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Robert Skidelsky

The Machine Age

My new book, The Machine Age, was published by Allen Lane on the 2nd November 2023. It’s available to buy on Amazon. Launch events were held at the Royal Society of Arts on the 6th November 2023 and UnHerd Club on the 28th November 2023. Links to the videos of each launch event are below: Royal Society of Arts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX1m1RNmjd8 UnHerd Club: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3XM1WB88Ls The following is a 23 page summary of the book: Preface This...

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The Machine Age

My new book, The Machine Age, was published by Allen Lane on the 2nd November 2023. It’s available to buy on Amazon. Launch events were held at the Royal Society of Arts on the 6th November 2023 and UnHerd Club on the 28th November 2023. Links to the videos of each launch event are below: Royal Society of Arts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX1m1RNmjd8 UnHerd Club: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3XM1WB88Ls The following is a 23 page summary of the book: Preface This...

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What we should tell our grandchildren about AI

They will see the promise—it is incumbent on us to alert them to the threat, or humanity will perish 14th November 2023 My new book, The Machine Age, is an ambitious—possibly overambitious—attempt to understand the human condition at this moment in time, through the prism of our relationship with machinery.  The book is structured around three stories: the relationship of machines to jobs, to freedom and to survival. Of course, when I talk about the relationship between humans...

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Marx and Keynes can free Labour from its budget bind

Rachel Reeves needs a new economic narrative to break the fear of deficits and debt 24th November 2023 To observe the basic thinking behind Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement on 22 November, and how Rachel Reeves will respond, is to find that the Chancellor and his shadow inhabit the same mental universe. They both aim to lift the British economy out of the doldrums, and they agree that doing so depends on improving the efficiency of the supply side of the economy – the way capital and...

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Britain’s Post Office Scandal and the Rule of Law

January 18, 2024 ROBERT SKIDELSKY The wrongful prosecution and conviction of more than 900 postmasters highlights the erosion of the systems designed to uphold institutional accountability in the United Kingdom. It also underscores the growing threat of a legal paradigm in which individuals are presumed guilty until proven innocent. LONDON – A new TV drama has brought to light one of the greatest injustices in the history of the United Kingdom, prompting a long-overdue public...

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How to Prevent an AI Apocalypse

December 19, 2023 ROBERT SKIDELSKY While techno-optimists celebrate AI’s potential to reshape the world, we must mitigate the risks these new tools pose to communities and to humanity. To prevent the rich and powerful from monopolizing the fruits of technological innovation, we must ensure that the benefits of increased productivity are distributed equitably. LONDON – A little over a year ago, the San Francisco-based OpenAI released its chatbot, ChatGPT, triggering an...

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Peacekeeping, Past and Present

November 20, 2023 ROBERT SKIDELSKY Between 1815 and 1914, the Concert of Europe served as a crucial peacekeeping mechanism, enabling the continent to avoid a major war. Drawing the right lessons from its successes and eventual failure can help us strive to recreate the conditions that led to an imperfect but durable peace. LONDON – The world was a relatively peaceful place during the nineteenth century. Aside from the American Civil War and China’s Taiping Rebellion, there were few...

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Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Rich

October 24, 2023 ROBERT SKIDELSKY As the world grapples with multiple, compounding economic and political crises, Western intellectuals provide little cause for optimism. Two new books paint a bleak picture of a disintegrating liberal international order and a future shaped by warring powers and digital serfdom. LONDON – Reading this fall’s selection of new nonfiction books, one cannot help but recall W.B. Yeats’ prescient lines from The Second Coming: “The falcon cannot hear the...

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The New Anatomy of Britain

September 22, 2023 ROBERT SKIDELSKY In his new book, former Conservative MP Rory Stewart sharply critiques the British political class. Analyzing the degradation of the United Kingdom’s public services, he highlights two potential culprits: a ruling class preoccupied with political maneuvering and a civil service excessively focused on bureaucracy. LONDON – Anthony Sampson’s Anatomy of Britain, published in 1962, was a profound and scholarly work that appeared at a time when the...

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Imagining a Keynesian Revival

August 21, 2023 ROBERT SKIDELSKY The economic shocks of the past two decades were not freak occurrences but rather the product of a profoundly flawed and corrupt system. But narrowing the policy discussion to a binary choice between market fundamentalism and protectionism overlooks the potential for constructive leadership. SALZBURG – In 2009, while the world economy was still reeling from the global financial crisis, Nobel laureate economist Robert Lucas observed that “everyone is...

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