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The Sunday Times’ Raconteur: Rise of the robot mediator

Jonathan Verk, co-founder of coParenter, has first-hand experience of a bruising marriage break-up. “Six years ago, I started going through what ended up being an absolutely brutal litigated divorce,” he says. “I had a front-row seat to see just how bad the system can be for people. And as bad as it was for us, it was devastating for our kids.” After 25 years in … Continue reading The Sunday Times’ Raconteur: Rise of the robot mediator

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Standpoint Magazine: Wholesome homes

One of the 20th century’s main advocates of high-rise tower blocks was the architect Ernő Goldfinger. To address the acute housing shortage following the Second World War, he designed concrete monsters including the Trellick Tower in Kensington, which was completed in 1972, and Balfron Tower in Poplar, completed in 1967. Living with Buildings, at the Wellcome Collection, London, until March 3, 2019, explores how buildings … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Wholesome homes

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Standpoint Magazine: Ironies of Ideology

On a recent visit to the Royal Academy, I noticed a tall, elegantly dressed man who spent quite some time admiring a square object attached to the wall. I wondered whether to tell him that far from being Russian avant-garde art, which was the theme of the exhibition, it was in fact the temperature and humidity control box. Many visitors to Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Ironies of Ideology

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The Times’ Raconteur: Should robots be expected to make ethical decisions?

While robots can’t be ethical agents in themselves, we can programme them to act according to certain rules. But what we expect from robot ethics is still a subject of hot debate. For example, technology companies have discovered that people share some of their darkest thoughts with virtual assistants. So, how do we expect them to respond? What do we expect from virtual assistants? When … Continue reading The Times’ Raconteur: Should robots be expected to make ethical decisions?

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Money Observer: The easiest way to travel to Germany is by train

I have lived in London for many years, and I still can’t tell King’s Cross from St Pancras station. But I know where platform 9¾ to Hogwarts is, and I also know that the easiest way to travel to Germany is by train. Whenever I fly, I have to leave the house at the crack of dawn, rely on my train to be on time, … Continue reading Money Observer: The easiest way to travel to Germany is by train

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Standpoint Magazine: Tunnel Vision

Winston Churchill’s half-smoked cigar sold for $12,000 at a US auction in October. A hand-written note by Albert Einstein on the topic of happiness (“a quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest,” he wrote) went for $1.5 million in Jerusalem. In London, Audrey Hepburn’s iconic blue satin sleep mask was bought for £6,250, some 50 times … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Tunnel Vision

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The Sunday Times’ Raconteur: Can money buy happiness after all?

Imagine you’re on your way back from work and you pop into a shop. You weren’t looking for anything in particular, but an hour later you find yourself walking out with a big smile and multiple bags in tow. What happened? Behavioural economists call it the effect of “shopping momentum”. We like to think we’re rational consumers when it comes to our spending. After all, … Continue reading The Sunday Times’ Raconteur: Can money buy happiness after all?

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Money Observer: Where automation only half-replaces humans

Much has been written about how automation will replace humans in the workplace. But what about those who have only been half replaced? I met some of them recently. On a recent trip, I was walking through the electronic passport control gates at Frankfurt airport. When I pressed my passport onto the glass screen, the gates swung open to reveal two people sitting behind a … Continue reading Money Observer: Where automation only half-replaces humans

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Standpoint Magazine: City where history is still being made

Long before either Ukraine or Russia existed, there was Kiev. For centuries, the city’s residents have been sauntering along the Dnieper River, strolling through the green hills on which the city is built and exchanging news on Krechatyk Street. The city’s architecture attests to its longevity. There’s the Byzantine Saint Sophia Cathedral, which was built in the 11th century, and has scribbles from medieval visitors … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: City where history is still being made

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Times Literary Supplement: Whose London is it anyway?

Tucked away between office buildings by Euston station is where I found the Camden People’s Theatre. It’s a little place with colourful bunting, a cheerful selection of chairs and flowery plastic tablecloths. It’s the kind of theatre where you can buy a packet of crisps in the interval, rather than wasabi peas. I went to see a talk and two plays that were part of Whose … Continue reading Times Literary Supplement: Whose London is it anyway?