The Prisoner’s Dilemma

The prisoner’s dilemma is a standard example of game theory. It shows why two completely rational individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so. The following example was formalised by Albert W. Tucker, who coined the term the “prisoner’s dilemma”, presenting the game as follows: Two criminals are arrested and imprisoned. […]

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An Era of Mass Automation

A report from Price Waterhouse and Coopers (PWC) divides the impact of modern technology on the labour market into three distinct temporal sections. Firstly, the Algorithmic Wave, between our current moment and the ‘early 2020s’. This will see the ‘automation of simple computational tasks’ and will mainly impact ‘data-driven sectors such as financial services’ . […]

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Are you living in a computer simulation?

In 2003 Nick Bostrom published a thought-provoking paper in Philosophical Quarterly entitled ‘Are you living in a computer simulation?’ The premise of the paper was that any one of the following statements must be correct. 1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage. 2) any posthuman civilisation is extremely unlikely […]

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Perfunctory Cover-Ups

Sometimes a memory hits you, triggered by a momentary sensation. Today, while washing my hands in a small public sink, where you have to have one hand constantly pressed down on the faucet to keep the water running, I was reminded of a visit to the former Nazi ghetto and concentration camp in the Czech […]

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Utopia

The word ‘utopia’ traces its origins to the title of a book written by Thomas More in 1515. At the time, a new elite was amassing wealth by enclosing common lands and Utopia was written as a damning critique. It attacked the practice of hanging thieves and denounced the king for ruling over a nation of […]

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Wealth Inequality

“Today’s high levels of wealth inequality are not inevitable, they are a political choice”  – The Independent  In 2017 more than 70 percent of the world’s adults own under $10,000 in wealth. This 70.1 percent of the world holds only 3 percent of global wealth. The world’s wealthiest individuals, those owning over $100,000 in assets, […]

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Humour

When recognizing the confines of our human rationality, our automatic and mechanized daily routines, as well as our sometimes empty internal thought processes, it can be easy to enter into a dark pit of nihilism. Yet, as Camus maintains in The Myth of Sisyphus, a recognition of the absurdity of the modern human condition, can also […]

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iLanguage

In our age of nearly constant communication – whether it be through the mass media, advertising, or perpetual group chats and text messages – has language lost its content? Is language in our modern era, as Martin Esslin explains in the The Theatre of the Absurd, “devoid of real meaning?” It seems that as methods of communication […]

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Metadata – 21st Century Power

When the wall came down in 1989, people began peering into their Stasi files. Some realized that those they had loved were spying on them, that intimate details of their life were tracked, recorded, and organized without their knowledge. Some opted not too look, for fear of being hurt, betrayed by intimate members of their […]

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The Security Dilemma

The two most famous strands of international relations theory – realism and liberalism – dictate that the international system is characterised by ‘anarchy’. In 1951 John Herz published a book entitled Political Realism and Political Idealism in which he coined the famous term ‘The Security Dilemma’. “A structural notion in which the self-help attempts of states […]

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