Charting Extraordinary Futures: James Martin and The Oxford Martin School (18 March 2014)

“We are at an extraordinary crossroads of human history. Our actions, or failure to act, during the next 20 years will determine the fate of the Earth and human civilization for centuries to come. This is a make-or-break century.”

— Dr James Martin, from ‘The Meaning of the 21st Century’ (2009).

Dr James Martin was a unique combination of extraordinary intellect, vision and drive; he authored more than 100 books on computer technology, and later made the largest single benefaction to Oxford University in its 900-year history to found the Oxford Martin School. He is considered to be one of the World’s great futurists, predicting the rise of computing, the internet and countless other technology advances well ahead of their much later reality.

Reflecting Jim’s remarkable intellectual reach, the Oxford Martin School’s remit is wide-ranging and includes research into new forms of energy, new cures for cancer, protecting biodiversity, limiting climate change, stopping pandemics and financial crises, enhancing cybersecurity, and considering the impacts of quantum technologies – to name but a few of their 35 programmes.

The School stands as James Martin’s permanent legacy: a unique interdisciplinary community of more than 300 scholars working collaboratively to address the biggest challenges and opportunities faced by humankind in the 21st Century.

Join us for this evening in memory of James Martin and to hear from Professor Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin School, who will provide a stimulating introduction to the major changes in society and technology that are likely to take place over coming decades, looking at the implications for businesses and individual choice, highlighting the hazards associated with prediction and the need to understand underlying trends and whether these trends will continue.

Professor Ian Goldin, Professor of Globalisation and Development and Director of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford

Ian Goldin was Vice President of the World Bank (2003-2006) and prior to that the Bank’s Director of Development Policy (2001-2003).

From 1996 to 2001 he was Chief Executive and Managing Director of the Development Bank of Southern Africa and served as an advisor to President Nelson Mandela.

Previously, Ian was Principal Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London, and Program Director at the OECD Development Centre in Paris.

In addition to being Director of the School, Goldin is the University of Oxford Professor of Globalisation and Development and a Professorial Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford.