The future isn't what it used to be

18:30 to 20:00
Belfast campus

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+44(0) 28 9036 6272

Annual Chancellor's Lecture


James Burke, Author and Broadcaster

Every institution and social process in the modern world is the end-product of some innovation that happened in history.  This is why the present is different from the past, but why did those innovations occur in the first place?  Why do we so often encourage innovation, when we know its effects will almost always be unexpected and disruptive?

Is there a technique such as that illustrated by Burke’s interdisciplinary ‘Knowledge Web,’ with which help us better prepare for innovation and the change it will likely bring?   Could we use new tools like Big Data and predictive analytics to second-guess our future?   Or do the probable effects of present on-going research in nanotechnology and computing render any such exercise futile?

What’s coming down the road looks to be an entirely unprecedented, new kind of future, different from anything that has ever happened before.  Thanks to an innovation that will trigger the most fundamental social change since we left the caves. When that happens, about 40 years from now, how will we handle it?

Join us at Ulster University’s Chancellor’s Lecture to hear directly from the man the Washington Post described as “one of the most intriguing minds in the Western world”.


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Guest lecture by Professor Yinong Xu, Director, Caxton House - China Research & Engagement, Director (UK), Confucius Institute for TCM, London South Bank University

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Ulster University
York Street
County Antrim
BT15 1ED

T: 028 7012 3456