December 2011
Posts published on this day
Posts published on this day
Posts published on this day

Archive: Ariadne December 2011

Blindspots to the future

Robert Hickson Nov 18, 2015

Why is it more commonplace to attempt to predict technological developments, but not to be as speculative about cultural changes? Tom Vanderbilt, writing in the Nautilus, discusses this. I’ve touched on this previously (and here) but Vanderbilt does it in more depth. He suggests that we both fail to notice some changes, and fail to … Read More

Commodified futurism

Robert Hickson Nov 13, 2015

An article by Lee Billings in the September edition of Nautilus caught my attention this week. While it looked at some of the forgotten work of Polish science fiction writer and philosopher Stanislaw Lem (someone I haven’t, yet, read), what struck me most was Billings’ phrase “commodified futurism”. He applied this to “Silicon Valley billionaires”, and meant those … Read More

Energy scenarios for New Zealand

Robert Hickson Nov 04, 2015

It’s good to see more futuring emerging in NZ. A few weeks ago, the Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand released a report on the risk to jobs of automation.  I’ve previously noted the research from Oxford University that this is based on, as well as the caution that it’s a relatively simplistic model … Read More

3 2

Best. Invention. Ever?

Robert Hickson Oct 16, 2015

Everyone’s got their own view on what are, or will be, the greatest inventions or most disruptive technologies. Live Science offer up their top 10 inventions that changed the world, though no clear criteria for why these 10 and not others are the top. Other sites do the same, with varying degrees of overlap, but similarly opaque criteria.  Another … Read More


Robert Hickson Oct 09, 2015

Matan Stauber has created an interesting interactive historical website, spanning 14 billion years, called Histography. It’s based on Wikipedia, so is idiosyncratic in what it covers. But it is fun to explore. Screenshot from Histography’s interactive site – A few years ago I noted the fictional timeline of the future created by … Read More

A good time to be alive

Robert Hickson Oct 08, 2015

It’s a good time to be alive, on many counts. BBC’s Horizons show looks back on the progress of some of the technology developments that they covered over the past five years.  That’s great, because often we only hear about the hype and hope at the start of a new development, and not what transpires later … Read More

A robotic “Cambrian explosion”?

Robert Hickson Sep 06, 2015

Gill Pratt, who until recently ran some of DARPA’s robotics programs, has posited in the Journal of Economic Perspectives that the field of robotics may perhaps in the near future go through the technological equivalent of the “Cambrian explosion”,  resulting in a myriad of wondrous mechanical forms.   Source: ChopShopStore [Of course, the Cambrian “explosion” … Read More

The future of science in NZ

Robert Hickson Aug 03, 2015

Being an author of one of the articles published last week in the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand’s “The future of science in New Zealand” forum (Volume 45, Issue 2; open access for the next month) I was interested to see what futures the other authors came up with. I deliberately took a less … Read More


Australia’s future workforce?

Robert Hickson Jun 29, 2015

Australia’s Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has released a door-stopper of a report called Australia’s future workforce? It explores a range of themes and issues associated with changing workforces, with chapters from academics (largely), industry representatives, and policy people. CEDA is a respected non-profit organisation for economic and social issues; the equivalent of the Conference Board … Read More

Site Meter