Previous Courses – Visions of the Future (2021/22)

Visions of the Future (2021/22)

Welcome to our “Visions of the Future” page from our 2021/22 programme. This course has now finished, but you can access the articles, videos and podcasts associated with each class below.

Click through our Course Introduction below, or alternatively download it as a transcript here

Visions of the Future – Class 1:

Subjects covered: Computer Science, Geography, Classics, Earth Sciences, Medicine, English

Click Here to Read the Class Description

In the first class, we’ll be looking at some of the ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic has affected our world and the technologies we use, from vaccine-development to diplomacy, international relations, and digital theatre. We’ll explore the technologies that lie behind some of the key areas of change in the 21st century such as Artificial Intelligence and new sources of clean energy. And, we’ll step back from the modern to get a historical perspective on ‘the future’, with articles on the ancient origins of computing, and on the notion of what it has meant throughout history to be ‘modern’ at all.

Visions of the Future – Class 2:

Subjects covered: Psychology, Ancient History, Biology, Biomedical Sciences, History of Art

Click Here to Read the Class Description

In our second class, we’ll be continuing to dig deeper into some of the topics we’ve already explored in the first class. We’ll take a look at some ways in which computers and new technologies are continuing to revolutionise a wide variety of fields, from zoology and conservation, to medicine, psychology and genetics, including an examination of the exciting (but controversial) new technology of gene-editing. And in the humanities, we’ll continue our exploration of the ancient world and attitudes to the notion of ‘progress’ in Greece and Rome, as well as leaping forward to the 20th century to a pivotal moment in the history of modern art in post-war Britain.

Visions of the Future – Class 3:

Subjects covered: Medicine, Biochemistry, Geography, Philosophy, Physics, Classics

Click Here to Read the Class Description

In the third class, we will continue our exploration of artificial intelligence, both in the context of its uses in the medical profession, and in the context of one of the core philosophical questions that AI raises: what, exactly, does it mean to be a person? We’ll also learn about two developments which have the potential to revolutionise modern science: quantum computing, and nanotechnology. We will also be turning to geography to examine the question of how technology has affected the way we see and represent the world, before returning once again to the ancient world, and a surprising relationship the Ancient Greeks’ scientific knowledge and their political development.

Visions of the Future – Class 4:

Subjects covered: Earth Sciences, Ethics, History, Mathematics, Psychology, Ancient History

Click Here to Read the Class Description

In our fourth and final class, we’ll conclude our exploration of some of the key applications and issues around artificial intelligence: we’ll find out about how AI might help us tackle the climate crisis, and we’ll dig deeper into some of the ethical dilemmas raised by the use of AI in medicine. Then, turning back from our current era of rapid and radical change, we’ll step back in time to see how past societies have responded to periods of disruption, with a timely look at how medieval societies responded the Black Death pandemic of the 14th century. And finally, we will look further at how the use of computers can aid and enhance our knowledge and understanding in a number of fields, from mathematics and psychology, to the use of digital modelling in the Humanities.

Challenge Submissions for Each Class:

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