Some beautiful animations on utopia, algorithms and who you really are, from RSAShorts

Sometimes being a curator of a blog like this - seeking to put existing resources in a new frame - is the most delightful and simple gig. If you find a seam of riches, you just point people to it (or as our social media landscape allows, embed it in your own space).

So we come lately, but happily, to the Royal Society of Arts' RSAShorts. This is series of animations of selected audio clips from their extensive talks schedule—but they are really beautifully realised in almost every example.

Above is a clip from the utopian writer Rutger Bregman (often profiled here) who imagines a scenario where a time-traveller from the Middle Ages (a farmer) comes to the big city, and sees what would - to him - feel like utopia. But to us… Bregman says we need to update our view of human nature, to make the most of contemporary possibilities. The still captured to the left says it all.

This one above is from former Wall Street trader and quant, Cathy O’Neil. “We live in the age of the algorithm - mathematical models are sorting our job applications, curating our online worlds, influencing our elections, and even deciding whether or not we should go to prison. But how much do we really know about them? Cathy exposes the reality behind the AI, and explains how algorithms are just as prone to bias and discrimination as the humans who program them.” Or as she calls them at the start, “algorithms are an opinion embedded in math”.

From RSA: “How do you get people – including yourself – to do what you want?! Meeting expectations or changing habits is hard – whether it’s New Year’s resolutions or deadlines at work. But, as bestselling author Gretchen Rubin explains, it’s a lot easier if you know which of four main ‘tendencies’ you have: Rebel, Upholder, Questioner, Obliger. Once you know your tendency (or that of those you manage or co-habit with!) it’s much easier to make change possible. Take the quiz (”

There’s many more here.