On November 1 Melvyn Bragg will talk about his book Grace and Mary at the Festival of Ideas. The novel is based on Bragg’s own bitter-sweet experience of his mother’s dementia. Looking back across three generations, it raises fundamental questions about social attitudes and how they shape our lives. Three people discuss some of the big challenges that face us.
On the eve of the Man Booker prize, our insatiable appetite for fiction (and fascination with those who create it) comes sharply into focus. According to the Publishers Association, sales of paperback fiction rose by 3% in 2012 to £502 million, while sales of digital novels soared by almost 150%, reaching £172 million. What’s the magic of reading and writing?
With rising competition for jobs, and increasing pressure to excel in the workplace, a healthy work-life balance is hard to achieve. The technology we invented to make our lives run smoother means that we seldom switch off. Could we do things differently?
We live in an unequal world: each year billions of dollars are directed at reducing some of the gaps between rich and poor, and bringing basic healthcare and education to those without these life-enhancing resources. But at grassroots level international aid often fails to make a real difference. Where are we going wrong?
Robots can do a lot for us: they can explore space or they can cut our toenails. But do advances in robotics and artificial intelligence hold hidden threats? Three leaders in their fields answer questions about our relationships with robots.