March 2012
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Archive: Ariadne March 2012

The future of labour

Robert Hickson Oct 24, 2017

Not the party, the activity. Labour day in New Zealand is when a few remember and (mostly) celebrate the improvements in working conditions over time, while many just enjoy a day off. However, there has been much angst recently that, thanks to increasing automation, many of us will soon not have the experience of paid employment. Reflecting what seems to … Read More

Tomorrow really never comes

Robert Hickson Oct 10, 2017

In Zeno’s philosophical paradox Achilles can never overtake the tortoise. Similarly, it sometimes seems that future technologies never arrive. Grace Ballenger and Aaron Mak writing in Slate highlight the “Goldilocks” zone of technological predictions – the next big thing is neither too close to be here by Christmas, nor too far away to become purely fictional. The … Read More

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Peak State?

Robert Hickson Oct 06, 2017

Are we approaching “peak State”, where the power of diverse nation states starts to decline back toward greater power being held by large cities or culturally or religiously more homogeneous regions? Catalonians and Iraqi Kurds voted in independence referenda this last week. In contrast to Scotland’s and the UK’s Brexit referenda a few years … Read More

Thinking beyond capitalism

Robert Hickson Sep 24, 2017

Joey Eschrich, writing in Slate, suggests that the futures industry has a “dearth of imagination”. He contends that futurists pay too little attention to “post-capitalist” futures. “As we fret over the future, we worry about rising sea levels and robotic job-snatchers, but the economic and political supremacy of the capitalist market doesn’t seem to be up for … Read More

The once and future farmer

Robert Hickson Sep 16, 2017

In our own cultural memory New Zealand used to have the best farming system in the world. No more, according to some. Two recent articles about the Netherlands illustrate how we are falling behind in some ways, and can provide a stimulus for how we can do better. National Geographic highlights the Netherland’s sustainable agricultural system in … Read More

Crafted bots

Robert Hickson Aug 31, 2017

We are getting used to seeing sleek, industrial robots. (I’m looking at you Air NZ). And previously I’ve noted some animal-inspired machines. From these and other technological developments we can tend to expect the future to be shiny, hard-edged and efficient. A different approach is being explored with “Blossom” (and others), a DIY soft robot … Read More