I’ve been in Seville for a day or so, swapping the Derbyshire drizzle for the Andalucian sun. I was one of the speakers in a meeting about Technology and Society, held in the beautiful surroundings of the Hospital de los Venerables. The meeting was organised by the Spanish writer and broadcaster Eduardo Punset, who also interviewed me for the science program he presents on Spanish TV.
As well as my talk and the TV interview, I also took part in a panel discussion with Alun Anderson, the former editor-in-chief of New Scientist. This took the form of a conversation between him and me, with an audience listening in. I hope they enjoyed it; I certainly did. As one would imagine, Anderson is formidably well- informed about huge swathes of modern science, and very well-connected with the most prominent scientists and writers. Among the topics we discussed were the future of energy generation and transmission, prospects for space elevators and electronic newspapers, Craig Venter’s minimal genome project, and whether we believed the premise of Ray Kurzweil’s most recent book, ‘The Singularity is Near’. Alun announced he would soon be appearing on a platform with a Ray Kurzweil’s live hologram, or thereabouts. However he did stress that this was simply because the corporeal Kurzweil couldn’t get to the venue in person, not because he has prematurely uploaded.