FT Engage is an event series that offers readers the opportunity to engage directly with our journalists and editors in a conversation about the big issues, trending topics, people and places we cover. This includes everything from the consequences of Brexit, the rise of populism and investing through the uncertainty of a Trump administration, to football, start-ups and the generational divide.
As Artificial Intelligence expands into the mainstream, from banking services to public health, is there more to worry about than losing jobs to robots?
While governments grapple with the scale and impact of fake news on social media, can they really hope to impose ethical limits on the spread of AI?
And when a technology fires our imaginations and fears all by itself, where does the fiction writer take it from there?
Novelist James Smythe has a history of taking on tech in his fiction and his latest novel, I Still Dream, tells the story of a world-changing AI. On June 21 he is coming to the FT Books Café to tackle those challenging questions and more. He’ll be in conversation with John Thornhill, the FT’s innovation editor.
Air pollution across the world is responsible for 6.5m premature deaths a year. City dwellers are particularly at risk: London for example hit its toxic air limit for 2018 by the end of January and the UK government has been mired in legal battles with campaigners over nitrogen dioxide levels. The issue is set to shoot to the top of the global public health agenda in May as the UN and the World Health Organization step up their BreatheLife campaign on urban air quality.
But as evidence of pollution’s toll on health grows, so does public awareness, from the work of King’s College London on the capital’s environment to groups such as the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, as you can hear in our FT Health podcast. The business world too is adapting, developing more efficient car engines, greener fuels and more environmentally-friendly processes. But how much more needs to be done?
Chris Hughes entered the ranks of the super wealthy thanks to his Facebook stock. Now, this golden entrepreneur from Silicon Valley wants to restore the middle class, and he has a clear idea how to do so. His new book, Fair Shot, is a highly personal and neatly argued plea for introducing a guaranteed income for the poor in the US.
“Most Americans cannot find $400 in the case of an emergency like a car accident or a hospitalisation, yet I was able to make half a billion dollars for three years of work. Something is profoundly wrong with our economy and in our country, and we have to fix it,” Hughes writes.
John Thornhill, the FT’s Innovation editor, will talk with him about his Facebook past, his ideas for a better future, and whether they can really work.
Since Laura Bates launched the Everyday Sexism project in 2012, there has been a dramatic shift in the media coverage and the public’s view of the treatment of women. In the US, the election of Donald Trump and allegations against Harvey Weinstein have triggered protests from the streets of New York to the red carpets of Hollywood. In the UK, eyes have turned to gender pay gaps, sexual misconduct in parliament and, following the FT’s undercover reporting, an outdated ‘men-only’ corporate culture in the City.
With Everyday Sexism, Laura Bates harnessed the power of thousands of women’s voices. Her new book, Misogynation (published this month by Simon & Schuster), looks at the bigger picture, joining the dots to reveal the true scale of the discrimination women face.
She’ll be in discussion with Isabel Berwick, executive editor of the FT’s Work and Careers section, followed by a Q&A and signing.
A cryptocurrency bubble of incredible proportions inflated in 2017. Now the peak of the mania has passed, join us to discuss what’s next for bitcoin, blockchain and the crypto revolution with David Gerard, author of the ‘Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain’, Alex Batlin, founder and CEO of Trustology, and previously head of emerging business and technology and global blockchain lead at BNY Mellon, and Hannah Murphy, our FT reporter in London covering crypto.
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are one of the greatest medical challenges facing us. Dementia currently affects around 50m people across the world, and there is no way to prevent it and no effective treatment. However, a new surge of academic and corporate research suggests that the science of Alzheimer’s may be reaching a tipping point.
As part of this year’s FT Seasonal Appeal in support of Alzheimer’s Research UK, an FT Engage event will bring together an expert panel, chaired by FT deputy editor Roula Khalaf. She will discuss the research, the issues and the future with the FT’s science editor Clive Cookson, Kate Bingham, managing partner of the Dementia Discovery Fund, and David Reynolds, chief scientist of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Past 2017 events
American Diplomacy in a Disordered World — 13 November — London
Does America first mean America alone? Join Gideon Rachman, the FT’s chief foreign affairs commentator, and William J Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and formerly US deputy secretary of state, ambassador to Moscow and the diplomat who led the secret Iran nuclear talks, for an evening of frank conversation and Q&A about the world in the Trump era.
HIV and the Future of Medicine — 21 November — London
The global HIV epidemic has triggered remarkable progress in new models of innovation in drug development and treatment, access, and partnership between companies, governments and patients. It offers valuable lessons for other areas of medicine, while provoking continued debates around ethics and pricing. Join Andrew Jack and Deborah Waterhouse, chief executive of ViiV Healthcare and other guests to discuss these issues.
There will be an opportunity to meet and chat with the FT’s specialists including Sarah Neville, global pharmaceuticals editor; Clive Cookson, science editor; and Darren Dodd, author of the FT Health newsletter.
What will we do when machines do everything? — 19 June — London
Come consider the human response to automation and what this means for the future world of work with John Thornhill, FT innovation editor, Robin Kwong, special projects editor at the FT, and Sarah O’Connor, FT employment correspondent. They will be joined by guests Margaret Heffernan, author of Willful Blindness and A Bigger Prize, and Peter Cheese, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
21st Century Skills with Lucy Kellaway — 23 May 2017 — London
What are the biggest forces affecting people at work today? What skills do you need to succeed? Now more than ever, working life is like a marathon that has to be planned and prepared for. It will require job transitions and changes — some that you may choose to take on yourself, while others could be forced on you.
Join Lucy Kellaway, FT management columnist, for conversation and drinks about the new ways of doing business and how to navigate the ever-changing world of work.
The New Normal of Slower Growth — 26 April 2017 — Singapore
What can we expect politically and economically from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the coming years? The growing middle class has driven economic growth, but domestic consumption is signalling some weakness, which may require new policy and investment approaches.
In China, the government has indicated there will be slower growth and more reform in 2017. Yet the closer we get to China’s 19th Party Congress, held later this year, the more pressure there is for local officials to maintain stability, which in this case means growth.
Join Jamil Anderlini, FT Asia editor, Jeremy Grant, managing editor of FT Confidential Research, and Jeevan Vasagar, FT Singapore and Malaysia correspondent, for conversation and refreshments.
Closing The Gender Gap — 19 April 2017 — London
Women make up a majority of university graduates in the UK yet remain under-represented in management and leadership positions. Those women who do make it up the ladder, however, often earn less than men at the same level. At the current pace, closing the gender pay gap would take another 24 years.
Join Brooke Masters, FT companies editor, for a conversation about what companies are doing to attract, retain and promote women. What is working and what has not worked in the past? What is the difference between unequal pay and the gender pay gap, and how are companies approaching these challenges?
Investing Through Uncertainty — 20 March 2017 — London
Brexit. Trump. The French elections. What do these events mean for your investment portfolio?
These are uncertain times that require specific investment outlooks.
Join Mike Mackenzie, markets editor, Philip Stafford, editor of FT Trading Room, and Clare Woodman, chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley’s Institutional Securities Group, for conversation and refreshments about what we can expect from financial markets, how investors should be positioning their portfolios and what signals to watch for.
The Rise of the Right — 16 March 2017 — London
Ahead of elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany, the FT has launched a major series called the The Europopulists — combining in-depth interviews and unrivalled data analysis — to get to the root of the movement shaking the political establishment.
Join Roula Khalaf, deputy editor of the Financial Times, Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs columnist, Simon Kuper, FT columnist, and Catherine Fieschi, executive director of Counterpoint, as they speak about the rise of European rightwing nationalism and the recent outcome of the Dutch election.
Year of the Rooster — 24 January 2017 — London
Will China be a source of market stability or volatility in 2017? Will Xi Jinping’s priority be reform or growth this year? What will Donald Trump in the White House mean for Sino-US relations?
Join Stefania Palma, Asia editor at The Banker, David Wilder, China principal of FT Confidential Research, Martin Wolf, the FT’s chief economics commentator, and James Kynge, emerging markets editor, for drinks and discussion. Hear and ask questions about the global macroeconomic outlook and the key risks and opportunities likely to face China in 2017.