‘The most important Manhattan Projects of the future will be vast government-sponsored enquiries into what the politicians and the participating scientists will call “the problem of happiness” — in other words, the problem of making people love their servitude.’ From his 1947 foreword to the second edition of Brave New World

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There was an almost-good programme on Channel 4 this week, called The Secret Life of Buildings, which looked at how architecture affects our emotions. The presenter, Tom Dyckhoff, arrived at the revelation that buildings should not just look good, they should also enhance our well-being. Revolutionary stuff. He tells The Telegraph: ““The Gherkin [a famous Read more…

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This week, Laura Stoll of the New Economics Foundation’s Centre for Well-Being wrote: “As I sat listening to Professor Martin Seligman, the founding father of the Positive Psychology movement, talk about ‘well-being and public policy’ at our All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics meeting, I was struck by how now is maybe one of those Read more…

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I remember one slightly heated debate with my grandmother after a family dinner. I was defending immigration or gay rights or cannabis or some such issue. I made a rather obtuse point and my grandmother, throwing her hands up in exasperation, declared: ‘You know what you are? You’re just a Johnny Intellectual!’ Naturally I was Read more…

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There’s a brilliant cover story in this month’s Atlantic by Brian Christian, on the annual Loebner Prize, where teams of computer scientists compete with humans to try and convince a panel of judges that they’re human. The prize is based on an idea of Alan Turing’s, one of the geniuses behind the invention of the Read more…

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