This week, Neil will introduce the 2019 book ‘Good Economics for Hard Times’ for discussion. The authors, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, are co-winners of the 2019 Nobel prize in economics.
In the preface of the book, published last November, they say: “Many of the issues plaguing the world right now are particularly salient in the North, whereas we have spent our lives studying poor people in poor countries. … But … as we thought about it, we realized the problems facing the rich countries in the world were actually often eerily familiar to those we are used to studying in the developing world— people left behind by development, ballooning inequality, lack of faith in government, fractured societies and polity, and so on.”
Normally, Paul delights us with insights into politics and economics, this time he is delving into religion. It’ll be good! Here’s his description:
“There is a tendency in debates to straw man the opposition presenting their case in the weakest form.
I think this has happened to the faith/myth of Christianity want to look at how the best modern thinkers strong-arm their case. The argument is that, at best, Christianity is a counter-intuitive, counter-cultural, fierce, spiritual discipline giving an intense moral seriousness to the world and showing the way to some kind of self-transcendence.
Juliet writes , “In the turbulence of public life over the past 3 years, what are we observing about the power and impact of ideological thinking? And how do we harness our conscience to navigate our every day lives in its wake?”
Juliet has given many great talks to us (see links below) – expect a great night
Where did the idea of infinity come from? Who were the people who defined and refined this paradoxical quantity? Why is infinity, a concept we can never experience or truly grasp, at the heart of science? How can some infinities be bigger than others? An exploration of the most mind-boggling feature of maths and physics, this talk examines amazing paradoxes and the people who devised and refined the concept.
Brian Clegg read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and gained an MA in Operational Research at Lancaster University. From Lancaster he joined British Airways, originally working in OR and later forming a new department tasked with developing hi-tech solutions for the airline. Brian now concentrates on writing popular science books, with titles including
A Brief History of Infinity, Inflight Science and The Quantum Age. He also writes for a range of magazines and newspapers, gives regular talks and has contributed to radio and TV programmes and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
I will explore together with audience participation the Year 2020 contemporary uses of AI from chatbots, political campaigning, online support groups, driverless cars, to unmanned war drones. We will focus on AI linguistics and pattern recognition. I will try to explain the algorithms that use brilliant mathematical techniques and the powerful hardware which is involved in these machines. We will look at some of the challenging ethical questions generated and how a few talented programmers are changing the world to meet the needs of the many in the year 2020.
• Central and Eastern European security and defence
• Transatlantic security
• Strategic management in defence institutions
MA Special Subject
UK Defence Reviews since 1945
Dr Bence Nemeth joined the Defence Studies Department as a teaching fellow in August 2017. Previously he had been working in various defence policy and defence planning related positions at the Hungarian Ministry of Defence for almost eight years, and also taught at the Advanced College for Security Policy of the National University of Public Service, Budapest, Hungary.
Dr Nemeth completed his PhD in Defence Studies at King’s College London in 2017. He holds an MBA in Defence Systems Management from the Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, CA), and also has master’s degrees in security and defence studies (National Defence University, Budapest, Hungary), international relations and European studies (Central European University, Budapest, Hungary) and political science (Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary).
The presentation highlights how countries organise their defence and how they prepare for military conflicts in general and what the dynamics are in the UK in this regard in particular. It also introduces certain geopolitical concepts and current international processes to describe the global environment where the UK has to find its role in the coming decade.