The new Health Secretary, Matt Hancock (1996, PPE), points out in the 2018 edition of Exon that people talk about accelerating change, but one can look at it the other way round: we are currently living through the slowest rate of change that we are going to experience for the rest of our lives. What a thought! Both exciting and intimidating.
This year’s Exon explores some of the demands and technologies driving change as we focus on the theme of innovation. Matt Hancock considers digital technologies and the future of jobs; Robert Moore (1982, PPE), ITV News Washington Correspondent, discusses modern journalism; Akshat Rathi (2008, Organic Chemistry), science, energy and environment reporter for Quartz, uncovers some potential solutions to the world’s energy and global warming crises; Jean Kitson (1992, English), director at Kitson Press Associates, champions the importance of creativity in entrepreneurship; and Jon Gisby (1987, Modern History), chair of the British Screen Advisory Council, charts the exponential growth of on-demand video content.
We also reveal some of the innovation taking place within Exeter College. The College’s inaugural Three-Minute Thesis competition gave Exeter graduate students the chance to present their research, including Rina Ariga’s (2012, Cardiovascular Medicine) award-winning work to predict and treat Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy; another graduate student, Shiri Heffetz (2017, Mathematics and Foundations of Computer Science), has produced an app that reunites refugees with lost relatives; undergraduate student Zerlina Vulliamy (2017, Music) has created a radio programme that unearths music across different themes and genres; and Fellow in Physical Chemistry Professor Philipp Kukura is developing a spectrometric technology that has the potential to revolutionise the way we study biomolecules. Elsewhere in Oxford an exciting new student hub is nurturing future generations of entrepreneurs.
Of course innovation carries risks, and the 2018 edition of Exon looks in depth at two topical concerns: Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information, Luciano Floridi, reflects on fears, dangers and opportunities surrounding information and artificial intelligence; and Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, analyses emerging threats to liberal democracy.
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