The challenge of the future

What are the key challenges

facing the world?

What implications will they have

for my career and my life?

If there are problems,

how can I be part of the solution?

zaha hadid future

Sometimes it seems that the media are full of threats and warnings.  We could pretend that the challenges don’t exist; we could wish they’d go away.  Or we could approach them as opportunities for change from which everyone might benefit.  This course takes a positive look at how we can move ahead on many different fronts.


Futurology – science or pseudo-science?

People have long attempted to predict the future.  From prophets of old to leading scientists of today, so many have reached for the crystal ball.  The course begins with a survey of some of the leading thinkers – and assesses their predictions.


The digital revolution

Well, we can see where we’ve come in a very short time, but where are we heading?  Can we predict future developments and their impacts on us as individuals and on society as a whole?


Artificial intelligence

AI is set to change the workplace, with millions of jobs disappearing, but others hopefully taking their place.  But how will it all work in practice, and does AI represent a much bigger potential challenge?


Climate change

Nearly all scientists agree: it’s happening – and fast.  We know the threats, but what are the opportunities in terms of new technologies and new businesses?  And will governments help or hinder?



The term has been in use for decades, but what does it actually mean in practice?  And is it now going into reverse gear?  Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages, and see where we might be heading.


People versus planet?

The world now has around 7.6 billion inhabitants, with 83 million more added every year.  The increase creates problems for people and for the other organisms sharing our planet.  Can the increase be stopped, or can it be managed?  Or should we look for Planet B?


A different way of life?

Ten years ago, few people talked about the problem of plastic, but now it may be the biggest environmental threat after global warming.  But plastic is just one aspect of lifestyles which seem to be unsustainable.  Can we be both prosperous and responsible?


The way of the world

There’s no getting away from it: what happens on the international political arena has a profound impact on all our lives.  Can we look ahead a few decades, and think through some of the possible scenarios?