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Please note date and time change

Jamie Bartlett

When?
Thursday, September 6 2018 at 6:45PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Jamie Bartlett

What's the talk about?

The internet was meant to set us free.

Tech has radically changed the way we live our lives. But have we unwittingly handed too much away to shadowy powers behind a wall of code, all manipulated by a handful of Silicon Valley utopians, ad men, and venture capitalists? And, in light of recent data breach scandals around companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, what does that mean for democracy, our delicately balanced system of government that was created long before big data, total information and artificial intelligence? In this urgent polemic, Jamie Bartlett argues that through our unquestioning embrace of big tech, the building blocks of democracy are slowly being removed. The middle class is being eroded, sovereign authority and civil society is weakened, and we citizens are losing our critical faculties, maybe even our free will.

 

Doors 6:45
£3
 

When?
Saturday, July 14 2018 at 7:00PM

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Where?

35 Francis Ave
Portsmouth
Southsea
PO4 0HL

Who?

What's the talk about?

Join us for a mid-year drink and a think. No speaker this month

Jenny Walker

When?
Thursday, June 14 2018 at 7:15PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Jenny Walker

What's the talk about?

We've invited computer scientist and president of Robogals Southampton, Jenny Walker, to discuss a range of questions from about how computers and humans relate to each other.

In this event, we'll all get the opportunity to explore, with creativity, history, and scientific insight, our personal answers to the question: "Should we let computers make decisions for us?"

Jenny will discuss the pros and cons of using machines and algorithms to make important decisions. In a world of increasingly big data, it seems that machine learning and efficient data crunching algorithms will be the way of the future, but how much can we trust computer algorithms with decisions in our day to day lives and on a larger scale?

General arrival - 19:00-19:20
Presentation - 19:30
Drinks break - 20:30
Q&A session 20:45 until around 21:30
(Approximate timings only)

A human-systems perspective

Jamal Kinsella

When?
Thursday, May 10 2018 at 7:15PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Jamal Kinsella

What's the talk about?

Who do you blame when things go wrong? A human-systems perspective

We live in a world where every decision carries with it many risks, and multiple chaotic systems interacting means that at any moment things we expect can fail to occur, and this can have severe consequences. These consequences can range from very personal, or organisational, or societal, or even global. But when things go wrong, whether it's a world catastrophe or an individual's tragedy, who do we blame? To answer this question, cognitive scientist Jamal Kinsella will talk about the psychology behind blame: why we do it, its consequences on our mental wellbeing, and our behaviour towards the people and world around us.

Drawing from his research in human factors engineering will explore a human-systems perspective, where human behaviours are seen as parts of a greater network of systems that influence the world, can inform a more humanistic, psychologically stable, and scientifically accurate assessment of incidents that happen, both personally and globally. Jamal hopes that those present (especially himself!) will all gain new insight into ways of managing our human biases and judgements and apply thoughtful approaches to incident analysis to our own lives

PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGE TO 19TH APRIL

Tony Curran

When?
Thursday, April 19 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Tony Curran

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGED TO 19TH APRIL -  NO SKEPTICS ON 12TH APRIL

In this interactive SitP session human impact on the environment will be explored along three themes: 

1. What are we doing to the planet that is not sustainable?
2. What impacts will we see? How will they affect earth, humans and other species?
3. What solutions can we come up with?

The audience will play a quiz throughout the session to learn about each aspect of sustainability.

About Tony:

"The shows and workshops I run stem from my PhD and post-doctoral research in environmental science. I am also a member of the Public Engagement with Research team at the University of Southampton."

Jim Al-Khalili 

When?
Thursday, March 8 2018 at 7:15PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Jim Al-Khalili 

What's the talk about?

We welcome back our Honorary President Professor Jim Al-Khalili with What's next?

Tickets @ £3 each will go on sale at our January and February talks, any remainders will then go on-line.

Predicting what the future will look like is not new. It is also a notoriously unreliable enterprise. Science fiction writers and Hollywood movies constantly paint imaginative pictures of future worlds, but what does today’s cutting-edge science tell us about the way we will actually be living in the decades to come? In this talk, based on his book What’s Next?, Jim Al-Khalili looks at the challenges facing humanity and what science can do to tackle the biggest of them. By considering the impact of such fields as nanotechnology, genetic engineering and artificial intelligence, he argues that the world not likely to be all shiny utopian marvels – nor is it going to be a dystopian hell. Along with the the known ‘knowns’ (technologies based on today’s scientific advances) and the known ‘unknowns’ (such as predictable advances in healthcare, transport or robotics) are there going to be any unknown ‘unknowns’ (utterly unexpected and fantastical breakthoughs that no one has yet dared imagine)? Probably, yes – whatever it holds, the future is bound to surprise us. But we need to prepare for it and examine the possible implications, ethical or otherwise, of these scientific advances.


General arrival - 19:00-19:20
Presentation - 19:30
Drinks break - 20:30
Q&A session 20:45 until around 21:30
(Approximate timings only)

Johno Pearce

When?
Thursday, February 8 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Johno Pearce

What's the talk about?

What does it mean to be human? What is personhood? These are questions that have interested philosophers for a long time. But it is also important for morality and politics. How does it affect abortion or animal rights? When did we start being human? And what does it mean for the future?
Jonathan MS Pearce looks at this from a philosophical angle and probably asks more questions than gives answers…

£3 on the door

General arrival - 19:00 - 19.20

Presentation - 19:30

Drinks break - 20.30

Q&A session 21.00 until around 21.30

(Approximate timings only)

Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, blogger, author and public speaker. He has a wide range of topics that interest him, most specifically ones that concern the existence of God. It’s something of an obsession…
As an author, Pearce writes about these subjects that fascinate him hugely. His books include “Free Will?”, “The Little Book of Unholy Questions”, “The Nativity: A Critical Examination”, “The Problem with ‘God’”; “13 Reasons to Doubt” and “Not Seeing God: Atheism in the 21st Century”. He has also reached out into the world of fiction with his apocalyptic and philosophical series “Survival of the Fittest”.
He talks on a number of topics and loves a good Q&A session to see what the audience comes up with…
Catch him on his Patheos blog at “A Tippling Philosopher” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/

 

Rebecca Fox

When?
Thursday, January 11 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Rebecca Fox

What's the talk about?

Most of us weren't born reasonable. We were born into a superstitious culture with only our ramshackle primate brains to try and figure out what’s going on. Reason, an appreciation for evidence and critical thinking skills are virtues that most of us had to fight for and that we have to work hard to keep up in difficult situations.


Rebecca is no exception, she grew up believing many strange things and has had to train herself to think critically. Instead of being embarrassed by our former beliefs Rebecca thinks it is important to have compassion for and interest in what we used to believe and why we believed it. Instead of feeling shame for having been wrong, we should be proud that we had the courage to overturn beliefs that proved to be wrong.


In this talk Rebecca will discuss who she was before, and after she ‘became reasonable’ and overturn the myth that there is such a thing as ‘perfectly reasonable’ we are all, after all, a work in progress.


Rebecca is passionate about skeptical education because she has found the tools of skepticism to be profoundly empowering. Learning to think clearly has made her safer, more confident and happier. Drawing on her experience as a skeptical educator and comic book artist she will present some ideas that will help you improve your critical thinking skills and the way you think about how you think.

From Darwin to Evo-Devo

Dr Neil Gostling

When?
Thursday, November 9 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Dr Neil Gostling

What's the talk about?

"I will talk about the book chapter by chapter, bring some fossils, and talk about some of the controversy (that doesn’t exist in the scientific community, and indeed Darwin addressed himself) surrounding evolution and natural selection.

I encourage discussion and questions throughout when I talk, and hopefully this will make for an interesting evening."

Neil is an evolutionary-developmental biologist (Evo-Devo) by training and a palaeontologist by research. He uses innovative methods to answer questions from the evolution of animals to the development of root systems.

*NEW VENUE* The Rifle

Norman Fenton

When?
Thursday, October 12 2017 at 6:45PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Norman Fenton

What's the talk about?

Every day in the news we are bombarded with statistics about risk:
whether it is the health risks or benefits of consuming certain types of food and drink, the risk of climate ‘events’ from different types of human activity or the risks associated with different modes of transport, the narratives are often contradictory and difficult to understand. In fact, I will argue that most of the statistics about risk that you read about are either misleading or completely flawed. This is due to basic misunderstandings of probability. This talk will highlight how such misunderstandings often lead to flawed decision-making in many critical areas such as medicine, the law and transport safety planning.
I will highlight how a simple mathematical formula (Bayes’ Theorem) can help avoid most of these errors when coupled with causal models of risk.

Bayesian reasoning and analysis offers us a remarkable insight into why the world behaves the way it does and how we can prepare ourselves for future events. My presentation is informed by many years of work in risk assessment which ranges from helping the aviation authorities to avoid mid-air collisions through to interpreting forensic evidence in murder trials, and even beating the bookies at football betting.

 £3 on the door

 General arrival - 18:45 -19:00

 Presentation - 19:00

 Drinks break - 19:45

 Q&A session 20:00 until around 20:30



Norman Fenton is Professor of Risk Information Management at Queen Mary London University and is also a Director of Agena, a company that specialises in risk management for critical systems. Norman, who is a mathematician by training, works on quantitative risk assessment. This typically involves analysing and predicting the probabilities of unknown events using Bayesian statistical methods including especially causal, probabilistic models (Bayesian networks). This type of reasoning enables improved assessment by taking account of both statistical data and also expert judgment. In April 2014 Norman was awarded one of the prestigious European Research Council Advanced Grants (BAYES-KNOWLEDGE) to focus on these issues. Norman's experience in risk assessment covers a wide range of application domains such as legal reasoning (he has been an expert witness in major criminal and civil cases), medical analytics, vehicle reliability, embedded software, transport systems, financial services, and football prediction. Norman has a special interest in raising public awareness of the importance of probability theory and Bayesian reasoning in everyday life (including how to present such reasoning in simple lay terms) and he maintains a website dedicated to this and also a blog focusing on probability and the law. In March 2015 Norman presented the award-winning BBC documentary Climate Change by Numbers 

*NEW VENUE* The Rifle

Maia Elliot

When?
Thursday, September 14 2017 at 7:15PM

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Where?

Goldsmith Avenue
Southsea
Portsmouth
PO4 0AW

Who?
Maia Elliot

What's the talk about?

NEW VENUE - THE RIFLE
The Rifle Club
 Goldsmith Avenue
 Southsea
 Portsmouth
 PO4 0AW

Next to Fratton Station

What's the talk about?

We have tens-of-thousands of genes in our DNA, but not all of them are activated at the same time. Our genes can be switched "on" and "off" in response to our environment via an evolutionary mechanism called epigenetics. In the absence of life-threatening environmental pressures, lifestyle and environment are major drivers of epigenetic changes that can impact our health.

This talk will reveal how our daily choices can induce short-term and long-term (epi)genetic changes, discuss some of the epigenetic changes that have been linked to common diseases, and highlight the current scientific evidence of transgenerational epigenetics; how our environment not only affects our own gene activity, but those of future generations too!

--

Maia Elliott is a science communicator and is currently working on her PhD in Nutrigenomics at the University of Surrey.

£3 on the door

General arrival - 19:00-19:20

Presentation - 19:30

Drinks break - 20:30

Q&A session 20:45 until around 21:30

(Approximate timings only)

Drinking Skeptically

When?
Saturday, July 15 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

35 Francis Ave
Portsmouth
Southsea
PO4 0HL

Who?

What's the talk about?

No speaker this month but a pub get together to discuss talks so far this year and any other skeptical topics.

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