Vikas Shah MBE DL Interviews the world's leading thinkers, and the people shaping the century.

Professor Ronald Arkin is one of the world’s leading roboticists.  In 2009, he published a book entitled “Governing Lethal Behaviour in Autonomous Robots” which (as one review quoted) is, “….the most serious attempt to date to set out how to build an ethical robot.” The review continues, “This timely book…

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April 20 (Bloomberg) “Stranded flyers created a surge in demand for travel industry Web sites and remote conferencing services as a shutdown of many flights in Europe continued through a sixth day.” Nothing Broke… That’s Important. The eruption of Eyjafjallajokull really caught the world off-guard, and created the levels of…

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In the fields of political science and economics, you will commonly see discussion of the “Principal-Agent Problem” (also known as agency dilemma) which deals with the outcomes of situations of conflicted interest, or asymmetric information, where (for example) an agent (such as an investment manager) acting for a principal (such…

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On March 29th 2010, The Economist reported that, “When the trials of four Rio Tinto employees opened in Shanghai last week, their guilty pleas to the first of the charges, of bribe-taking, dampened hopes that the matter might be settled without any severe penalties. Even so, the harshness of sentences…

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In a statement issued on March 22nd 2010, Human Rights Watch said, “Google’s decision to stop censoring its Chinese search engine is a strong step in favour of freedom of expression and information, and an indictment of the Chinese government’s insistence on censorship of the internet…” They continued, “China is…

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On March 11, 2011 at 05:46 UTC, Japan was hit with a Magnitude 9.0 Mega-Quake (the fourth largest earthquake ever recorded) .  To put the size of this quake in perspective, it was 8,000 times more powerful than the one which devastated Christchurch (New Zealand) in February 2011, and around…

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In this interview, we speak to Sir Richard Feachem, who is Professor of Global Health at both the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Global Health Group. Sir Feachem was also the founding Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has saved over 4.9 million lives globally. We discuss the key issues facing health in the developed and developing world, strategies to eradicate some of the most prevalent conditions, and the future of global health.

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Recent economic events have brought the concept of financial bubbles from academic texts to the forefront of economic and commercial thought.  Whereas economies used to be slow laborious creatures, the globalisation of capital markets, and growth of technology within them, has increased the ‘speed’ of economies to a pace never…

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“Just two days after Haiti’s earthquake, Leonel Fernández, the president of the neighbouring Dominican Republic, ordered a helicopter to fly him over the border for an unannounced visit. He was worried that his Haitian counterpart and friend, René Préval, was still incommunicado. What made this neighbourly gesture remarkable was that…

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“[Shares in] Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, fell in Tokyo as it expanded a U.S. recall by more than 1 million vehicles to 5.35 million, adding to concerns its reputation for quality may be permanently tarnished.” When you buy a car, you assume that everything is fine with…

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As Foreign Policy Magazine reports, “Equatorial Guinea’s economy depends almost entirely on oil, which generated revenues last year of well over $4 billion, giving it a per capita annual income of $37,900, on par with Belgium.” While this has given the country’s ruler (Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo) an estimated net…

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“The Federal Reserve Board sent its most explicit signal yet that the emergency supply of liquidity to financial markets is done and the most aggressive monetary policy easing in its 96-year history will eventually reverse.” – February 19th, Bloomberg. Citing “continued improvement in financial market conditions”, the US Federal Reserve…

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As I write this, my Bloomberg feed shows that, “Euro-region leaders [have] ordered Greece to get the bloc’s highest budget deficit under control and said they are prepared to take “determined” action to staunch the worst crisis in the currency’s 11-year history.”, with the FT adding, “Under an agreement hammered…

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History has seen humanity exist in a near constant battle for social, economic, political and (since the enlightenment) individual freedoms. These battles have been set against a backdrop of great change and conflict, as states, commerce and other bodies struggle to reconcile their needs for utility, their risk aversion and…

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In recent weeks, we have seen uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen and Jordan where members of the populous have taken to the streets, demonstrating and disrupting a country over issues ranging from food inflation, corruption, freedom of speech, living conditions and basic human and economic rights.  Most notably of…

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In this article, we talk to John Brynjolfsson, Managing Director of Armored Wolf LLC, a global macro hedge fund. Previously, Mr. Brynjolfsson was a Managing Director with PIMCO, firm with in excess of $750 billion of assets under management. Mr. Brynjolfsson discusses the risks, opportunities and the future of the world’s economy—covering the range from inflation to interest rates, commodities to equities, and currencies to emerging markets

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The industrial revolution created the archetypal businessman, characterized by their ruthless attitude towards commerce. In a controversial paper, Jerry Bergman discusses the Robber Barons’ (a pejorative term used to describe businessmen in America) attitude to workers in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. He describes how, “The robber barons’ lack…

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In this article, we talk to Professor Nick Bostrom, Director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, discussing the profound changes humanity could experience over coming years including artificial intelligence, machine consciousness, the direction of human evolution, and risks to humanity itself.

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In this article, we talk to Marc Chandler, Global Head of Currency Strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman and discuss the future of the US Dollar, its role as a global reserve currency, its future, relationship to interest rates and inflation, and the state of the US economy.

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In this article, we have an enlightening talk to a world expert on Bioethics, Professor John Harris (Lord Alliance Professor of Bioethics at The University of Manchester). Professor Harris discusses the philosophy, practicality and laws surrounding bioethics, covering areas including genetics, human engineering, stem cell therapies, assisted suicide, the economics of healthcare, medical research, and human computer interfaces.

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