Formatting our world

The language we speak, the organisation we live or work in, and the technology we use all have one thing in common: they format our world. They shape how we think about it, how we see it, how we behave in it, and how we interact with it. All that formatting has tremendous advantages in our day-to-day lives. Yet it also provides an explanation for the challenges innovators face when they develop something novel that does not fit any of the pre-established formats.

Changing values – Towards a new economy?

Our ideas of value, what it is and how it is generated in the economy, have changed over time. Today’s dominant school of thought, neoclassical economics, lost sight of these decisive questions, as Mariana Mazzucato argues in her 2018 ‘The Value of Everything’. But there are some very recent promising signs that we are starting to have a renewed debate about value and how we want the economy to work for all of us.

Exploring the adjacent possible – What we should expect from technology

As innovators, we build our future progress on our predecessors’ past achievements thanks to humankind’s unique capability of social learning, of sharing experiences and ideas. Today, we rely heavily on computers, databases, and the internet to facilitate and accelerate whatever we do. And that includes our social learning capabilities and our creative skills. Hence it’s high time to critically assess technology’s impact and to formulate our expectations: How do we employ technology to support our innovative endeavours? What do we demand? And what can we realistically hope for?

Framing policies on Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (or AI) is hotly debated for all the promise it holds and the concerns it raises. Opinions abound, and they range widely. From hailing AI as the harbinger of an entirely new level of human development, to cursing AI as ushering in the end of all human civilisation. Today, I’ll highlight three recent contributions to the AI discussion that remind us of the wide-open option space we have for policies that can shape the AI we want to have in the future.

Trends to consider in policy-making – What to pursue

The emergence of the platform economy has created powerful non-state actors that have far-reaching influence on communities around the globe. In this new nexus of business, technology, and society, we need to rethink policy-making to blend innovation policy with foreign policy from the start. In contrast to the previous post, here I’ll focus on four promising ideas we could pursue further.