An Uneasy Interdependence: When Science Meets Power

Tuesday, January 16, 2024 Online Event

Join us for 'An Uneasy Interdependence: When Science Meets Power' a Jericho Conversation with Sir Geoff Mulgan, Tuesday 16 Jan 5:30 pm (GMT)

Observing the often gruesome progress of the UK COVID inquiry has shown in stark relief the difficulties encountered when science meets political power. Science doesn't get politics and politics doesn't get science.

This makes them awkward bedfellow. Scientific advisors may advise and politicians decide but the two parties have very different needs, methods and attitudes. Facts, experiment and proof is one thing, swaying an electorate's emotions is quite another. Whatever happened to doing the right thing, surely something both sides would wish for?

Nigel Farage's supporter and financier Aaron Banks knew what he thought about science and experts: "What our political strategists said early on was 'facts don't work' and that's it. The Remain campaign featured fact, fact, fact, fact, fact. It just doesn't work. You have got to connect with people emotionally". This is something understood by populist political movements across the planet. 

When Science Meets Power is the timely title of Sir Geoff Mulgan's new book. In this Jericho Conversation with partner Matthew Gwyther we'll look at big tech, social media and AI, the response to COVID and the possibility of a superintelligence as PM or US President. 

Geoff Mulgan is one of our smartest thinkers. He was Director of the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit (and before that Director of the Performance and Innovation Unit); Director of Policy at 10 Downing Street under British Prime Minister Tony Blair; Co-founder and Director of the London-based think tank Demos (from 1993 to 1998); and Chief adviser to Gordon Brown MP in the early 1990s. Geoff is now a Professor of Collective Intelligence, Social Innovation and Public Policy at University College, London.

No less a figure than Eric Schmidt, the former CEO and Chair of Google, is impressed with Mulgan's volume: "I have always said that technology alone can't solve our political problems. Geoff Mulgan shows us how we got to a point where science and politics seem increasingly at odds – and how we can come to a healthier understanding of the role of science to inform policy".

So start off your New Year with some wholesome mind-nourishment and join us for a fascinating interview plus Q&A on 16 January 2024 at 5.30 pm (GMT).

 Click here to register to join this event