Parliament Sky

Technology: the driving force of human civilisation?

By Nicola Martin, University of Stirling and @NicolaMartin14 - 20 April 2017

The first line of an article I read this morning proclaimed that: “Technology has driven human civilisation for thousands of years.” [1] Businessman Mukesh Ambani was discussing the opportunities for India to become a world leader in technology as humanity sits on the cusp of a fourth Industrial Revolution that looks set to blur the lines that currently exist between the physical, digital and biological spheres and to alter all aspects of our lives in ways we cannot yet even fully imagine.

Ambani was thinking forward to the future, yet his first comment was to point to the past...

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Scotland's landscapes: natural or naturalised?

By Eleanore Widger, University of Dundee and @NellWidger | 13 April 2017

Something has troubled me as I’ve progressed through my internship thinking about Scotland’s relationship to landscape. My research background in the Environmental Humanities has taught me to be sceptical of the term ‘nature’ – what can it really mean, and does it really exist, in the context of millennia of human exploitation?

Yet in other fields the idea of ‘nature’ is often used to describe something distinctive about Scotland...

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Civilisation: a question of terminology

By Nicola Martin, University of Stirling and @NicolaMartin14 | 5 April 2017

Before we consider what various stakeholders understand by the notion of a civilised nation or civilisation in the present, and even before we consider the various past perspectives of these notions, it is useful to understand the definitions of the words themselves, where the terms originated from and how the definition altered over time to lead to the definition currently accepted in the present.

The definitions of the terms civilised and civilisation are closely related...

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Glaciation and imagination: shaping Scotland’s landscape for 15,000 years

By Eleanore Widger, University of Dundee and @NellWidger | 15 March 2017

I began my last post by describing the view from my Futures Forum desk. Looking past my computer towards Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags, I received what Neal Ascherson describes in his beautiful and illuminating book, Stone Voices, as ‘a lesson in the unimaginable forces and lapses of time which have gone to shape the world’.[1]

According to Ascherson, this is a lesson first received by the early Victorians...

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Scotland 2030: Greetings from another Futures Fellow

By Nicola Martin, University of Stirling and @NicolaMartin14 | 10 March 2017

Whilst the current view from my window is not as symbolic as Eleanore’s (I’m currently working from home rather than the Parliament), I too found my thinking for this opening post directed by one of Scotland’s many evocative landscapes.

I started my day as I often do...

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Scotland 2030: Greetings from a Futures Fellow

By Eleanore Widger, University of Dundee and @NellWidger | 2 March 2017

As I write this I can see, to the right of my computer screen, the gorse-covered north-west side of an extinct volcano, a huge slab of rock which juts diagonally out of a 640 acre landscaped royal park in a city centre. Where else could I be but Edinburgh?

More specifically, I’m in an office at the Scottish Parliament, where I’ll be interning for the next few months...

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Scotland's Futures Forum: new kid on the block

By Rob Littlejohn, Head of Business at Scotland's Futures Forum | 2 March 2017

Although I’ve titled this blogpost “New kid on the block”, I can’t pretend that I’m that new, having been in the privileged position of Head of Business for Scotland’s Futures Forum since October last year.

Since being appointed, however, I’ve spent a lot of the time getting my head...

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