Martin E. Hellman is a remarkable man.  He is perhaps best known for his invention, with Diffie and Merkle, of public key cryptography- the technology which (amongst other uses) enables secure internet transactions and is used to transfer trillions of dollars each day.   His work has been recognised by numerous honours including his election to the National Academy of Engineering, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and most recently- receiving the 2015 ACM Turing Award, the most prestigious honour In computer science. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Professor Hellman on how, as our capabilities accelerate, our society must approach the ethics of technology.

Thought Economics

If you lose your ego, you lose the thread of that narrative you call your Self,” wrote Haruki Murakami in his book Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche “…humans, however, can’t live very long without some sense of a continuing story. Such stories go beyond the limited rational system (or the systematic rationality) with which you surround yourself; they are crucial keys to sharing time-experience with others…” In a hyperconnected world, our identities matter more than ever – they become empowering, weaponised, sanctuary and danger simultaneously and it’s perhaps because of this, that we must now understand identity more than ever before. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, author of The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity and Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University. We discuss the nature of identity, the labels we place on each other, and how best to  understand their significance and role in society.

Thought Economics

I am one of the early birds…Ece Temelkuran told me, “I saw democracy collapse in Turkey and tried to warn the United States, European Countries and Britain about this.  I’ve been telling people that what you think is normal, or a passing phase, is part of a bigger phenomenon that affects us all.  Somehow though, European democracies feel they’re exceptional – and too mature to be affected by neofascist currents.Ece Temelkuran is an award-winning Turkish novelist and political commentator, whose journalism has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, New Statesman, Frankfurter Allgemeine and Der Spiegel. In this exclusive interview, we discuss the dangers of populism, authoritarianism and fascism, and why we need to act now.

Thought Economics

To learn more about how satire and comedy can influence politics, I spoke to Dr. Bassem Youssef (whose story is told in the film ‘Tickling Giants,’ by Sara Taksler), Hasan Minhaj (host and creator of the weekly comedy show Patriot Act on Netflix) and Prof. Amber Day (author of Satire and Dissent: Interventions in Contemporary Political Debate).

Thought Economics

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist, and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels, and has had her work translated into fifty languages. She is a storyteller, and social commentator – holding a PhD in political science, and frequently being called-upon to give her views on the world’s most pressing issues. I caught up with Elif to learn more about her art, her writing, and how literature can change the world

Thought Economics

It took the unconscionable horrors of two World Wars to bring the international communities together to meaningfully define the rights of all individuals that existed from birth, irrespective of any factor such as race, sex, language, religion or nationality. We may feel intuitively that these are rights that should be shared and upheld by all nations, but the reality is rather different; and everywhere in the world, we find governments, corporations, and many others who subvert these basic rights of individuals and groups with devastating consequences.  To learn more about why our rights are being subverted around the world, and how Amnesty are working to fight these abuses, I spoke to Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Thought Economics

To learn more about how technology has stolen our attention; and what we can do to get it back, I spoke to James Williams (Writer & researcher on the philosophy and ethics of technology, author of ‘Stand out of Our Light’),  Jamie Bartlett (Author and Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media) and Professor Adam Alter (Author & Associate Professor of Marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business)

Thought Economics

By any measure, the United Kingdom is a rich country.  We are a nation with over £10 trillion in assets (£6 trillion of which is privately held), and depending on your measure – we are the 5th or 9th largest economy in the world.  From the outside, we are a success story; with booming sectors ranging from technology to finance, a seat at the table of global diplomacy, and cultural power internationally. It is perhaps because of this success that we should be surprised, ashamed and appalled by the fact that 21% of our population, some 14.2 million people, are living in poverty.  I caught up with the author, artist & social commentator, Darren McGarvey aka LOKI to learn more about the realities of poverty in the UK.

Thought Economics

We are in a complex world- made difficult to model because of the nonlinear, emergent, spontaneous and adaptive interactions of trillions of elements.  Whilst our biological and environmental complexity has had millions of years to evolve into a form of stable-chaos, our cultural, economic and political complexities are growing in scale and momentum meaning that for many of us- this world feels riskier than ever before. To learn more about the risks facing our world, I spoke to Ian Bremmer, President and Co-Founder of Eurasia Group (one of the world’s leading political risk research and consulting firms), Global Research Professor at NYU, and Co-Founder of GZero Media.

Thought Economics

Technology push also brings with it a range of unintended or unexpected consequences, particularly at a time (as we are now) where technology can grow from the germination of an idea to sweeping ubiquity at a frightening pace.  As a society, we seemingly cannot adapt ourselves, our culture, economy and political landscape fast enough to cope with the momentum of technological advance, but things needn’t be this way. Mitchell Baker co-founded the Mozilla Project to support the open, innovative web and ensure it continues offering opportunities for everyone. As Chairwoman of Mozilla, Mitchell   is responsible for organizing and motivating a massive, worldwide, collective of employees and volunteers around the world who are building the internet as a global public resource, open and accessible to all.   I caught up with Mitchell to ask whether we need a more human internet.

Thought Economics

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