Incoherence in Government

A story in this morning’s Guardian perfectly illustrates the policy incoherence that runs to the heart of the current government. It concerns Britain’s National Cycling network, a linked chain of over 16,500 miles of cycleways which are used by half the number of people who currently use the trains each year. Sustrans, the organisation responsible for […]

Remaking Post-Industrial Cities

Interesting talk this lunchtime at the RSA from Don Carter about his new book Remaking Post-Industrial Cities, which looks at 10 cities in the US and Europe and charts their decline and recovery.  Don Carter, Carnegie Mellon University Carter looks at the history of the cities in three phases: The industrial powerhouse phase, from 1865 […]

Instant judgements

There is something very disturbing about the modern habit of making instant judgements about everything, simple or complex. This has been blamed on the 24-hour news cycle which is said to force quicker and quicker stories out for fear that a particular news outlet is going to look slow. It has also been blamed on […]

The wrong way to do driverless cars

I’m a great supporter of driverless cars. I think they have the potential to dramatically change the world, making much better use of resources, revolutionising mobility for all and radically improving our towns and cities. Paradoxically, however, I am not so keen on Phillip Hammond’s announcement that the UK aims to be the first country […]

When the extraordinary becomes ordinary

One sentence in one article I read this last week caused me to sit up and reflect more, I think, than any other: “Carmakers are threatened more by the end of the combustion engine than by Brexit.” Just a throw-away line in a story by Phillip Inman in the Observer on the current state of […]

Inside the echo chamber

The unforeseen nature of Donald Trump’s victory yesterday, and before that of the Brexit Leave Campaign, say something quite profound about the way in which US and UK populations now consume their information and form their views. As the Independent said today, it was the social media “echo chamber” which allowed the pro-Clinton US electorate […]

Thinking Digitally in Tyneside

This year was something of a turning point for Thinking Digital as the Tyneside-based event, regarded as a kind of home-grown TED since its launch in 2008, this year branched out into satellite events in London and Manchester. The original event was slimmed down from two days to one and there were worries that the […]

The value of a south facing roof

I was very struck today, as I whizzed through the countryside in a Newcastle-bound train, by the number of south-facing roofs bearing solar panels. I wonder how long it will be before we start detecting a difference in value depending on the orientation of houses. And how long before new builds start to align like […]

The era of emulation and what it means for us

What is the next phase for humanity? Robin Hanson set out to answer this question in a thought-provoking and lively talk to London Futurists on March 19th. He argues that humanity has been through several distinct economic growth phases each of which has been “exponential” in character. The first lasted nearly 200,000 years from the moment Homo Sapiens first emerged […]

Network Society: the coming socio-economic phase transformation

The world is headed for a big transition, says David Orban, entrepreneur and Singularity University faculty member, speaking at a London Futurists lecture in London on February 6th. “Technology created humans,” he says. “And we continue to use reason to advance technology for humanity’s benefit.” But the key to the future wellbeing of society lies in practicing […]