Can biotech lead an economic revolution?

December 7, 2017

Recording of the debate at the Battle of Ideas 2017 at The Barbican in London, in partnership with Immunocore.

The new Life Sciences Industrial Strategy claims that ‘in a country where productivity is a major challenge, public sector life sciences discovery activity… is dramatically more productive compared to other countries such as the USA or Germany’. What role will biotechnology play in the industries of tomorrow? Will it predominate as a durable, sizeable and job-creating sector, helping to turn around the UK’s flagging productivity, or does its value rest more in its place at the vanguard?

SPEAKERS

Dr Eliot Forster
CEO, Immunocore; chairman, MedCity

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge
group leader in stem cell biology and developmental genetics, Francis Crick Institute

Bethan Wolfenden
co-founder, Bento Bio

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Is globalisation over? The future of world trade

December 2, 2017

Recording of the debate at the Battle of Ideas 2017.

Globalisation is the process by which national and regional economies, societies and cultures have become more integrated through global networks of trade, foreign direct investment, transport, telecommunications and immigration. Many argue that globalisation has been an enormous boon to worldwide living standards. However, serious debate has now broken out about whether globalisation is finally grinding to a halt. 

What is globalisation, and is it really coming to an end? If its advocates are right to say that it has brought prosperity worldwide, why are so many people against it? Is it possible to have a ‘progressive’ globalisation, shorn of its free-market excesses?

SPEAKERS

Dr Gerard Lyons
economist; co-author, Clean Brexit

Professor Michael Mainelli
executive chairman, Z/Yen Group; alderman, City of London; author, The Price of Fish: a new approach to wicked economics and better decisions

Vicky Pryce
board member, Centre for Economics and Business Research; economic advisor, British Chamber of Commerce

Allen Simpson
chief operating officer, Labour in the City; economic and financial policy specialist

James Woudhuysen
visiting professor, London South Bank University; co-author, Energise! A future for energy innovation; author, Why is construction so backward?

 

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In the wake of Weinstein: #MeToo, calling out and sexual harassment

November 24, 2017

Recording of the Battle of Ideas Stockholm 2017 debate at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

(Please note, there is a very short introduction to the recording in Swedish, but the debate is in English.)

Is #MeToo a valuable way for the everywoman to show solidarity with victims and raise awareness of the broader problems of sexual harassment everywhere? Or does it stir up the gender wars, exaggerating the idea that most men are sexual predators and most women their victims? What does #MeToo reveal about deeper cultural trends?

SPEAKERS

Dr Jan Macvarish
visiting research fellow, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, University of Kent

Marte Michelet
journalist and author

Jonathan Rollins
stand-up comedian

Cissi Wallin
television and radio personality

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From AI to Big Data: can technology save the NHS?

November 21, 2017

Recording of the debate at the Battle of Ideas 2017 in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering. See full details here: https://www.battleofideas.org.uk/session/from-ai-to-big-data-can-technology-save-the-nhs/

At a time of ever-increasing healthcare costs, waiting times and ever-increasing strains on GPs and A&E departments, there is increased urgency in trying to find new approaches to treatment. Against this backdrop of cost-driven strains in patient care, can engineering innovations save the day, perhaps giving patients more independence to accurately self-diagnose and more broadly revolutionise healthcare in the coming decades?

SPEAKERS

Terry Barnes
principal, Cormorant Policy Advice; fellow, Institute of Economic Affairs; former special adviser to two Australian health ministers

Trisha Greenhalgh
professor of primary care health sciences and fellow, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford

Timandra Harkness
journalist, writer & broadcaster; presenter, FutureProofing; author, Big Data: does size matter?

Professor Mark Tooley
medical technology consultant; president, Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine

Dr ir Isabel Van De Keere
CEO & founder, Immersive Rehab

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Censorship and identity: free speech for me, but not for you

November 13, 2017

How should free speech activists respond to the challenge of identity politics? It no longer seems sufficient to cite the First Amendment, quote JS Mill, or cry academic freedom in trying to thwart assaults on free expression. There was a powerful illustration of this problem recently when protesters affiliated with Black Lives Matter gatecrashed an event at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and prevented the invited guest from the American Civil Liberties Union from speaking, chanting ‘the revolution will not uphold the Constitution’ and ‘liberalism is white supremacy’.

Is it time for civil libertarians to adjust their priorities, to ensure that people with ‘protected characteristics’ are given ‘particular respect’, and their views given a veto on what they deem as hate speech? Are those who argue for free speech – no ifs, no buts – too often providing the privileged with a licence to talk over the marginalised, even to incite bigotry? Or is identity politics the new tool of censorship and, if so, how should we respond?

SPEAKERS

Professor Frank Furedi
sociologist and social commentator; author, Populism and the European Culture Wars; previous books include: What’s Happened to the University? and Invitation To Terror and On Tolerance

Nick Gillespie
US journalist and commentator; editor in chief, Reason.com and Reason TV, the online and video platforms of Reason magazine

Jodie Ginsberg
chief executive, Index on Censorship

Trevor Phillips
writer and television producer; founding chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission

Toby Young
director, New Schools Network; associate editor, The Spectator; editor, Spectator Life

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Professor Stephen Farrall on Generation Right and the legacy of Margaret Thatcher

October 24, 2017

Stephen Farrall, professor of criminology in the Centre for Criminological Research at the School of Law, University of Sheffield, talks to Rob Lyons about his film Generation Right, which looks at the election of Margaret Thatcher and her subsequent policies, particularly in relation to crime and criminal justice policy.

Stephen notes how Thatcher's economic policies - in particular, the way they created mass unemployment and drove down welfare provision - led to an increase in crime. Yet she remained popular for aspirational members of the working class. He also discusses how it was subsequent administrations who really got 'tough on crime', for example in relation to sentencing, and whether we can still talk about 'Generation Right' since the rise of Jeremy Corbyn.

The film screening and debate, GENERATION RIGHT – THE LEGACY OF MARGARET THATCHER, takes place at the Battle of Ideas festival at the Barbican in London on Sunday 29 October at 2pm. Visit the Battle of Ideas website for more details.

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Battle Cry: Jamie Bartlett on the reaction against Silicon Valley

October 18, 2017

Jamie Bartlett is the director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos, where he specialises in online social movements, the impact of technology on society, and new big data research methods. He is also author of the best-selling book The Dark Net (2014) about internet subcultures and Radicals (2017) about fringe political movements. Earlier this year he presented the BBC series The Secrets of Silicon Valley.

In this podcast, Jamie talks to Max Sanderson about why Silicon Valley giants like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon have come in for increasing criticism recently, what impact the rise of data as the 'new oil' has had and to what extent the reaction against Silicon Valley is justified.

Jamie is speaking in the session Silicon Valley: From heroes to zeroes? at the Battle of Ideas festival at The Barbican in London on 29 October 2017.

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Battle Cry: Joanna Williams on contemporary feminism

October 12, 2017

Feminists routinely argue that women remain disadvantaged in society. But as Joanna Williams argues in her new book, Women vs Feminism: Why We All Need Liberating from the Gender Wars, this is now rarely the case in the UK. In fact, as she explains to Max Sanderson, by emphasising vulnerability, contemporary feminism actually perpetuates some out-dated notions about women and moves us further away from equality and liberation.

Joanna is speaking in the session Women versus Feminism: do we all need liberating from the gender wars? at the Battle of Ideas festival at The Barbican in London on 28 October 2017.

Women vs Feminism: Why We All Need Liberating from the Gender Wars was published by Emerald on 10 October 2017.

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Podcast of Ideas: Battle of Ideas preview

October 5, 2017

Claire Fox, Rob Lyons and Adam Rawcliffe look ahead to the Battle of Ideas 2017 at The Barbican in London, pulling out some personal highlights from the 100+ debates taking place over the festival weekend - from populism and cultural appropriation to the end of globalisation and street art.

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Battle Cry: Professor Tim Ingold on evolutionary psychology

September 27, 2017

The furore around a memo written by Google engineer James Damore, which argued that the relative paucity of female engineers could be explained in part by biology, brought the field of evolutionary psychology (EP) to wider public attention. EP seeks to identify the psychological traits that were adaptive in our evolution, forming part of ‘human nature’, and has been used to explain everything from gender differences to our propensity to eat unhealthy food. But critics argue EP is reductive and dehumanising. Should we reject an evolutionary perspective simply because it throws up some uncomfortable conclusions? Can evolution really explain modern psychology when culture and language appear to be changing at an unprecedented rate?

In this edition of Battle Cry, Max Sanderson talks to Professor Tim Ingold, who offers a critical analysis of evolutionary psychology. Professor Ingold will be speaking at the debate From gender to empathy: what can evolutionary psychology tell us? at the Battle of Ideas 2017 on 28 & 29 October at the Barbican in London.

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