Pedestrians and robots will soon share the pavements – Economist


Already in Singapore we have a population paper that speaks of a population explosion to 6.9 million by 2030. Technology has led to e-scooters sharing our walkways. What will happen when (not if) robots start sharing our pavements? Beyond the concerns shared in the article, is the infrastructure in your country ready for this phenomenon? Are the people ready to accept it? Is it really necessary to have so many robot-helpers that they will end up sharing our public space (as seen in Azimov’s iRobot)? what kind of social and legal implications could arise in such a scenario/



Singapore Budget 2017


America’s budget has boosted its military spending and sharply reduced foreign aid. There will be repercussions globally. Does the Singapore 2017 budget deal enough with international pressures or is it more a populist budget dealing with bread and butter issues? Or is it a post-election surplus budget (Leon Pereira)? Does it ready our economy for the future? Does it ready our people for the future? Does it incorporate a spirit of caring and resilience? Is it fiscally sustainable? Or part of a political cycle before we have a pre-election deficit budget with goodies?


Stories that Bind Us

narrativeResearch has shown that in order to build a resilient society we have to develop a strong narrative – be it a family or cultural narrative.

Stories allow us to find common grounds, to seek the familiar or to just make a connection. Hopefully I don’t sound overly pessimistic, but our world over the last year has seen more cause for despondency than hope.

Studies by Duke & Fivush highlight that children who have the most self-confidence have a strong “intergenerational self.” They know they belong to something bigger than themselves.

It is a good time to review our ties, links and bonds to others in the society we call home. Can we look back and consider all that we know about our family, culture or society. What do you really know?  Examples include: Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to school? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know an illness or something really terrible that happened in your to someone in the family? Do you know the story of your birth?

Tell me a few stories of your family or society that you think are important for YOUR narrative… your STORY!



Amusing ourselves to Death


Neil Postman’s seminal text predicted the irrelevance of public discourse due to our increasing fascination with the media. In light of the media manipulation and distortions that go on in mainstream and social media, Andrew Postman’s review of Neil Postman’s ruminations is timely, almost necessary!

Postman cleverly contrasted these 2 visionaries : “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture.”

Did Neil Postman actually predict the rise of Trump and Fake News?

Is our society overly fearful with information restriction/censorship (1984) and instead should be more concerned with technology sedation (BNW)?

Is the issue that the audience is being conditioned to get its information faster, in a way that is less nuanced and, of course, image-based, the root of the growing belief in the irrelevance of mainstream media?

Are similar forces affecting Singapore media or is this just an American phenomenon?

Reference article from the Guardian

Memorable Human Interaction

interactionIn this article, people share their most memorable human interaction that the other person has probably forgotten. In our world today where technology has become a convenient replacement for human interaction, it would be useful to take a step back and consider our memorable human interactions. In our troubled times, it may be necessary to remind ourselves that being human does not necessitate a utilitarian function but may revolve around simple human interactions and just being human.

Write about an incident, possibly your most memorable human interaction that the other person has probably forgotten. It can be an everyday occurrence or a passing event that you never expected.



‘Alternative Facts’ and the Costs of Trump-Branded Reality


The media is facing a crisis of fake news and disinformation. Now we have the phenomenon of ‘Alternative Facts’ and even ‘Provable Facts’. See story below from NYT.

How can users of cyberspace be assured of the news and information that they come across on the Internet?

Are there ways to help users be more discerning of the news they encounter on the Internet?

What will be the effects of such a disturbing trend be on the nature of news and the media as we move forward? Or are we moving backwards (some critics argue)?


Rise in fake online news


German media and politicians have warned against an election-year spike in fake news after the rightwing website Breitbart claimed a mob chanting “Allahu Akbar” had set fire to a church in the city of Dortmund on New Year’s Eve. The police have immediately debunked the story as false. The rise of such news, in light of previous reports of fake news and hacking from Russian sources that sought to influence the US elections, is a serious instance of misuse of cyberspace or even an act of cyberwarfare.

What does the rise of such incidents indicate about the direction of the Internet?

Can societies prevent or mitigate such destabilising activities?

What do you think will be the impact of such a development on you and your society?