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Sarah Millican and Hannah Dunleavy talk to Marcus Brigstocke

Standard Issue

Hay Festival 2016, 

Working with a team of talented women, the multi-award-winning comedian wanted to create something different to add to the mix of women’s magazines that were failing to inspire her. The result was Standard Issue Magazine, an online publication for all women. And men, too, if they fancied it. After their first year, millions of page views and having been shortlisted for a Book/Publishing award by comedy website Chortle, how does the future look? Hannah Dunleavy is the Deputy Editor.

Sarah Millican and Hannah Dunleavy talk to Marcus Brigstocke

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Stephen Fry

Reformations 2: The Internet

Hay Festival 2017, 

The writer and tech-geek reimagines Tim Berners-Lee’s invention and asks how the mantra 'This is for Everyone' can play now in a digital sphere of social media, hacking and global connectivity. With BBC Click's Spencer Kelly.

Stephen Fry

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Tony Fadell talks to Stephen Fry

The Podfather

Hay Festival 2014, 

The founder of Nest and creator of Apple’s iconic iPod talks with the writer, actor and renowned technophile about the future of technology, design, unloved devices and staying comfortable. 

Tony Fadell talks to Stephen Fry

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Garry Kasparov talks to Stephen Fry

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins

Hay Festival 2017, 

20 years ago, in May 1997, the world watched as Garry Kasparov, the greatest chess player in the world, was defeated for the first time by the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue. He talks to the Hay Festival President about a watershed moment in the history of technology: machine intelligence had arrived at the point where it could best human intellect. 

It wasn’t a coincidence that Kasparov became the symbol of man’s fight against the machines. Chess has long been the fulcrum in development of machine intelligence; the hoax automaton ‘The Turk’ in the 18th century and Alan Turing’s first chess program in 1952 were two early examples of the quest for machines to think like humans a talent we measured by their ability to beat their creators at chess. As the pre-eminent chessmaster of the ’80s and ’90s, it was Kasparov’s blessing and his curse to play against each generation’s strongest computer champions, contributing to their development and advancing the field. 

Like all passionate competitors, Kasparov has taken his defeat and learned from it. He has devoted much energy to devising ways in which humans can partner with machines in order to produce results better than either can achieve alone. During the 20 years since playing Deep Blue, he has played both with and against machines, learning a great deal about our vital relationship with our most remarkable creations. Ultimately, he has become convinced that by embracing the competition between human and machine intelligence, we can spend less time worrying about being replaced and more thinking of new challenges to conquer.

Kasparov tells his side of the story of Deep Blue for the first time – what it was like to strategize against an implacable, untiring opponent – the mistakes he made and the reasons the odds were against him. And he tells his story of AI more generally, and how he has evolved to embrace it, taking part in an urgent debate with philosophers worried about human values, programmers creating self-learning neural networks, and engineers of cutting-edge robotics. 

His previous book was Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped. 

Garry Kasparov talks to Stephen Fry

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Eric Schmidt

The New Digital Age: Reshaping The Future Of People, Nations And Business

Hay Festival 2013, 

The Google Executive Chairman examines the future of a connected world with its extraordinary potential for education, medical tech, communication and translations and the huge global challenges to privacy and security. Chaired by Marcus du Sautoy.

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Justine Roberts, Paul Staines, David Prescott and Jesse Norman

The Internet And The New Constituencies

Hay Festival 2013, 

How are social media, blogging and Twitter changing the way 'consumer voters' connect with politicians? The Mumsnet founder is joined by right-wing Westminster blogger Guido Fawkes, the Labour digital campaigner and the Parliamentarian of the Year to discuss the new political powers.

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Barbara Adam, Chris Groves, Elen Stokes, Catherine Butler

Cardiff University Series 1: Futures In The Making

Hay Festival 2013, 

How do we take care of a future world we decisively shape but may not live to see? A panel discussion on futures in the context of energy, new technologies and law. Adam and Groves from the Social Sciences Dept discuss with psychologist Butler and property lawyer Stokes.

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Mark Welland

Cambridge University Series 2: The Future Is Nano

Hay Festival 2013, 

An introduction to the development and progress of nanotechnology, and a reasonable expectation of what it can do – from miniaturisation of mobile phone tech to the understanding and treatment of human diseases. Professor Welland is the director of Cambridge University’s Nanoscience Centre, and was Chief Scientific Advisor to the MoD.

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Kate Humble, Robert Llewellyn, Jesse Norman, Fiona Howarth and Mike Hawes

The Future’s Bright, The Future is Electric

Hay Festival 2019, 

After more than a hundred years of the internal combustion engine, a new automotive technology has arrived. Cleaner, quieter and fun to drive, electric cars are here, and they are here to stay. But how do we get from 2.6% of new car sales in 2018 to the numbers we need to make a real difference to air pollution, and climate change? The Government has set ambitious targets for the uptake of electric vehicles. If we are to meet them, a change in the way people drive and think about the technology is required. Join Robert Llewellyn, TV presenter, author and electric vehicle expert, Jesse Norman, Former Future of Mobility Minister and local Hereford MP, Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Energy Electric Vehicles and Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers, as well as panellists from the motor and energy industries, to discuss this transition. Chaired by TV presenter and author Kate Humble.

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Hannah Critchlow

Increasing Consciousness...

Hay Festival 2017, 

Join the superstar neuroscientist on a voyage of conscious discovery. A 1.5 kg brain tissue mass magically produces our individual view of the world, our myriad emotions, memories, associations and thoughts that make each of our lives unique. Why are neuroscientists only able to properly probe consciousness now? And what are we yet to discover? Come with an open mind... 

Hannah Critchlow

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Cory Doctorow and Adam Rutherford

Life: A Dialogue

Hay Festival 2017, 

How and why do we survive, and what makes us unique? A conversation between a novelist and a scientist exploring the worlds they inhabit in Doctorow’s superb new speculative fiction Walkaway and Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes.

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Robert Llewellyn, Juliet Davenport and Kate Henderson

Good Energy Series 2: From NIMBY to IMBY

Hay Festival 2015, 

Energy generation has to take place somewhere – what would you prefer in your backyard? Is policy determined by those who shout loudest rather than those with the strongest argument? What would it take for communities to say yes rather than no to new energy developments? Robert Llewellyn is an actor, comedian and author, Kate Henderson is CEO of the Town and Country Planning Association and Juliet Davenport is founder and CEO of Good Energy. They talk to journalist and author Oliver Balch.

Robert Llewellyn, Juliet Davenport and Kate Henderson

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Marcus Brigstocke and Libby Purves

Powering The Country: Marcus and Libby Try To Keep The Lights On

Hay Festival 2014, 

What would you do if you had to power the UK? Marcus Brigstocke and Libby Purves get to grips with how to generate enough energy to keep the lights on and power their appliances. Dependency on overseas supplies, volatile fossil fuel prices and the need for a low-carbon economy makes this one of the biggest challenges facing the country. Richard Smith of National Grid and David MacKay of the DECC are our expert advisors. Chaired by Mark Lynas and using the 2050 calculator.

Marcus Brigstocke and Libby Purves

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Peter Frankopan

Reformations 16: History

Hay Festival 2017, 

The author of the magnificent book The Silk Roads proposes a new way of understanding the past and of connecting context and ideas so that we might learn the lessons of history. Frankopan is Director of the Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University. Chaired by Peter Florence.

Peter Frankopan

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Anne-Marie Imafidon

Eat. Sleep. STEM. Repeat. Why The Future is Girl-Led

Hay Festival 2017, 

Anne-Marie Imafidon is Head Stemette and co-founder of Stemettes – an award-winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of women into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers. Come and meet one of the world’s most inspiring and brilliant mathematicians, co-founder of Outbox Incubator: the world’s first tech incubator for teenage girls.

Anne-Marie Imafidon

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Andrew Keen and Robert Phillips talk to Sarah Churchwell

What’s the Question?

Hay Festival 2015, 

Keen’s incisive critique The Internet is Not the Answer traces the development of the net through the waves of start-ups and the rise of the big data companies to the increasing attempts to monetize almost every human activity. He shows how the Web has had a deeply negative effect on our culture, economy and society. Phillips’ Trust Me, PR is Dead asks whether we can ever really trust companies and their stories in an age when technology not only allows transparency, but demands it. Keen is executive director of the Silicon Valley salon FutureCast and the author of Digital Vertigo and The Cult of the Amateur. Phillips was CEO of Edelman, the world’s largest PR company, before leaving to set up Jericho Chambers.

Andrew Keen and Robert Phillips talk to Sarah Churchwell

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Peter Barron, Nik Gowing, Linda Yueh and Benedict Brogan chaired by Francine Stock

The Google Debates 2: The Future Of News

Hay Festival 2013, 

In a world of instant record, global publication and media turmoil, what and who is the future of news? Google’s Barron is joined by the BBC World anchor and author of Skyfull Of Lies Gowing, China expert Yueh, and Brogan, The Telegraph’s Deputy Editor.

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Andy Middleton, Ben Southworth and Chris Parker

Slipstream Wales – Data Future

Hay Festival 2013, 

How can data be used to help drive behaviour change, increase performance and make radical the new normal? With speakers from the world of technology and smart data analysis. Ben Southworth, Deputy Chief Exec at Tech City Investment Organisation, Chris Parker, Head of Geovation, Ordnance Survey and chaired by TYF’s Director Andy Middleton.

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Roly Keating

The Mechanical Curator and Other Stories

Hay Festival 2015, 

The Director of the British Library browses the infinite possibilities for Libraries and Creativity in an Age of Data. ‘These are times of historic disruption in the whole global system of information and publication, and it seems right that the great knowledge institutions – with their historic remit to think and act with a view far into the future – should play a full part in shaping the changes that lie ahead.’ Chaired by Gaby Wood, Head of Books at The Telegraph.

Roly Keating

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Arne Hintz, Lina Dencik, Jonathan Cable

Cardiff University Series 2: In An Age of Mass Surveillance

Hay Festival 2015, 

The leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have transformed our understanding of our daily communication through social media, email and mobile phones. Scholars from Cardiff University’s research project Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society will discuss the practices, implications and broader meanings of mass surveillance. Does it work? How does it work, and who and what is monitored? How does it affect civil rights? Have we been properly informed, and how should the media report? How can we protect ourselves?

Arne Hintz, Lina Dencik, Jonathan Cable

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Ian McEwan talks to Marcus du Sautoy

Fictions: Machines Like Me

Hay Festival 2019, 

McEwan’s new novel Machines Like Me takes place in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever – a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses the fundamental question: what makes us human? Du Sautoy’s new book is The Creativity Code: How AI is learning to write, paint and think.

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Linde Wester

The Solace of Quantum

Hay Festival 2017, 

What is the multiverse theory? What is Entanglement? Superposition? What is quantum computing, and how does it help? You don’t have to be a quantum physicist to understand these things if you have one who can explain them to you.  And we have Linde Wester.

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Venki Ramakrishnan

The Royal Society Lecture: Antibiotics and the Cell's Protein Factory

Hay Festival 2016, 

Venki Ramakrishnan was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry for “studies of the structure and function of the ribosome” and in 2015 became president of the Royal Society. 

We are facing a global health problem with the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. A large number of antibiotics work by preventing bacteria from making proteins, which are essential to carry out the various functions of all life. Proteins are made using instructions encoded in our genes by a large molecular machine called the ribosome. The ribosome is enormous in molecular terms, because it consists of almost half a million atoms. Solving its precise atomic structure was crucial to understand how it worked. It also showed how antibiotics bind to it and how new ones could be designed. The ribosome is also ancient and the structure provides strong evidence that it emerged from a primordial RNA world and by making proteins, helped to transform life into the form we know today.

Join Venki as he talks to Roger Highfield about his ground-breaking research. 

Venki Ramakrishnan

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Jon Ronson

So, You’ve Been Publicly Shamed…

Hay Festival 2015, 

A powerful and sometimes humorous look at the phenomenon of artificial high dramas and public shamings that are characteristic of a world dominated by social media. Why do we do it and how does it affect the shamed? Ronson was prompted into looking at public shaming after his own online identity was stolen in 2012. He met famous shamers and shamees to discover how public ridicule and vitriol can devastate the victim, and to uncover the true reasons behind the rise in public shaming.

Ronson is a documentary maker and author of many bestselling books including The Psychopath Test, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Lost at Sea and Them: Adventures with Extremists. Chaired by John Mitchinson.

Jon Ronson

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Kenneth Cukier and Viktor Mayer-Schonberger

Big Data

Hay Festival 2013, 

Just as water is wet in a way that individual water molecules aren’t, big data can reveal information in a way that individual bits of data can’t. The tech and business gurus show us the surprising ways that enormous, complex and messy collections of data can be used to predict everything from shopping patterns to flu outbreaks. Chaired by Stephanie Flanders.

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Beth Singler

Cambridge Series: Could and Should Robots Feel Pain?

Hay Festival 2017, 

Recent developments in Artificial Intelligence and robotics demonstrate that we are aiming towards creating something that is ‘human-like’ in various ways. What sort of experiences should these beings have? And what does the answer to that question tell us about ourselves? Anthropologist Dr Beth Singler is Research Associate on the Human Identity in an age of Nearly-Human Machines project at the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion. Chaired by Daniel Davis.

Beth Singler

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The Secret Life of Your Mobile Phone

Geoff White and Glenn Wilkinson

Hay Festival 2015, 

A unique and fascinating journey into the private life of a gadget you thought was on your side. Afterwards, you’ll never look at your phone in the same way again… The brainchild of Channel 4 News’ award-winning technology journalist Geoff White and security researcher Glenn Wilkinson: welcome to a live stage performance using cutting-edge interception technology to reveal the people, places and companies your phone is talking to behind your back – and what it’s telling them.

The Secret Life of Your Mobile Phone

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Marta Kwiatkowska

When to Trust a Robot…

Hay Festival 2017, 

We are witnessing accelerating technological advances in autonomous systems, of which driverless cars and home-assistive robots are prominent examples. We increasingly depend on decisions made by mobile autonomous robots and we interact with them socially. But how do we know when to trust a robot? And how much should the robots trust us? Kwiatowska develops automated verification techniques that ensure that computerised systems behave as expected, with applications in DNA computing, and in wearable and implantable medical devices.

Hay Player

Rhianna Pratchett

BAFTA presents Writing Games

Hay Festival 2013, 

The representation of women both in games and the games industry has been changing over the last few years. Come and meet Pratchett, the lead writer on Tomb Raider who specialises in developing the narrative structure, humour and characterisation in games and played a key role in the reinvention of the legendary Lara Croft.

Hay Player

Ursula Martin

The Scientific Life of Ada Lovelace, a Victorian Computing Visionary

Hay Festival 2016, 

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is famous as  “The first programmer” for her prescient writings about Charles Babbage’s unbuilt mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine. Biographers have focused on her tragically short life and her supposed poetic approach – in this talk we unpick the myths and look at her scientific education, what she really did, and why it is important, placing her in the rich context of nineteenth century science, and the contemporary misremembering of  female scientists.

Ursula Martin CBE is a Professor in Mathematics and Computer Science in the University of Oxford, and leads Oxford’s project to digitize Lovelace’s mathematics.

Ursula Martin

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Jamie Bartlett talks to Sarfraz Manzoor

The Dark Net

Hay Festival 2015, 

The dark net is an underworld that stretches from popular social media sites to the most secretive corners of the encrypted web. It is a world that frequently appears in newspaper headlines, but one that is little understood, and rarely explored. The Dark Net is a revelatory examination of the most innovative and dangerous subcultures of the online world: trolls and pornographers, drug dealers and hackers, political extremists and computer scientists, Bitcoin programmers and self-harmers, libertarians and vigilantes. Bartlett is the Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think tank Demos.

Jamie Bartlett talks to Sarfraz Manzoor

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Rahaf Harfoush

The Hidden Forces Behind our Technologies

Hay Festival 2017, 

Digital disruption and innovation are like any tools: capable of being used and abused. How are these technologies already influencing our attitudes, beliefs and behaviours and how do we ensure that these tools bring real and lasting benefits to society? Rahaf Harfoush is a digital anthropologist and best-selling author of The Decoded Company, and Yes We Did: An Insider’s Look at How Social Media Built the Obama Brand. Rahaf is the founder of Red Thread, a think-tank specialising in digital culture. She is currently working on her third book called Hustle and Float about  the intersections of technology, contemporary work culture and a post-work society. Formerly, Rahaf was the Associate Director of the Technology Pioneer Programme at the World Economic Forum, and the Research Coordinator on Don Tapscott’s Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. She was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Shaper, and by the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society as a Rising Talent for her thought-leadership in the fields of digital culture and technology.

Rahaf Harfoush

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Greg Hannon and Josephine Bunch talk to Ed Cervantes-Watson

New Perspectives on Beating Cancer Sooner

Hay Festival 2017, 

Thanks to a £35 million investment from Cancer Research UK’s Grand Challenge, Hannon’s and Bunch’s teams of scientists are forming international research collaborations to map tumours at a level of detail that has never previously been imaginable. Using cutting edge biology, chemistry and even astrophysics, they are tackling the challenge from two angles: Bunch is building a ‘Google Maps’ of cancer, whilst Professor Hannon’s use of virtual reality will allow scientists, doctors and patients to walk within tumours. These new perspectives could transform how we understand and treat all types of cancer. Cervantes-Watson is CRUK’s Director of Funding Innovation.

Greg Hannon and Josephine Bunch talk to Ed Cervantes-Watson

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Rachel Lowe and Gemma Modinos

The Royal Society Platform: The Next Big Things

Hay Festival 2018, 

From planetary exploration and micro-sensors to tropical disease and psychosis, two Royal Society Research Fellows discuss their work at the forefront of science. Lowe’s research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine involves understanding how environmental and socio-economic factors interact to determine the risk of disease transmission. Modinos’ work at King’s College London attempts to understand the neural mechanisms of emotion and stress response in schizophrenia. Chaired by Hannah Critchlow.

Hay Player

Sinclair McKay and Thomas Briggs

Bletchley and Enigma

Hay Festival 2016, 

The historians reveal unknown secrets of Bletchley’s wartime operation and the Enigma, and discuss the code-breaking challenges we face in today’s rapidly changing and technologically complex world. McKay is the author of the bestselling The Lost World of Bletchley Park and Bletchley Park - The Secret Archives. Bletchley Park’s Enigma expert, Thomas Briggs, brings a genuine, working Enigma machine to the Festival.

Sinclair McKay and Thomas Briggs

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Robin Hanson

The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth

Hay Festival 2017, 

A dazzling vision of the future. Many think the first truly smart robots will be brain emulations or ‘ems’: scan a human brain, then run a model with the same connections on a fast computer and you have a robot brain but recognisably human. Applying decades of expertise in physics, computer science and economics, Hanson uses standard theories to paint a detailed picture of a world dominated by ems. Chaired by Daniel Davis.

Robin Hanson

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Rosalind Rickaby, Nicole Grobert and Alicia El Haj

The Royal Society Platform: The Next Big Things 2017

Hay Festival 2017, 

From nanomaterials and ancient oceans to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, three Royal Society Research Fellows introduce and discuss their work at the forefront of science with climatologist and broadcaster Gabrielle Walker.

Hay Player

Sharath Srinivasan, Mariéme Jamme and Rob Burnet

Cambridge Series 2: Africa’s Digital Revolution: Power to the People?

Hay Festival 2016, 

Can new technology bring greater democracy and allow a wider range of voices to be heard? With Dr Sharath Srinivasan, Director, Centre of Governance and Human Rights at the University of Cambridge; Mariéme Jamme, CEO, blogger, technologist and social entrepreneur; and Rob Burnet, CEO and Founder of Well Told Story.

Hay Player

Peter Gray

Wings of Modernity

Hay Festival 2015, 

From the Avro 504 reconnaissance planes first used in 1914 to the Stealth Bombers and Predator Drones of today, the Director of the Centre for War Studies charts the technological innovation that developed aeroplanes into super-effective war machines. Chaired by Con Coughlin, Defence Editor of The Telegraph.

Peter Gray

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Alec Ross

The Industries of the Future

Hay Festival 2016, 

Hillary Clinton’s innovation advisor examines the specific fields that will most shape our economic future over the next ten years, including robotics, artificial intelligence, the commercialisation of genomics, cybercrime and the impact of digital technology.

Alec Ross

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Barbara Sahakian and Julia Gottwald

Sex, Lies and Brain Scans

Hay Festival 2017, 

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has proved to be game-changing for understanding the brain. Through fMRI, patients in a persistent vegetative states have been able to communicate, and unconscious biases have been uncovered. Join Barbara Sahakian and Julia Gottwald as they explore how this technique could be used, and abused, in the future. Sahakian is Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge; Gottwald is a PhD student.

Barbara Sahakian and Julia Gottwald

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Mick Ebeling

Not Impossible: Technology for the Sake of Humanity

Hay Festival 2015, 

Project Daniel was launched in January 2014 in Sudan with the establishment of the world’s first 3D-printing prosthetic limb lab, creating artificial limbs for victims of war.

As Mohammed Ali Humanitarian of the Year and named in the Top 50 Most Creative People 2014, Mick Ebeling is the founder and driving force of Not Impossible; making DIY, accessible, tech-based solutions for people around the world and powerfully telling those stories to inspire others to do the same.

Mick Ebeling

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Luciano Floridi

The Royal Society Platform: The Fourth Revolution

Hay Festival 2017, 

The Fourth Revolution: How the Infosphere Is Reshaping Human Reality

As the boundaries between life online and offline break down, we become seamlessly connected to each other and surrounded by smart, responsive objects. We are all becoming integrated into an ‘infosphere’. Personas we adopt on social media, for example, feed into our real lives so that we begin to live in ‘onlife’. Following those led by Copernicus, Darwin and Freud, this metaphysical shift represents nothing less than a fourth revolution. Floridi is Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford. Chaired by Timandra Harkness.

Luciano Floridi

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Nick Harkaway talks to Georgina Godwin

The Blind Giant

Hay Festival 2013, 

An age of isolation, warped communication, disintegrating community, where unfiltered and unregulated information pours relentlessly into our lives, destroying what it means to be human; or an age of marvels, where there is a world of wonder at our fingertips? Ultimately, the choice is ours – engage with the machines that we have created, or risk creating a world designed for corporations and computers rather than people.

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Hugo Spowers, Fiona Clancy and Will Vaughan talk to Andy Fryers

Transport Futures

Hay Festival 2017, 

Spowers is the Chief Engineer and Founder of Riversimple, whose goal is simple – to pursue, systematically, the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport. Spowers, Clancy and their team have created Rasa, a super-efficient, hydrogen-powered car. They are joined by Will Vaughan, CEO of Hereford Pedicabs and Cargo, who provide financially and environmentally sustainable services by bike – including parcel delivery, trade waste recycling, inner city advertising and pedicab hire.

Hugo Spowers, Fiona Clancy and Will Vaughan talk to Andy Fryers

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Robbert Dijkgraaf

The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge

Hay Festival 2017, 

The Director of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton replays and updates his predecessor, Abraham Flexner’s classic 1939 treatise, which describes a great paradox of scientific research: the search for answers to deep questions, motivated solely by curiosity and without concern for applications, often leads not only to the greatest scientific discoveries but also to the most revolutionary technological breakthroughs.

Robbert Dijkgraaf

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Matt Jones

Breaking the Glass – The Future of Screen Technology

Hay Festival 2017, 

Discover the future of screen technology with computer scientist Matt Jones. His team at Swansea University is exploring displays that mutate to create textures and change shape to reveal controls like dials and switches depending on our needs. See some of the early prototypes that are enhancing our digital interactions with the physical world.

Matt Jones

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Henrietta L. Moore and Ricken Patel

Cambridge University Series 9: The Future of Civic Activism

Hay Festival 2014, 

Relationships between state and society have undergone a significant shift over the last decade. On both sides promises have been made and broken, expectations raised and shattered, partnerships brokered and roles reversed. Moreover, the influence of non-state actors has become impossible to discount. Professor Moore will talk about changes in ‘politics from below’ and ask whether there is something genuinely new in kind about the way in which civil society is now operating. She is joined by video link by the co-founder of the global protest movement AVAAZ. 

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Fiona Caldicott, Nick Partridge and Tony Calland talk to Jonathan Montgomery

Big Data, Safe Data

Hay Festival 2017, 

The NHS collects people’s confidential data to provide their care but how else is it used? Should people be able to opt out of uses of their health data for purposes such as medical research, improving public services or commercial uses? Dame Fiona Caldicott is the National Data Guardian for Health and Care in England; Sir Nick Partridge is the former CEO of the Terence Higgins Trust and Dr Tony Calland is a former GP in Wales. Chaired by Professor Jonathan Montgomery, Professor of Health Care Law at University College London.

Fiona Caldicott, Nick Partridge and Tony Calland talk to Jonathan Montgomery

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James Scott

AIQ: How Artificial Intelligence Works and how we can Harness its Power for a Better World

Hay Festival 2018, 

The statistician and data scientist offers an up-close and user-friendly look at artificial intelligence: what it is, how it works, where it came from and how to harness its power for a better world. A revolution of intelligent machines, from self-driving cars to smart digital assistants, is now remaking our world, just as the Industrial Revolution remade the world of the 19th century. Doctors use AI to diagnose and treat cancer. Banks use it to detect fraud. Power companies use it to save energy. AI is changing our lives at lightning speed. Many of these changes offer great promise, including freedom from drudgery, safer workplaces, better health care and fewer language barriers. But others elicit worry - whether about jobs, data privacy, political manipulation or the prospect of machines making biased decisions with no accountability. Scott shows how intelligent machines operating on massive data sets are changing the world around you, and how you can use this knowledge to make better decisions in your own life. Chaired by Hannah MacInnes.

James Scott

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Stephen Harris

What Have Plants Ever Done for Us?

Hay Festival 2016, 

Which tree is often used in the treatment of cancer? Which everyday condiment is the most widely traded spice on the planet? Plants are an indispensable part of our everyday lives. From the coffee bush and grass for cattle (which give us milk for our cappuccinos), to the rubber tree that produces tyres for our cars, our lives are inextricably linked to the world of plants. The Curator of the Oxford University Herbaria identifies the plants that have been key to the development of the western world.

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Philip Ball

Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew About Quantum Physics is Different

Hay Festival 2018, 

“Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.” Since Niels Bohr said this many years ago, quantum mechanics has only been getting more shocking. We now realise that it’s not really telling us that “weird” things happen out of sight, on the tiniest level, in the atomic world. Rather, we can now see that everything is quantum: our everyday world is simply what quantum becomes at the human scale. But if quantum mechanics is right, what seems obvious and right in our everyday world is built on foundations that don’t seems obvious or right – or even possible. The writer Philip Ball was formerly an editor at Nature.

Philip Ball

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Richard House

Digital Publishing: Pixels vs paper – The Kills

Hay Festival 2014, 

The digital-first publication of the Booker long-listed The Kills combines over forty multimedia elements (film, audio, animation and text) alongside a sequence of four novels. House will talk about the development of the project and the potential of digital publishing.

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Susan Molyneux Hodgson, Julie Hill and Dale Sanders

The Royal Society Platform: We Need To Talk About Gene Tech

Hay Festival 2017, 

Why does public debate and policy treat the application of genetic technology differently when we are discussing medicine and food? Why is our concept of what is ‘natural’ so controversial and the idea of GM food so alarming? Scientists and sociologists come together with Daniel Davis to discuss what’s being ventured and how it is perceived.

Susan Molyneux Hodgson, Julie Hill and Dale Sanders

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George Zarkadakis

Artificial Intelligence

Hay Festival 2015, 

We explore AI’s history, technology and potential; its manifestations in intelligent machines; its connections to neurology and consciousness, as well as – perhaps most tellingly – what AI reveals about us as human beings. Zarkadakis is the author of In Our Own Image: Will Artificial Intelligence Save or Destroy Us?

George Zarkadakis

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Caroline Criado-Perez talks to Anita Anand

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Hay Festival 2019, 

Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman. The award-winning campaigner and writer shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives. 

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Leslie Ann Goldberg

Algorithms and their Limitations

Hay Festival 2016, 

Many of our everyday activities, such as looking up information on the internet and journey planning, are supported by sophisticated algorithms. Some of our online activities are supported by the fact that we don’t have good algorithms for some problems: the encryption scheme that supports the privacy of credit cards in online transactions is believed to be secure precisely because there is no known fast algorithm for factoring large numbers. The Oxford Computer Science Professor explains a little of what we know about the limitations of algorithms, and also the famous P vs NP problem. This is the most important open problem in computer science and is one of the seven Millennium Problems of the Clay Mathematics Institute, which has offered a million-dollar prize for its solution.

Leslie Ann Goldberg

Hay Player

Peter Lacy talks to Andy Fryers

Waste to Wealth  – The Circular Economy Advantage

Hay Festival 2016, 

Waste to Wealth proves that ‘green’ and ‘growth’ need not be contradictions and shows a new way for companies to compete with new markets, products and services that drive sustainable outcomes. The Global Managing Director of Strategy & Sustainability at Accenture examines five new business models that decouple harmful use or use of scarce natural resources from growth - looking at the latest innovation & technology disruption in areas like circular supply chains, recovery and recycling, product life extension, sharing economy and moving from products to services - before setting out what business leaders need to do to implement the models successfully. Already an Amazon best-seller & published in English, Mandarin, German, French, Italian & Korean in its first six months, the book includes more than 120 practical case studies anyone can learn from and apply, which Peter will share & debate.

Peter Lacy talks to Andy Fryers

Hay Player

Helen Margetts

Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action

Hay Festival 2016, 

As people spend increasing proportions of their daily lives using social media such as Twitter and Facebook, they are being invited to support myriad political causes by sharing, liking, endorsing or downloading. Chain reactions caused by these tiny acts of participation form a growing part of collective action today, from neighbourhood campaigns to global political movements. Margetts is the Director of the Oxford Internet Institute and co-author of Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action.

Helen Margetts

Hay Player

Mary Aiken

The Cyber Effect: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behaviour Changes Online

Hay Festival 2017, 

The world’s leading expert in forensic cyberpsychology analyses everything from the impact of screens on the developing child to the explosion of teen sexting. She examines the acceleration of compulsive and addictive online behaviours (gaming, shopping, pornography) and the escalation in cyberchondria (self-diagnosis online), cyberstalking and organised crime in the Deep Web. Cyberspace is an environment full of surveillance, but who is looking out for us?

Mary Aiken