June 17, 2016

Look to Budapest for Europe’s Future

Look to Budapest for Europe’s Future

‘New’ Europe is rapidly establishing itself as a beacon of innovation, social organisation and cultural influence, writes Gergely Böszörményi-Nagy. 

A weird and wonderful mix of explorers, technologists, philosophers and startup founders descended on Budapest this month to do some serious thinking about the future of jobs, medicine, warfare, food production and government. The second annual Brain Bar Budapest, a festival on future thinking, took place against a backdrop of disharmony and protest in the continent’s leading nations, with strikers on the streets in France and Belgium and a possible ‘Brexit’ looming in the UK. Despite this, Brain Bar attendees reached some surprisingly upbeat conclusions.

Brain Bar’s over-riding purpose is to send the disciplines of tech and philosophy hurtling towards one another at speeds quicker than a Large Hadron Collider. We stand nervously at the impact zone to ask the important questions such as whether immortality through trans-humanism is desirable? Will virtuality detach us from our relationships with the external world? Can commercial brands, the largest employers on Earth, survive the age of additive manufacturing? Could robots outsmart humans and take control?

Luckily, we had some genuine expertise on hand to answer these questions including astronaut Chris Hadfield, media industry legend Sir Martin Sorrell, the world’s first real cyborg Neil Harbisson, philosopher Virginia Postrel and fervent transhumanist, Zoltan Istvan, among many others.

But our main theme was Europe itself — what does rapid technological and societal change herald for our civilisation and the collective political structures that currently support it?

The home of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution is caught between its illustrious past and a very uncertain future. Will technology exert a centripetal or centrifugal force on the continent’s institutions? And, if the latter, what will replace them?

There was widespread agreement that Europe needs to do much more to put its own stamp on progress and preserve its status as a beacon to the rest of the world in the fields of innovation, work ethics, social organisation and cultural influence. There was also a sense that this is a natural moment for the baton to pass from old Europe to the new one. The political crises besetting western capitals are creating a sense of paralysis. Conversely, there is a sense of renewal in Central Europe and clarity about what a post-crisis future should look like.

So what should it look like?

It is a future that fosters a sense of smart competition between Europe’s nations as the spur to innovation and value creation. This is especially true in the technological space. It shouldn’t be about making the cheapest computer chips; it’s about understanding how those chips are going to be used tomorrow. We need to lead the human innovation that will drive real intelligence.

Even our esteemed technologists accepted that technology relies on people just as much as humanity has come to rely on technology. The same is true in politics — institutions become elite when they move away from people. They need anchoring in our lives as they are lived, messy and frustrating as they may be. We face a huge competition from the East. Its rise will exert profound economic pressure on our European social model. Europe needs to be more flexible to remain in the ring.

No one caught this better than Commander Chris Hadfield who, with the sun setting on the façade of Saint Stephen’s Basilica, recounted his space explorations to a young crowd in the square. He told us how individual human decisions have effected enormous outcomes and changed the course of history. “Brain Bar is about the interplay of human decision making and the future,” he said.

I can’t put it any better than that. We shall see where our European path leads in the 12 months to come.

5.00 avg. rating (93% score) - 1 vote
  • Shadow Warrior

    Hammond is continuity Brown. He is a hand-wringing lefty looking for clever wheezes to raise more tax in ways that people don’t immediately notice.

  • captainslugwash

    I predict the Budget will attempt to show the Left how caring the Tories are, and it will be funded by screwing over the working man.
    If Corp Tax comes down, I bet Divi tax will be going up.
    I would love to be wrong.

  • skynine

    We really need to look at tax credits, in particular in work tax credits that encourage people to work part time to preserve the benefits. 45% of women work part time and I would hazard a guess that tax credits are the main cause. This leads to low pay, low skill work in supermarkets and the retail sector including coffee shops. The government needs to get back to the employer paying people to do a job for economic reasons rather than to get onto the tax credit ladder. Like all government benefits it distorts the market and diverts government expenditure into non productive areas.
    The refrain that the government has cut expenditure is not true, it increases every year as more and more goes into welfare.

  • MrVeryAngry

    fat chance

  • MrSauce

    So, when wouldn’t we want a ‘budget for growth’?

  • Rob

    I note that the UK Government has just slapped on a 25% tax charge for anyone moving abroad and wishing to move out their private pension from the UK.

  • SonofBoudica

    The Remoaners will do their utmost to sabotage the Government’s negotiating position. They do not want a successful outcome; they want a failure. They want to be able to scream “Told you so!” from the rooftops.

  • EnglandLaments

    Thank goodness for Andrew Neil, the one media hack who scares the pants off the established politicians. He was spot on with Heidi Allen!

  • joshuafalken

    I had a very long, hard, studied and considered look at the hope, care and aspirations of all Europeans, before I voted to get the UK out of the toxic grasp of Brussels.

    The European Union and it’s charge of “ever closer union” has borrowed and spent its way to oblivion, whilst enslaving the working and middle classes in debt.

    The central control mantra of the unaccountable Brussels ruling elite, delivered through a mixture of socialism, globalism and corporatism is entirely responsible for the populist revolt by the millions of “Just About Managings” across Europe.

    We must remember the ultimate goal of socialists, globalists and corporatists is control, not prosperity. see https://mises.org/blog/goal-socialists-socialism-—-not-prosperity.

    Social equality and economic growth always fail under central control and fighting against the Brussels doctrine on behalf of all Europeans is why I voted for Brexit.

    Britain has a long history of helping Europeans depose tyrants and Brussels is just the latest incarnation.

    Britain is the most racially advanced and accepting society on the planet. We welcome those in need and those that can help us with open arms and a smile; that will not change.

    We are also one of the most innovative, talented and open societies in the world, which why everyone wants to live here. However, we cannot fit everyone in, so we have to have clear, balanced and fair immigration policy which is where the arguments start between the monetarists and humanists will never be reconciled.

    I thought long and hard before coming to the conclusion that leaving the EU was in the best interest of all Europeans, as Brussels is toxic and cannot be reformed from within.

    Also, I find it insulting that people who voted Remain have insufficient faith in British ingenuity, compassion and skill to get a good deal for us and see the Europe that we love get a better deal from Brussels and the reform that European people deserve. https://mishtalk.com/2017/03/29/bad-brexit-deal-better-than-no-deal-mathematical-idiocy-odds-of-no-deal/ and https://www.worldheadlines.info/2017/03/after-brexit-9-reasons-to-be-bullish-on-great-britain/

    The politics of left verses right are dead because neither have delivered the promised economic growth and social mobility for anyone, but themselves. The populists are not selfish per-se, they just want to take back control of their own destiny that left/right politicians have freely given away and/or exploited for their own ends. In my constituency, the local residents group are taking over the councils as politicians ignore voters, so Westminster should beware of the well-organised, local resident independents at the next election. This is a peoples revolution which should be shouted from the rooftops, but liberals remained deafened by the socialist, globalist and corporatist “vested interests” that have spectacularly failed us and are obediently crying foul and fake.

    There will be an initial unpalatable inflationary cost to fighting globalism and rolling back central control that few appear to have factored in, but dismantling failed left/right vested interests should eventually free libertarian socially-conservative capitalism from the shackles of TBTF corporatism to feed economic growth and social mobility.

  • agdpa

    The EU usually makes the wrong decision – on immigration, on freedom of movement, on the euro, on the Ukraine, etc. etc. Little hope it will get Brexit right.

  • brownowl

    Eh? Reference please!

  • Neil2

    Sod caring. Screw the spongers and breeders. Kill HS2. Stop all “green” subsidies. Slash “foreign aid” and walk away from the EUSSR with immediate effect.

  • Rob
  • John C

    What a confused article. It conflates surveillance by the security services with poor defences against fraud.

  • John C

    Err, it’s the UK that’s leaving the EU, not vice versa.

  • John C

    Me, now. ‘Growth’ is a manic obsession.

  • La Face Nord

    Mr Redwood – are you aware of the Biased BBC website? It’s been exposing their agenda for a long time, but I imagine you’ve been well aware of the BBC’s agenda for quite some time…

  • Contact Rvtech

    The post is great

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