Big Brother could have imagined). Case in point, here … Continue reading Can we build a shared future without a shared past?
Eric Hoffer was an American dock worker. An everyman. Not a rich man, not a man you would have noticed in the streets in the 1930s and 1940s. One of the nameless, voiceless masses we live and work with every day. But he was more than that. He was also a keen observer of human … Continue reading The true believer
When fallible human priests fail to fill the void, and reveal themselves to be more human than divine; we turn to man-made synthetic deities. Japan's robot priest confirms that we are looking for new gods for our new age - made in our own image, yet perfectly, and programmable. (And not all that different from … Continue reading (A)I Am
Reflections on the Revolution in France... a book written by a rich Englishman of leisure, critiquing the working-class French Revolution from the other side of the pond... Revealing, (although perhaps more revealing of Burke himself than the author may have intended) as much for what it gets wrong about the French revolution itself (Burke was … Continue reading Reflections on the Revolution in France
Shirley Jackson's collection of dystopian short-form fiction The Lottery (and other stories) is a stark reminder of the fragility, banality and horror of the un-scrutinised human condition. It's all too easy to slip into group-think that priorities the "greater good" over the individual life. And once we have accepted that, it is a slippery slope to treating people … Continue reading The Lottery
"They have a phenomenal memory. If you were to read them a twenty-volume encyclopaedia they could repeat the contents in order, but they never think up anything original. They'd make fine university professors." ~ R.U.R The defining text for robots, Rossum's Universal Robots is a facial science fiction play written in the 1920's as … Continue reading Rossum’s Universal Robots
I don't know about you, but I cannot live without a few secrets. Without secrets, without a private inner life, we lose our individuality and our sense of self. Today though, we are bombarded with messages telling us that privacy is worth sacrificing for the greater good; for the good of community security, for the … Continue reading Secrets and Lies