Sunday lunchtime and the news comes through that the EU Commission and UK government have decided to extend their search for a new trade deal, which has to start in less than three weeks.
It’s a good thing, I suppose, that the talks continue, even though there is a strong suspicion that this is all political theatre, as neither side wants to be blamed for finally pulling the plug on something that can’t be agreed.
But at the same time a different kind of talking was taking place across the continent – Europe Talks, a social initiative put together by a coalition of European news publications.
A focus on the future
The idea was to pair people from different countries, different backgrounds, different ages to talk about the future. For some, the focus was the pandemic and how it will change things. For others, climate change was the focus. But for everyone the topic was how life will change; in fact, is changing.
I had a fascinating conversation with Teresa from Portugal, a young postgrad student in biomedical engineering, working on AI. As we talked about her studies it was sobering to realise that she has never known life without the internet and can only grasp theoretically what a profound effect it’s had on everything.
It was also sobering - and a bit cheering, actually - to learn how little even leading researchers in AI know about how the human brain learns, which is why it’s so difficult to replicate in a machine.