The world my children inhabit looks superficially like the world I grew up in during the 1970s. The house they live in, the clothes they wear and the food they eat – none of these would be very strange to the kids of a generation ago (although even here there are notable differences.) But the way they spend their time is completely different to anything I dreamed of doing.
Posted in Life, Politics, Technology
Tagged Computers, Creativity, Economic growth, Economics, Equality, Free trade, Industrial Revolution, Internet, Money, Politics, Poverty, Prediction, Technology, Wealth, Work
I’ve been a proud Kindle owner for a year now (and a sneaky borrower of my wife’s Kindle for two years prior to that), so I thought it would be useful to set out my thoughts on the subject. I’m going to rank these three media, starting with my least favourite. Continue reading
Don’t worry. This isn’t about Trump. I’ve returned to my first love – science fiction – with two new novels in the pipeline. The first is a conspiracy thriller set in the near future, the second an apocalyptic blockbuster set in the present day. Continue reading
Posted in Books & Films
Tagged Books, Computers, Creativity, Prediction, Religion, Science, Science fiction, Technology, Werewolves, Words, Work, Writing
Each one of us is blessed with 24 hours in every day. But what we do with those 24 hours varies enormously. Continue reading
Posted in Life
Tagged Blogging, Creativity, Democracy, Economic growth, Equality, Feminism, Freedom, Happiness, Health, Human rights, Philosophy, Politics, Poverty, Technology, Wealth, Work
This, my friends, is a question that all of us have surely pondered. When I say “other people” I don’t mean you, of course, esteemed reader. I know that all of us here today are not stupid in the least. We are all smart, reasonable people. It’s those others I’m talking about. You know the ones I mean. Just what the effing fuck is wrong with them?
Here I’m going to share a theory of mine. Continue reading
In days gone by, we used to peer over other people’s shoulders on trains and in public spaces to read their newspapers. Flitting headlines would parade before us, grabbing our attention, as history unfolded before our eyes: Continue reading
Posted in Life, Technology
Tagged Creativity, Democracy, Equality, Facebook, Freedom, Internet, Language, Technology, Twitter, Words
At their most abstract level, the logic gates that make up a digital computer are machines for destroying information. That might not be immediately apparent, but take a look at this (image from Wikipedia):
Two inputs; one output. At every operation, one bit of information is lost forever in an irreversible process. Continue reading
It was the geneticist, Richard Dawkins, in his book The Selfish Gene, who first proposed the idea of the meme. Dawkins defined the meme as a unit of cultural transmission, an idea, pattern or concept that could be passed from person to person, changing or evolving as it propagates, such that successful memes or their variants spread rapidly, and unpopular memes die out. Dawkins, a scientist and an atheist, no doubt had in mind the notion that scientific and rational memes would steadily gain acceptance, and that religious and superstitious memes, when exposed to the harsh light of analysis and debate would gradually fade away. What a tragedy then, that the memes that seem to spread like wildfire are trivial nonsense at best, or ignorant bigotry at worst. Continue reading
Climate change is a very real danger, but one that we are already well on the way to fixing. Without wanting to sound complacent, I think it’s a challenge that the current generation will solve. But what then? Do we simply want to avoid affecting the Earth’s climate, like environmentalists say? Or should we aspire to actively manage it? Continue reading
We are moving from a world in which resources are scarce towards a world of abundance. Many things that were once scarce are already abundant in developed countries and will soon be abundant everywhere, if trends continue.
There’s a strong counter-narrative telling us the opposite – that the world’s resources are almost used up, that population levels are unsustainable and that we must cut back now or face disaster. But Malthus said the same two hundred years ago, and so have countless others. Each has been proved wrong. Continue reading