A recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes, Thomas Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and New York Times columnist. He argues that one consequence of the recent merger between globalisation and the IT revolution is that we all need to be much better educated: the age of average is over. On the other hand, anyone with an internet connection now has access to some of the best courses from top American universities.Friedman and Mandelbaum: That Used to Be Us
Economist Paul Ormerod studies networks, the many ways in which people, companies and things are connected to each other. One area of his research focuses on the influence which people around us exert when we make economic and social decisions: we seem much more likely to copy what others do rather than objectively weigh up the pros and cons of individual products or actions. So is it time governments used networks of influencers, instead of tax incentives, when they want us to change our preferences?Ormerod: Positive Linking
Professor of Computational Neuroscience at MIT, Sebastian SeungSeung: Connectome
wants to map the neurons in our brains, all 100 billion of them, plus all their connections. This might provide precise foundation for understanding not just mental disorders such as schizophrenia but also what makes each person unique. However, the amount of data this would generate greatly exceeds our current computing capabilities, and analyzing the images from even small areas of brain could take thousands of man-hours: can citizen science help here?
SIXTY SECOND IDEA TO CHANGE THE WORLD
Paul Ormerod says that for the next five years, all Western central banks and economic ministries should be banned from employing any economists. In the 1950s and 60s, the UK government employed just six economists. From 1997 to the present, there have been hundreds of economists on the combined UK government and central bank payroll. Arguably, the last 15 years have been the worst in terms of UK's economic performance, while the 1950s and 60s were the best...
In Next Week’s Programme:
We celebrate the centenary of the father of computing Alan Turing by examining the shifting boundary between man and machine. With reCaptcha inventor Luis von Ahn, robotics expert Manuela Veloso and sci-fi scholar Peter Swirski.