June 2012
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Archive: Ariadne June 2012

Algorithmic organisms?

Robert Hickson May 21, 2016

Here’s a really absurd mis-reading of biology from a Professor of History in a Huffington Post interview: The whole of biology since Darwin can be summarized in three words: “Organisms are algorithms.” I wasn’t aware that we were living in the Matrix. This is the type of talk you most commonly hear from Silicon Valley folk talking or writing about technological progress and what … Read More

Future work

Robert Hickson May 16, 2016

There are four narratives about how increasing automation of manual and cognitive tasks will affect employment: Many people will no longer have paid employment, and will depend on government assistance. Many people will no longer have paid employment, but automation will create highly productive and equitable economies that enable people to pursue their own creative and social endeavours. As in … Read More

High-Tech Sechs

Robert Hickson Apr 09, 2016

Wired magazine has always been somewhat of a tech fetish publication. Recently they’ve highlighted fetish tech. Silicone valley comes to “adult” toys. [I’m not revealing anything explicit here]. It’s not the sad and seedy that you may expect. These are items designed to be flaunted, or at least not to be seen as embarrassing items hidden away in a … Read More

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Minister of the Future, please no!

Robert Hickson Apr 04, 2016

Something that I didn’t pick up at the time during the World Economic Forum in January was the suggestion by Marc Benioff, the Chairman and CE of Salesforce, that “Every country needs a Minister of the Future“. Last year, though, I did write about Sweden’s new Minister for Strategic Development and Nordic Cooperation. The World Economic Forum’s … Read More

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Societal trends

Robert Hickson Mar 30, 2016

Hans Rosling, of Gapminder fame, and perhaps the world’s most enthusiastic statistician, has an hour long video making the case that increasing global population levels aren’t fundamentally a prelude to disaster. (You can read a synopsis here). You can also save time by looking at these shorter videos showing the key trends of … Read More

Fonterra and foresight

Robert Hickson Mar 13, 2016

I can’t help thinking whether Fonterra, and NZ’s dairy industry, would be in a better position now if they’d devoted some (more) resources to strategic foresight. They may have, but it isn’t evident so far. What is “strategic foresight”, and what, if anything, is it good for? Strategic foresight, which is being used increasingly now in the private sector rather … Read More

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Rethinking universities

Robert Hickson Mar 10, 2016

A few years ago “disruption” in the university space was mostly about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The hype on that is over, with providers in this area rethinking their strategies.  But a lot of venture capital is still going into these types of “ed tech” companies. There are also other approaches to improving the … Read More

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