neil / tags / bbc

Tagged with “bbc” (7)

  1. Psychohistory: Isaac Asimov and guiding the future

    100 years on from Isaac Asimov’s birth, Matthew Sweet looks at one of the bigger ideas contained in some of his 500 books; Psychohistory.

    The idea, from Asimov’s Foundation series, was that rather like the behaviour of a gas could be reduced to statistical probabilities of the behaviour of billions of molecules, so the history of billions of human beings across the fictional galactic empire could be predicted through a few laws he called ‘Psychohistory’.

    The idea inspired many to think that social sciences and economics can really be reduced to some sort of idealized set of physics principles, making future events completely predictable. It and similar ideas are still breeding enthusiasm for such things as data science, AI, machine learning, and arguably even the recent job advert by Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings for more ‘Super-Talented Wierdos’ to work for government. But how do we see what is real and what is not, what is Sci-Fi and what is hype, what is reasonable and what is desirable, in the gaps between innovation and inspiration, restraint and responsibility?

    Jack Stilgoe of University College London has a new book out ‘Who’s Driving Innovation?’. Science and Tech journalist Gemma Milne’s forthcoming book is called ‘Smoke and Mirrors: How hype obscures the future and How to see past it’. Una McCormack is an expert on science fiction writing at Anglia Ruskin University, and Alexander Boxer is a data scientist who’s new book ‘Scheme of Heaven’ makes the case that we have much to learn about human efforts to deduce the future from observable events by looking at the history of Astrology, its aims and techniques.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p080lvrb

    —Huffduffed by neil

  2. Marcus du Sautoy and James Bridle – books podcast

    On this week’s show, we’re exploring infinity and beyond with artist and writer James Bridle and mathematician Marcus du Sautoy.

    Through his visual art and writings on technology and culture, James Bridle has been at the forefront of our understanding of tech for the last decade – and from his perspective, the view of our future is both exciting and gloomy. He sat down with the Guardian’s technology reporter Alex Hern to talk about his book, New Dark Age.

    Limits are grist to the mill for Marcus du Sautoy, professor of public understanding of science at Oxford University. His mission is to explore – and if possible, explain – the unknown, so following hot on the heels of his bestselling book What We Cannot Know, is How to Count to Infinity. Meeting with Richard Lea at the Hay festival, Du Sautoy explained how a German mathematician first proved the existence of infinity in 1874, and what the concept means for our understanding of the universe.

    —Huffduffed by neil

  3. The Future of the Future

    How does the accelerating pace of technology change the way we think about the future?

    It’s said that science fiction writers now spend more time telling stories about today than about tomorrow, because the potential of existing technology to change our world is so rich that there is no need to imagine the future - it’s already here. Does this mean the future is dead? Or that we are experiencing a profound shift in our understanding of what the future means to us, how it arrives, and what forces will shape it?

    Presenters Timandra Harkness and Leo Johnson explore how our evolving understanding of time and the potential of technological change are transforming the way we think about the future.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08nqc4j

    —Huffduffed by neil

  4. BBC Radio 4 - Computing Britain, ERNIE Picks Prizes

    In 1956, adverts enticed the British public with a brand new opportunity. Buy premium bonds for one pound, for the chance to win a thousand. At the time, it was a fortune - half the price of the average house.

    Behind this tantalising dream was a machine called ERNIE - the Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment.

    ERNIE was built by the team who constructed Colossus, the code-breaking engine housed at Bletchley Park. They had just nine months to make a machine that generated random numbers using all the latest kit, from printed circuit boards to metal transistors.

    In this episode, mathematician Hannah Fry talks to Dr Tilly Blyth from the Science Museum about how ERNIE became an unlikely celebrity. Featuring archive from NS&I, the Science Museum and the BBC Library.

    Presented by Hannah Fry

    Produced by Michelle Martin

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b069wzvw

    —Huffduffed by neil

  5. BBC Radio 4 - The Untold, Being Bowie

    Laurence Bolwell has been dressing as David Bowie and singing his songs on stage for 18 years. One Monday morning, early in January, he hears the news that his idol has died. That Friday night, he is due on stage with his act in a theatre in Carmarthen. Grace Dent tells the story of Laurence’s week, and finds out what it’s like to be a tribute artist the day your hero dies.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06yr6px

    —Huffduffed by neil