Rethinking trust – in humans

Trust is the essential currency in human interaction, it is the indispensible basis for the many unwritten contracts we enter every single day. Trust is the glue that keeps social groups together and the grease that lets these groups act, and interact, smoothly. Trust is so foundational to human society that we take it as just that: the eternal fundament of our culture. I’ll argue that digital technologies are gradually eroding that fundament, causing cracks in the foundation of our society.

Rethinking ownership

Our economic system is founded on the concept of ownership. Buying stuff, selling it, that’s the baseline model. Most importantly, how much or how little you posses is key to your social status. So ownership is a central aspect of our society, and it’s woven deeply into our daily lives. But that doesn’t mean it is immutable, that it could escape change.

Rethinking society

Looking for weak signals that might foreshadow major changes, a broad diversity of recent developments comes to the surface. These include the rise of cities as actors in global governance, the demise of the labour contract as the mainstay of wealth distribution, the dominance of data-driven platforms across many industries, and the re-localisation of manufacturing and energy supply. That begs the all-important question: Is there a way to integrate all these ideas and observations? To come up with a reasonably coherent image of the trajectory we are on?

Chinese turning points

One of the lesser known historical figures is the 15th century Chinese admiral Zheng He. Although he was arguably one of the great explorers, on par with Columbus, da Gama, and Magellan, the memory of his journeys quickly faded away. The history of his discoveries is a story about the impact of policy on innovation, for good and […]

Post-factual innovation?

When I learned that the Oxford Dictionary had identified ‘post-truth’ as the Word of the Year 2016, I really felt like I was slapped in the face. For somebody with a passion for science and knowledge, it just hurts. But it is true, the one new concept that dominated public discourse in 2016 was that thing […]