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Black Swans and why History, Future. Now is not bleak


Nassim Nicholas Taleb is famous for his 2008 book, The Black Swan, in which he came up with a very simple idea: that big changes can suddenly happen, apparently out of nowhere.  He uses the Wall Street crash, Pompei and the internet as examples. The reality, is actually closer to Malcom Gladwell’s 2002 book, The Tipping Point: … Continue reading

Automation providing a world of luxury, or mass poverty?


For the past 50 years there has been an expectation that the next generation will have a higher quality of life than the previous generation. With increased computerisation, globalisation and automation this expectation may no longer be valid. History, Future. Now turns to science fiction and European history to get a glimpse of a possible … Continue reading

Highlander: There can be only one and the impact of longevity on society


Highlander, staring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, is one of best movies of the 1980s.  I watched it again last night and, although it is dated and cheesy, it remains a great film with some fantastic music sung by Freddie Mercury.  The primary concept of the film is what it would be like to be … Continue reading

Where are all the jobs going? Lessons from the first Industrial Revolution and 150 years of pain.


In a world which is seeing a simultaneous increase in the capabilities of robots and artificial intelligence to do many factory and service sector jobs, and a significant increase in the world’s interconnected population, a natural question to ask is: “Are there enough good jobs to go around for everyone?” To many people, particularly those … Continue reading

Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria: why Planetary Resources is so important for the future of mankind, but not its investors


A few weeks ago Planetary Resources, a start up company founded by millionaires and billionaires Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, James Cameron and similarly endowed friends, announced plans to take its first steps into the realm of commercial space exploration and resource exploitation.  Their initial aim was to strike it rich by mining asteroids in near … Continue reading

Making love in the afternoon with Great Granny: intergenerational romance


In 2010 Disney released Tangled, a retelling of the Rapunzel story, and in 2012 Universal Pictures released Snow White and the Huntsman, a retelling of the Snow White story. Both contain beautiful young women whose mothers are no longer around: Rapunzel’s mother is alive but thinks her daughter dead and Snow White’s mother has died. … Continue reading

Rome vs. Persia and the transfer of strategic technologies to China


China is a master at forcing western companies to hand over critical intellectual property in exchange for short term access to the Chinese market.  Future, History, Now asks what are the lessons that can be learned from history, what is happening today and what impact could this have on the future?   First, a loose … Continue reading

Death by Degrees – the spiralling cost of education and what to do about it.


n+1 has a good article about the spiralling costs of education and encompasses all the things that History, Future, Now. likes: – a reference back to education in  7th Century China, the issues with contemporary education and what we might do about it in the future. One of the main issues about higher education is not … Continue reading

What is going wrong with Western Democracy?


There is no doubt that democracy is in crisis.  This is a widespread phenomenon throughout the developed world.  It is harder, however, to understand why this crisis exists and why it is so widespread. A report from the Democratic Audit about British democracy states that: Britain’s constitutional arrangements are “increasingly unstable” owing to changes such … Continue reading

What my 8 year old can teach us about the Roman Army and Hadrian’s Wall in 6 minutes


Join my 8 year old daughter as she stars in a six minute long documentary about Hadrian’s Wall. There seems to be a stong focus on the latrines. Anna Kate Roman Army on Hadrian’s Wall from Tristan Fischer on Vimeo.

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