Tag archive for "eric schmidt"

On Writing

Steve Jobs’ six lives

No Comments 12 January 2012

I’ve just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography on my iPad and I have to say it granted me everything I could have wished for and more.

Some of the reviews I’ve seen are quite critical, mainly because people have felt that the biography doesn’t offer any further insight into a man who has been written about and studied for the last three decades. I certainly am not one of them as I have only recently started using Apple products. I didn’t really know that much about Steve Jobs until last year and the little I did know wasn’t first-hand. Continue Reading

Future Earth

Leonardo da Vinci and the future of the human race

No Comments 08 November 2011

An important exhibition is about to open in the UK. It features a man who was first and foremost an artist, but could also credibly claim to be an accomplished sculptor, musician, mathematician, cartographer, geologist, inventor, engineer, scientist and philosopher. I’m referring of course to Leonardo da Vinci and the Painter at the Court of Milan exhibition at The National Gallery in London, where nine of his 15 surviving works will be on show between 9 November 2011 and 5 February 2012.

Leonardo da Vinci has always fascinated me. Not so much for his art, even though he is one of the greatest painters ever to live, but more for his mastery of a bewildering array of seemingly unconnected subjects and topics. Of the many inventions Leonardo da Vinci could lay claim to, some could not be constructed during his lifetime due to manufacturing limitations. These included the helicopter, the tank, concentrated solar power, the calculator and the double hull. He also sketched parachutes that centuries later were proven to work, and designed bridges that, hundreds of years later, turned out to be perfectly engineered.

The word Polymath is often used to describe Leonardo da Vinci, and with good reason. Polymaths are able to make the mental and intellectual leaps that will solve problems and perhaps lead to civilization-changing inventions, such as the device in The Human Race that promises to reverse global warming.

Interestingly, Leonardo da Vinci may occupy another unique period in history, as he lived during a time when it was possible to know everything there was to know about the known world. This would be impossible now, what with the 3,000-odd scientific papers that are published every day. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is very unlikely that someone will ever again have mastery of everything that is now known to mankind.

Do we need to know everything?

No. But what is important is that every generation has their own Leonardo da Vinci: a person characterised by his or her innate curiosity and insatiable desire to observe and question everything. In essence, somebody who will not accept anything until they have tested the alternatives. Breakthroughs and inventions always seem to follow these people. If you have these traits, then at some point in the future you can begin to “connect the dots” to which Steve Jobs famously alluded to in his 2005 lecture at Stanford University.  Things will begin to fall into place and connections will be made that would never have been possible, had you stuck to just one subject.

Like Eric Schmidt, I worry that we don’t encourage or nurture this type of individual anymore. Everyone seems so… specialised. We seem to be in such a rush to push students down educational cul-de-sacs, sometimes before they even get to university. These days, we all focus on such narrow fields of expertise from such an early age.

Does this inhibit the forming of future polymaths?

It must do and I can’t see the need for us to do this, especially as we begin to live longer and longer.  Our extended lifespans are bound to encourage more free-thinking individuals to pursue several careers, hopefully in a variety of different subjects.

Perhaps there will never be another Leonardo da Vinci of our lifetime. However I hope that there will be plenty of people of his ilk. The future of the human race depends on it.

Future Tech

Science Fiction: has China got it right?

8 Comments 14 September 2011

My fellow writers Damien G Walter and Mark Charan Newton recently published excellent posts on a topic that has been swirling around my own head for some weeks: the future for science fiction. As both point out, China is now the largest market for science fiction writing. The reason for this is quite astounding. According to Damien:

“China is the world’s manufacturing powerhouse. But it doesn’t invent or design the things it manufactures… China wants to capture the creativity and imagination of the culture that has produced companies like Google and Apple. So researchers talked to people involved with those and other companies to see what factors they had in common. Guess what the answer was? They all read Science Fiction.” Continue Reading

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Reviews of The Human Race

Unputdownable. Yes, I know it's not a word, but it definitely applies here, anyway. That's the word I'm going with, to describe The Human Race by O.C. Heaton. - Hira N. Hasnain

An outstanding first novel from O.C. Heaton that catapults him into the Best Seller league… - Justine Bond

"This is an exciting, fast-paced read. The Human Race is a book that is very easy to forget to put down. Bring on part two!" - L. H. Bowers

"If you are looking for a well-plotted and well-written thriller to while away the hours of a long flight, this offering might suit you very well." - David Bryson, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

For further reviews of The Human Race by O.C. Heaton click here.

Author Bio

Charles Heaton British thriller writer O.C. Heaton, author of The Human Race, is fascinated by the past, present and future of human evolution. (Image credit: Ross Parry Agency) Read More>>

O.C. Heaton’s bookshelf

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O.C.'s bookshelf: read

The BeachThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeLife of PiOuter DarkThe FirmAlexander 3: The Ends of the Earth: A Novel

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