Fri 27th Apr – Towards a Post-work Future – Prof. Alan Winfield

The aim of this discussion paper is to explore ideas for new approaches to (corporate) governance within the context of technological unemployment, while looking (optimistically) toward a post-work future.

Alan Winfield is Professor of Robot Ethics at UWE and co-founder of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

He was recently the guest on Jim Al Khalili’s ‘A Life Scientific’.

Fri 20th Apr – Fundamentalism – Rahman Khatibi

 Nowadays we live in one world village and are used to human rights as a minimum standard of modernism. In this world village, the right to worship is recognised but not the right to religious fundamentalism, which is a relic of the past but very much alive and kicking if we are not careful. 
Give any religion half a chance and it is likely to want everything. Today Islamic fundamentalism rolls out before our eyes but it was not always like this. My talk will paint another possible picture and show that, in medieval times, Islam and other religions were on a par with one another – and still they are. History is not linear and modern ways of life are not a product of any religion but science. Curiously, science (evidence-based facts) arose because Christianity took mankind to the abyss in the 15th-16th Century, as Islamic fundamentalism is taking mankind to the abyss yet again. Christianity adapted to modernity, but can Islam do similar? My talk will present a historic context to the problem of fundamentalism with the focus on contemporary times.

Fri 13th Apr – Equitable Water Sharing in the Blue Nile – Peter Von Lany

Water is crucial to life and one of nature’s most valuable resources – how can it be allocated to meet competing national aspirations and managed for the benefit of all?  As Ethiopia nears completing the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, the governments of Egypt and Sudan have expressed increasing levels of concern over how Ethiopia intends to use this dam – water in the Blue Nile is valuable to Ethiopia, contributes to the agricultural prosperity of Sudan and is crucial to the economic prosperity of Egypt. The GERD will be the largest hydro power dam in Africa, contributing towards Ethiopia’s economic growth through enabling energy security and potentially exporting electricity to neighbouring states. What will be Ethiopia’s near-term strategy for filling the reservoir (created by the dam), what will be the future pattern of water releases from the dam to generate hydro power, and how will these affect downstream neighbours?