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'A terrific book - essential reading for everyone seeking to make sense of Artificial Intelligence' Professor Sir Adrian Smith, Director and Chief Executive of the Alan Turing Institute In this myth-busting guide to AI past and present, one of the world's leading researchers shows why our fears for the future are misplaced. The ultimate dream of AI is to build machines that are like us: conscious and self-aware. While this remains a remote possibility, rapid progress in AI is already transforming our world. Yet the public debate is still largely centred on unlikely prospects, from sentient machines to dystopian robot takeovers. In this lively and clear-headed guide, Michael Wooldridge challenges the prevailing narrative, revealing how the hype distracts us from both the more immediate risks that this technology poses - from algorithmic bias to fake news - and the true life-changing potential of the field. The Road to Conscious Machines elucidates the discoveries of AI's greatest pioneers from Alan Turing to Demis Hassabis, and what today's researchers actually think and do. 'Nobody understands the past, the present, the promise and the peril of this new technology better than Michael Wooldridge. The definitive account' Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist 'Effortlessly readable. The perfect guide to the history and future of AI' Tom Chivers, author of The AI Does Not Hate You
How does Britain get its food? Why is our current system at breaking point? How can we fix it before it is too late? British food has changed remarkably in the last half century. As we have become wealthier and more discerning, our food has Europeanized (pizza is children's favourite food) and internationalized (we eat the world's cuisines), yet our food culture remains fragmented, a mix of mass 'ultra-processed' substances alongside food as varied and good as anywhere else on the planet. This book takes stock of the UK food system: where it comes from, what we eat, its impact, fragilities and strengths. It is a book on the politics of food. It argues that the Brexit vote will force us to review our food system. Such an opportunity is sorely needed. After a brief frenzy of concern following the financial shock of 2008, the UK government has slumped once more into a vague hope that the food system will keep going on as before. Food, they said, just required a burst of agri-technology and more exports to pay for our massive imports. Feeding Britain argues that this and other approaches are short-sighted, against the public interest, and possibly even strategic folly. Setting a new course for UK food is no easy task but it is a process, this book urges, that needs to begin now. 'Tim Lang has performed a public service' Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times
Most people now realize that economic growth, however desirable, will not solve all our problems. Instead, we need a philosophy and a science which encompasses a much fuller range of human need and experience. This book argues that the goal for a society must be the greatest possible all-round happiness, and shows how each of us can become more effective creators of happiness, both as citizens and in our own organizations. Written with Richard Layard's characteristic clarity, it provides hard evidence that increasing happiness is the right aim, and that it can be achieved. Its language is simple, its evidence impressive, its effect inspiring. 'In this book 'Can We Be Happier?' which is part of Richard Layard's excellent, ongoing exploration of what happiness is and how it can be achieved, he provides evidence that if you have peace of mind and are full of joy, your health will be good, your family will be happy and that happiness will affect the atmosphere of the community in which you live.' The Dalai Lama
'If you think you understand AI and all of the related issues, you don't. By the time you finish this exceptionally lucid and riveting book you will breathe more easily and wisely' - Michael Gazzaniga A leading computer scientist brings human sense to the AI bubble No recent scientific enterprise has been so alluring, terrifying and filled with extravagant promise and frustrating setbacks as artificial intelligence. Writing with clarity and passion, leading AI researcher Melanie Mitchell offers a captivating account of modern-day artificial intelligence. Flavoured with personal stories and a twist of humour, Artificial Intelligence illuminates the workings of machines that mimic human learning, perception, language, creativity and common sense. Weaving together advances in AI with cognitive science and philosophy, Mitchell probes the extent to which today's 'smart' machines can actually think or understand, and whether AI even requires such elusive human qualities at all. Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans provides readers with an accessible and clear-eyed view of the AI landscape, what the field has actually accomplished, how much further it has to go and what it means for all of our futures.
'The standard book on anarchism for the twenty-first century. Written with brio, quiet insight and clarity' Carl Levy A magisterial study of the history and theory of one of the most controversial political movements Anarchism routinely gets a bad press. It's usually seen as meaning chaos and disorder -- or even nothing at all. And yet, from Occupy Wall Street to Pussy Riot, Noam Chomsky to David Graeber, this philosophical and political movement is as relevant as ever. Contrary to popular perception, different strands of anarchism -- from individualism to collectivism -- do follow certain structures and a shared sense of purpose: a belief in freedom and working towards collective good without the interference of the state. In this masterful, sympathetic account, political theorist Ruth Kinna traces the tumultuous history of anarchism, starting with thinkers and activists such as Peter Kropotkin and Emma Goldman and through key events like the Paris Commune and the Haymarket affair. Skilfully introducing us to the nuanced theories of anarchist groups from Russia to Japan to the United States, The Government of No One reveals what makes a supposedly chaotic movement particularly adaptable and effective over centuries -- and what we can learn from it.
A THE TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019 'The best introduction to the plays I've read, perhaps the best book on Shakespeare, full stop' Alex Preston, Observer 'It makes you impatient to see or re-read the plays at once' Hilary Mantel A genius and prophet whose timeless works encapsulate the human condition like no others. A writer who surpassed his contemporaries in vision, originality and literary mastery. Who wrote like an angel, putting it all so much better than anyone else. Is this Shakespeare? Well, sort of. But it doesn't really tell us the whole truth. So much of what we say about Shakespeare is either not true, or just not relevant, deflecting us from investigating the challenges of his inconsistencies and flaws. This electrifying new book thrives on revealing, not resolving, the ambiguities of Shakespeare's plays and their changing topicality. It introduces an intellectually, theatrically and ethically exciting writer who engages with intersectionality as much as with Ovid, with economics as much as poetry: who writes in strikingly modern ways about individual agency, privacy, politics, celebrity and sex. It takes us into a world of politicking and copy-catting, as we watch him emulating the blockbusters of Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd, the Spielberg and Tarantino of their day; flirting with and skirting round the cut-throat issues of succession politics, religious upheaval and technological change. The Shakespeare in this book poses awkward questions rather than offering bland answers, always implicating us in working out what it might mean. This is Shakespeare. And he needs your attention.
'A statistical national treasure' Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2 'Required reading for all politicians, journalists, medics and anyone who tries to influence people (or is influenced) by statistics. A tour de force' Popular Science Do busier hospitals have higher survival rates? How many trees are there on the planet? Why do old men have big ears? David Spiegelhalter reveals the answers to these and many other questions - questions that can only be addressed using statistical science. Statistics has played a leading role in our scientific understanding of the world for centuries, yet we are all familiar with the way statistical claims can be sensationalised, particularly in the media. In the age of big data, as data science becomes established as a discipline, a basic grasp of statistical literacy is more important than ever. In The Art of Statistics, David Spiegelhalter guides the reader through the essential principles we need in order to derive knowledge from data. Drawing on real world problems to introduce conceptual issues, he shows us how statistics can help us determine the luckiest passenger on the Titanic, whether serial killer Harold Shipman could have been caught earlier, and if screening for ovarian cancer is beneficial. 'Shines a light on how we can use the ever-growing deluge of data to improve our understanding of the world' Nature
'A terrific book, rich and endlessly thought provoking. . . If you are looking for one book to understand the core ideas of Chinese civilisation, read this' - Michael Wood An engrossing history of ancient Chinese philosophy and culture from an eminent Cambridge expert We are often told that the twenty-first century is bound to become China's century. Never before has Chinese culture been so physically, digitally, economically or aesthetically present in everyday Western life. But how much do we really know about its origins and key beliefs? How did the ancient Chinese think about the world? In this enlightening book, Roel Sterckx, one of the foremost experts in Chinese thought, takes us through centuries of Chinese history, from Confucius to Daoism to the Legalists. The great questions that have occupied China's brightest minds were not about who and what we are, but rather how we should live our lives, how we should organise society and how we can secure the well-being of those who live with us and for whom we carry responsibility. With evocative examples from philosophy, literature and everyday life, Sterckx shows us how the ancient Chinese have shaped the thinking of a civilization that is now influencing our own.
A world-renowned astrophysicist takes us through the huge, unfolding history of the universe The night sky is an endless source of wonder and mystery. For thousands of years it has been at the heart of scientific and philosophical inquiry, from the first star catalogues etched into ancient Mesopotamian clay tablets to the metres-wide telescopes constructed in Chile's Atacama Desert today. On a clear night it is hard not to look up and pick out familiar constellations, and to think of the visionary minds who pioneered our understanding of what lies beyond. In this thrilling new guide to our Universe and how it works, Professor of Astrophysics Jo Dunkley reveals how it only becomes more beautiful and exciting the more we discover about it. With warmth and clarity, Dunkley takes us from the very basics - why the Earth orbits the Sun, and how our Moon works - right up to massive, strange phenomena like superclusters, quasars, and the geometry of spacetime. As she does so, Dunkley unfurls the history of humankind's heroic journey to understand the history and structure of the cosmos, revealing the extraordinary, little-known stories of astronomy pioneers including Williamina Fleming, Vera Rubin and Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Illuminating and uplifting, this is your essential guide to the biggest subject of all.
'Crisp, clear and quietly devastating' Guardian 'Excellent, authoritative, highly readable' Irish Times A succinct, expert guide to how we got to Brexit After all the debates, manoeuvrings, recriminations and exaltations, Brexit is upon us. But, as Kevin O'Rourke writes, Brexit did not emerge out of nowhere: it is the culmination of events that have been under way for decades and have historical roots stretching back well beyond that. Brexit has a history. O'Rourke, one of the leading economic historians of his generation, explains not only how British attitudes to Europe have evolved, but also how the EU's history explains why it operates as it does today - and how that history has shaped the ways in which it has responded to Brexit. Why are the economics, the politics and the history so tightly woven together? Crucially, he also explains why the question of the Irish border is not just one of customs and trade, but for the EU goes to the heart of what it is about. The way in which British, Irish and European histories continue to interact with each other will shape the future of Brexit - and of the continent. Calm and lucid, A Short History of Brexit rises above the usual fray of discussions to provide fresh perspectives and understanding of the most momentous political and economic change in Britain and the EU for decades.
A three-thousand year history of the world that examines the causes of war and the search for peace In three thousand years of history, China has spent at least eleven centuries at war. The Roman Empire was in conflict during at least 50 per cent of its lifetime. Since 1776, the United States has spent over one hundred years at war. The dream of peace has been universal in the history of humanity. So why have we so rarely been able to achieve it? In A Political History of the World, Jonathan Holslag has produced a sweeping history of the world, from the Iron Age to the present, that investigates the causes of conflict between empires, nations and peoples and the attempts at diplomacy and cosmopolitanism. A birds-eye view of three thousand years of history, the book illuminates the forces shaping world politics from Ancient Egypt to the Han Dynasty, the Pax Romana to the rise of Islam, the Peace of Westphalia to the creation of the United Nations. This truly global approach enables Holslag to search for patterns across different eras and regions, and explore larger questions about war, diplomacy, and power. Has trade fostered peace? What are the limits of diplomacy? How does environmental change affect stability? Is war a universal sin of power? At a time when the threat of nuclear war looms again, this is a much-needed history intended for students of international politics, and anyone looking for a background on current events.
'One of the most important books I've read in years' Brian Eno We are losing the commons. Austerity and neoliberal policies have depleted our shared wealth; our national utilities have been sold off to foreign conglomerates, social housing is almost non-existent, our parks are cordoned off for private events and our national art galleries are sponsored by banks and oil companies. This plunder deprives us all of our common rights, recognized as far back as the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest of 1217, to share fairly and equitably in our public wealth. Guy Standing leads us through a new appraisal of the commons, stemming from the medieval concept of common land reserved in ancient law from marauding barons, to his modern reappraisal of the resources we all hold in common - a brilliant new synthesis that crystallises quite how much public wealth has been redirected to the 1% in recent decades through the state-approved exploitation of everything from our land to our state housing, health and benefit systems, to our justice system, schools, newspapers and even the air we breathe. Plunder of the Commons proposes a charter for a new form of commoning, of remembering, guarding and sharing that which belongs to us all, to slash inequality and soothe our current political instability.
A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR A crucial new guide to one of the most urgent political phenomena of our time: the rise of national populism Across the West, there is a rising tide of people who feel excluded, alienated from mainstream politics, and increasingly hostile towards minorities, immigrants and neo-liberal economics. Many of these voters are turning to national populist movements, which have begun to change the face of Western liberal democracy, from the United States to France, Austria to the UK. This radical turn, we are told, is a last howl of rage from an aging electorate on the verge of extinction. Their leaders are fascistic and their politics anti-democratic; their existence a side-show to liberal democracy. But this version of events, as Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin show, could not be further from the truth. Written by two of the foremost experts on fascism and the rise of national populism, this lucid and deeply-researched book is a vital guide to our transformed political landscape. Challenging conventional wisdoms, Eatwell and Goodwin make a compelling case for serious, respectful engagement with the supporters and ideas of national populism - not least because it is a tide that won't be stemmed anytime soon.
What are the effects of decreasing social mobility? How does education help - and hinder - us in improving our life chances? Why are so many of us stuck on the same social rung as our parents? Apart from the USA, Britain has the lowest social mobility in the Western world. The lack of movement in who gets where in society - particularly when people are stuck at the bottom and the top - costs the nation dear, both in terms of the unfulfilled talents of those left behind and an increasingly detached elite, disinterested in improvements that benefit the rest of society. This book analyses cutting-edge research into how social mobility has changed in Britain over the years, the shifting role of schools and universities in creating a fairer future, and the key to what makes some countries and regions so much richer in opportunities, bringing a clearer understanding of what works and how we can better shape our future.
Concrete, research-driven advice on humanity's oldest, hardest job Why is parenting so fraught and so difficult in today's society? There has never been a time when advice was so readily available, and yet there is also a prevailing sense that parents are getting it wrong. This book examines the arguments and counter-arguments supported by research on how best to parent children, from birth to twelve years. By taking an impartial approach to the evidence and, by discussing case studies from across the world and from a number of academic disciplines, this book is designed to show how good parenting comes in many shapes and forms.
A masterclass in persuasion from the inspiring philosopher who has taught a million people to argue through his popular open online course Our personal and political worlds are rife with arguments and disagreements, some of them petty and vitriolic. The inability to compromise and understand the other side is widespread today. What can we do to change this? In Think Again philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong draws on a long tradition of logic to show why we should stop focusing on winning arguments and instead argue in a more constructive way. Based on a hugely popular online course with more than a million followers around the world, Think Again explains how to analyse, evaluate and make better arguments while also spotting bad reasoning and avoiding certain fallacies. Through lively, practical examples from everyday life, politics and popular culture, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong offers brilliantly straightforward, wise advice that we can all use at work, at home and online.
'Brilliantly written and genuinely one of the most important books I have ever read' - Ellie Mae O'Hagan An engrossing exploration of the science, history and politics of the Anthropocene, one of the most important scientific ideas of our time, from two world-renowned experts Meteorites, methane, mega-volcanoes and now human beings; the old forces of nature that transformed Earth many millions of years ago are joined by another: us. Our actions have driven Earth into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. For the first time in our home planet's 4.5-billion year history a single species is dictating Earth's future. To some the Anthropocene symbolises a future of superlative control of our environment. To others it is the height of hubris, the illusion of our mastery over nature. Whatever your view, just below the surface of this odd-sounding scientific word, the Anthropocene, is a heady mix of science, philosophy, religion and politics linked to our deepest fears and utopian visions. Tracing our environmental impact through time to reveal when humans began to dominate Earth, scientists Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin masterfully show what the new epoch means for all of us.
An illuminating history of Marx's thought and intellectual influence from a leading historian of socialism Why was Marx so successful as a thinker? Did he have a system and if so, what does it consist of? How did Marxism develop in the twentieth century and what does it mean today? Karl Marx remains the most influential and controversial political thinker in history. The movements associated with his name have lent hope to many victims of tyranny and aggression but have also proven disastrous in practice and resulted in the unnecessary deaths of millions. If after the collapse of the Soviet Union his reputation seemed utterly eclipsed, a new generation is reading and discovering Marx in the wake of the recurrent financial crises, growing social inequality and an increasing sense of the injustice and destructiveness of capitalism. Both his critique of capitalism and his vision of the future speak across the centuries to our times, even if the questions he poses are more difficult to answer than ever. In this wide-ranging account, Gregory Claeys, one of Britain's leading historians of socialism, considers Marx's ideas and their development through the Russian Revolution to the present, showing why Marx and Marxism still matter today.
What is reality, really? Are humans more special or important than the non-human objects we perceive? How does this change the way we understand the world? We humans tend to believe that things are only real in as much as we perceive them, an idea reinforced by modern philosophy, which privileges us as special, radically different in kind from all other objects. But as Graham Harman, one of the theory's leading exponents, shows, Object-Oriented Ontology rejects the idea of human specialness: the world, he states, is clearly not the world as manifest to humans. At the heart of this philosophy is the idea that objects - whether real, fictional, natural, artificial, human or non-human - are mutually autonomous. In this brilliant new introduction, Graham Harman lays out the history, ideas and impact of Object-Oriented Ontology, taking in everything from art and literature, politics and natural science along the way. Graham Harman is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at SCI-Arc, Los Angeles. A key figure in the contemporary speculative realism movement in philosophy and for his development of the field of object-oriented ontology, he was named by Art Review magazine as one of the 100 most influential figures in international art.
'To read Being Ecological is to be caught up in a brilliant display of intellectual pyrotechnics' P.D.Smith, Guardian Why is everything we think we know about ecology wrong? Is there really any difference between 'humans' and 'nature'? Does this mean we even have a future? Don't care about ecology? This book is for you. Timothy Morton, who has been called 'Our most popular guide to the new epoch' (Guardian), sets out to show us that whether we know it or not, we already have the capacity and the will to change the way we understand the place of humans in the world, and our very understanding of the term 'ecology'. A cross-disciplinarian who has collaborated with everyone from Bjoerk to Hans Ulrich Obrist, Morton is also a member of the object-oriented philosophy movement, a group of forward-looking thinkers who are grappling with modern-day notions of subjectivity and objectivity, while also offering fascinating new understandings of Heidegger and Kant. Calling the volume a book containing 'no ecological facts', Morton confronts the 'information dump' fatigue of the digital age, and offers an invigorated approach to creating a liveable future.
'Subtle and self-reflexive. . . an excellent overview of the debates and issues that have shaped this hugely influential social science' - Guardian How does anthropology help us understand who we are? What can it tell us about culture, from Melanesia to the City of London? Why does it matter? For well over one hundred years, social and cultural anthropologists have traversed the world from urban Zimbabwe to suburban England, Beijing to Barcelona, uncovering surprising facts, patterns, predilections and, sometimes, the inexplicable, in terms of how humans organize their lives and articulate their values. By weaving together theories and examples from around the world, Matthew Engelke brilliantly shows why anthropology matters: not only because it allows us to understand other points of view, but also because in the process, it reveals something about ourselves too.
How has the way we spend our time changed over the last fifty years? Are we really working more, sleeping less and addicted to our phones? What does this mean for our health, wealth and happiness? Everything we do happens in time and it feels like our lives are busier than ever before. Yet a detailed look at our daily activities reveals some surprising truths about the social and economic structure of the world we live in. This book delves into the unrivalled data collection and expertise of the Centre for Time Use Research to explore fifty-five years of change and what it means for us today.
'Basic Income is an idea whose time has come, and Guy Standing has pioneered our understanding of it... Standing's analysis is vital' Paul Mason 'Guy Standing has been at the forefront of the movement for nearly 4 decades, and in this superb and thorough survey he explains how it works and why it has the potential to revitalise life and democracy in our societies. This is an essential book.' Brian Eno Shouldn't everyone receive a stake in society's wealth? Could we create a fairer world by granting a guaranteed income to all? What would this mean for our health, wealth and happiness? Basic Income is a regular cash transfer from the state, received by all individual citizens. It is an acknowledgement that everyone plays a part in generating the wealth currently enjoyed only by a few. Political parties across the world are now adopting it as official policy and the idea generates headlines every day. Guy Standing has been at the forefront of thought about Basic Income for the past thirty years, and in this book he covers in authoritative detail its effects on the economy, poverty, work and labour; dissects and disproves the standard arguments against Basic Income; explains what we can learn from pilots across the world and illustrates exactly why a Basic Income has now become such an urgent necessity.
The essential introduction to Islam by a leading expert Hardly a day goes by without mention of Islam. And yet, for most people, and in much of the world, Islam remains a little-known religion. Whether the issue is violence, terrorism, women's rights or slavery, Muslims are today expected to provide answers and to justify what Islam is - or is not. But little opportunity exists, either in the media or in society as a whole, to describe Islam: precisely the question this short and extremely accessible book sets out to answer. In simple, direct language it will introduce readers to Islam, to its spirituality, its principles, its rituals, its diversity and its evolution.
Is anything ever not an interpretation? Does interpretation go all the way down? Is there such a thing as a pure fact that is interpretation-free? If not, how are we supposed to know what to think and do? These tantalizing questions are tackled by renowned American thinker John D Caputo in this wide-reaching exploration of what the traditional term 'hermeneutics' can mean in a postmodern, twenty-first century world. As a contemporary of Derrida's and longstanding champion of rethinking the disciplines of theology and philosophy, for decades Caputo has been forming alliances across disciplines and drawing in readers with his compelling approach to what he calls radical hermeneutics. In this new introduction, drawing upon a range of thinkers from Heidegger to the Parisian 1968ers and beyond, he raises a series of probing questions about the challenges of life in the postmodern and maybe soon to be 'post-human' world.'
What is a caliphate? What is the history of the idea? How is the term used and abused today? In the first modern account of a subject of critical importance today, acclaimed historian Hugh Kennedy answers these questions by chronicling the rich history of the caliphate, from the death of Muhammad to the present. At its height, the caliphate stretched from Spain to the borders of China and was the most powerful political entity in western Eurasia. In an era when Paris and London boasted a few thousand inhabitants, Baghdad and Cairo were sophisticated centres of trade and culture, and the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates were distinguished by major advances in science, medicine and architecture. By ending with the recent re-emergence of caliphal ideology within fundamentalist Islam, The Caliphate underscores why it is crucial that we know about this form of Islamic government to understand the political ideas of the so-called Islamic State and other Islamist groups in the twenty first century.
'An indispensable book for these times' - Big Issue 'A lucid, helpful guide to the EU's structures and operating methods' - Financial Times For most of us today, 'Europe' refers to the European Union. At the centre of a seemingly never-ending crisis, the EU remains a black box, closed to public understanding. Is Europe ruled by Germany or by European bureaucrats? Does a single European economy exist after all these years of economic integration? And should the EU have been awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2012? Critics tell us the EU undermines democracy. Are they right? In this provocative volume, political scientist Chris Bickerton provides an answer to all these key questions and more at a time when understanding what the EU is and what it does is more important than ever before.
A fresh take on social class from the experts behind the BBC's 'Great British Class Survey'. Why does social class matter more than ever in Britain today? How has the meaning of class changed? What does this mean for social mobility and inequality? In this book Mike Savage and the team of sociologists responsible for the Great British Class Survey look beyond the labels to explore how and why our society is changing and what this means for the people who find themselves in the margins as well as in the centre. Their new conceptualization of class is based on the distribution of three kinds of capital - economic (inequalities in income and wealth), social (the different kinds of people we know) and cultural (the ways in which our leisure and cultural preferences are exclusive) - and provides incontrovertible evidence that class is as powerful and relevant today as it's ever been.
What is science? Is it uniquely equipped to deliver universal truths? Or is it one of many disciplines - art, literature, religion - that offer different forms of understanding? In The Meaning of Science, Tim Lewens offers a provocative introduction to the philosophy of science, showing us for example what physics teaches us about reality, what biology teaches us about human nature, and what cognitive science teaches us about human freedom. Drawing on the insights of towering figures like Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn, Lewens shows how key questions in science matter, often in personal, practical and political ways.
In recent decades, we have witnessed an explosion in the number of visual images we encounter, as our lives have become increasingly saturated with screens. From Google Images to Instagram, video games to installation art, this transformation is confusing, liberating and worrying all at once, since observing the new visuality of culture is not the same as understanding it. Nicholas Mirzoeff is a leading figure in the field of visual culture, which aims to make sense of this extraordinary explosion of visual experiences. As Mirzoeff reminds us, this is not the first visual revolution; the 19th century saw the invention of film, photography and x-rays, and the development of maps, microscopes and telescopes made the 17th century an era of visual discovery. But the sheer quantity of images produced on the internet today has no parallels. In the first book to define visual culture for the general reader, Mirzoeff draws on art history, theory and everyday experience to provide an engaging and accessible overview of how visual materials shape and define our lives.
'Jaw-dropping' Daily Telegraph 'A timely examination of how the distribution of power has shifted' Guardian Where does power lie in Britain today? Is our system of government still fit for purpose? A revelatory guide from the esteemed expert in British government and politics The British system has been radically transformed in recent decades, far more than most of us realize. As acclaimed political scientist and bestselling author Anthony King shows, this transformation lies at the heart of British politics today. Imagining - or pretending - that the British political system and Britain's place in the world have not greatly changed, our political leaders consistently promise more than they can perform. Political and economic power is now widely dispersed both inside and outside the UK, but Westminster politicians still talk the language of Attlee and Churchill. How exactly has the British system changed? Where does power now lie? In Who Governs Britain?, King offers the first assessment in many years of Britain's governing arrangements as a whole, providing much needed context for the upcoming election.
What makes Greek and Roman literature great? How has classical literature influenced Western culture? What did Greek and Roman authors learn from each other? Richard Jenkyns is emeritus Professor of the Classical Tradition and the Public Orator at the University of Oxford. His books include Virgil's Experience and The Victorians and Ancient Greece, acclaimed as 'masterly' by History Today.
What caused the Russian Revolution? Did it succeed or fail? Do we still live with its consequences? Orlando Figes teaches history at Birkbeck, University of London and is the author of many acclaimed books on Russian history, including A People's Tragedy, which The Times Literary Supplement named as one of the '100 most influential books since the war', Natasha's Dance, The Whisperers, Crimea and Just Send Me Word. The Financial Times called him 'the greatest storyteller of modern Russian historians.'
Where do our ideas about politics come from? What can we learn from the Greeks and Romans? How should we exercise power? Melissa Lane teaches politics at Princeton University, and previously taught political thought at the University of Cambridge, where she was a Fellow of King's College. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of classics, and the historian Richard Tuck called her book Eco-Republic 'a virtuoso performance by one of our best scholars of ancient philosophy.'
Why do we care what others think? What keeps us bound together? How does the brain shape our behaviour? Bruce Hood is an award-winning psychologist who has researched and taught at Cambridge and Harvard Universities and is currently Director of the Cognitive Development Centre at the University of Bristol. He delivered the Royal Institution's Christmas Lectures in 2011 and is the author of The Self Illusion and Supersense, described by New Scientist as 'important, crystal clear and utterly engaging'.
What makes us human? How did we develop language, thought and culture? Why did we survive, and other human species fail? The past 12,000 years represent the only time in the sweep of human history when there has been only one human species. How did this extraordinary proliferation of species come about - and then go extinct? And why did we emerge such intellectual giants? The tale of our origins has inevitably been told through the 'stones and bones' of the archaeological record, yet Robin Dunbar shows it was our social and cognitive changes rather than our physical development which truly made us distinct from other species.
What is economics? What can - and can't - it explain about the world? Why does it matter? Ha-Joon Chang teaches economics at Cambridge University, and writes a column for the Guardian. The Observer called his book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, which was a no.1 bestseller, 'a witty and timely debunking of some of the biggest myths surrounding the global economy.' He won the Wassily Leontief Prize for advancing the frontiers of economic thought, and is a vocal critic of the failures of our current economic system.