Oxford Martin School series — “Thinking again about the future and prospects for humanity”

Handling debates well

Predicting the CV-19 fallout


  • Thorium as the more abundant (in Earth’s crust) and less hazardous (in its waste products) than uranium
  • Shipping “standardised small modular reactors” vs fewer massive reactors
  • ITER
  • “Subprime airlines”
  • HLI as complementary to HLP (section 2.4)
  • Be the end of the nineteenth century the belief in and obsession with extra-terrestrial life in our solar system, had risen to such a fever pitch as to elicit a prize of Fr.1,000 offered to anybody who could provide evidence… with the exception of Martians which were deemed too easy.
  • The lives of those put at risk in the development of new technologies, have been getting progressively more expensive as we enhance the standard of living and set so much store by the safety & security of workers. This is excellent, and should be celebrated. However we should keep it in mind when we are tempted to complain at slow progress… part of the reason it’s increasingly difficult to catch up with the cutting edge, is that we’re competing with the millenia of blood, sweat, tears, and downright maiming & death, that went into every step of human progress that got us to where we are today.
  • “Common sense” as more than a mental model for individuals; tangibly, the common as the place where the thinking actually takes place. We all operate in one or more commons at all times, be they Earth, Home, Work, etc… we need to be think generously and communally. As we become more intractably connected to each other’s minds, it’s becoming harder to do anything without influencing the lives of others (even buying a book for one’s own consumption, or listening to a piece of music, are acts that contribute a data point into an enterprise and has some influence out there in a world we may not be able to visit or experience).
  • From anonymous — how about legislation on climate change?
  • From yours truly (54:50) — how can new generations entering the workforce, address humanity’s existential risk/s by picking careers that are going to be needed? (Lord Rees responded with a chuckle and and encouragement toward lifelong learning / continuing education; also a reminder that we may be moving into a new age of scientific research in which the individual hobbyists are so empowered by technology that they ascend to heights of enablement seen in the past with individuals like Darwin & Newton making their discoveries sans lab/dept).
  • From anonymous — is humanity’s future on Mars? (The response was a concrete No: why send humans up when with each passing year it’s getting more feasible to send nano-robots instead).




Bass/BV @StornowayBand. DataCat @AstraZeneca. Consulting via StoneStreetProductions.

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Oli Steadman

Oli Steadman

Bass/BV @StornowayBand. DataCat @AstraZeneca. Consulting via StoneStreetProductions.

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