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?
I recently went to a public lecture at LSE hosted by the Forum for European Philosophy. The discussion was entitled “Does philosophy have to be obscure?” It struck me as a bit odd that both possible responses presume that philosophy is indeed obscure. If we understand “obscure” as “unclearly expressed” or “not easily understood”, so many things seem more obscure – Facebook’s terms of agreement, say, or … Continue reading Times Literary Supplement: Does philosophy have to be obscure?
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
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?
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?
We are not rational thinkers, but emotional creatures when it comes to making financial decisions. This idea has been gaining currency ever since the acclaimed psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel prize for economics with Amos Tversky for their work on behavioural economics. Many experiments have shown that it’s easier for us to part with money if we’re paying by card rather than in cash, … Continue reading The Times’ Raconteur supplement: Taking the emotion out of trading
A new show about consciousness takes a terrifying look at how scientists, philosophers and artists deal with “the hard problem” In the 17th century, Descartes famously argued that the body and mind are two different things. Philosophers have been discussing the difference ever since, and this “mind-body problem” is far from solved. Today, science is still struggling to explain how our soggy grey brains give rise to the … Continue reading The Economist’s 1843: The malleability of our minds
Why don’t surgeons have coaches, just like top athletes and singers? Medical professionals are expected to deliver care in a fast and cost-efficient way, while keeping up to date with the most recent technologies. Even the best-trained professionals can benefit from coaching to improve their skills, according to surgeon and author Atul Gawande. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are set to be in … Continue reading The Times’ Raconteur supplement: Could AR and VR transform surgery forever?
History books have long explored the lives of great individuals, families or countries. Today, the choice of subjects is wider. In Behold, America, for example, Sarah Churchwell addressed two familiar expressions: “the American dream” and “America first”. And now, Norman Eisen has made a grand, neo-classicist building in Prague the protagonist of his book, The Last Palace. It begins — as many a Jewish man’s … Continue reading Jewish Chronicle: Book review of The Last Palace
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