The Secret Genius of Modern Life

Members of the the Design Group have been working on an OU / BBC co-production called The Secret Genius of Modern Life, a series that uncovers the secrets behind the miraculous technologies of the modern world, revealing the mind-blowing stories behind their invention.

Derek Jones and David Sharp were the academic consultants and it’s probably fair to say that  both had to make use of a lot of knowledge across different areas of knowledge – from the electromagnetism of espionage to the social dynamics of innovation.There’s more inside a bank card than you might think – and there’s even more ‘stuff’ around the bankcard to make it work than people realise.

In fact, the bankcard highlights the complexity of many modern technologies and how reliant they are on invisible infrastructures, systems, services, even supply chains, and other global-scale entities.

Have a look for yourself – catch up on the episode here:

And you can find out more about some of the challenges and ethics of modern technology on the OU’s Connect page, including additional material from the academics and Hannah, as well a chance to contribute your thoughts:







One response to “The Secret Genius of Modern Life”

  1. Dr John Dimmock G1-UXG avatar
    Dr John Dimmock G1-UXG

    Just watched the series Secret Genius – good presentation but FULL of holes and missing fundemental ICT and critical AI developments

    I have been involved with R&D within the electromagnectic spectrum for over 70 years and even today still use my government issued licence (not many of us with this capability alve these days) to research covert WAN communications for our special forces netwoks over seas who due to the Geneva Convention and local (UK) licencing restrictios are not allowed by UK law to do the work I do – good, game, good game

    In the past I have sat in as an advisor to various MPs who are completly CLUE less and are being led by comercial entities which I have for many years belived that NOTHING new will happen unless the various entities namly Powerer Politics and Religion (PPR) want it to happen

    Current levels of education are sadly falling, occassionaly I am asked to mentor some of the brighter students and to assist companies to develop a sensible electronic back office, one tool we designed 25 years ago to try and sort the wheat from the chaff is – all my team were able to “get in “within” 30 minutes – the average was 20 minutes

    This diatribe is not Lager fueled – I was there, my Mother was at Bletchly Park and two of the machins she desingned are today at the Science Museum, my main contribution to the science was the 19 patents. in my nam we registered on the worlds first computer printer, which wieghed n at 3 ton and cost £27k plus purcahse tax – and yes I have photographic images of me on the front page of Computer Weekly demonstrating same

    Some of the work I have done well over 40 years ago on AM-SAT One. now AM-SAT 14 is at last being exploited with a network of near earth birds offering syncronous data traffic from anywhere in the world with a clear view of the sky

    We put a propsal to our UK government 30 odd years ago which if implimented when we created it would, by using gravity enable the UK to supply all the energy needs we as a contry needed and enough surplus to ship out to the continent to cover all the counrties running costs – but were told privatly that this would never happen a it would be owned by thr people

    Next time you are considering creating a “info-doc” give me a call 🙂

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