Imagine the power of technology harnessed to the efficient running of a city and directed to the benefit of its inhabitants, sustainable economically and environmentally and contributing to the sum of human happiness; an utopian dream or a dystopian nightmare? Mr James Willatt led the members of the Year 10 Athenaeum through a fascinating overview of the idea of Smart Cities and the opportunities and challenges they present. The students were particularly enthralled by the idea of a city shaped rather like a ruler spread out (thinly) over 200 km. The students were particularly engaged by the task of imagining a city run on the lines of one of their favourite apps/computer games, many of which echoed the dystopian fears mentioned earlier. How soon an imagined/feared future seems to become reality.

It was interesting to note since Mr Willatt talked on this theme last year how far technology in this area has developed. The recent AI summit at Bletchley Park highlights the importance this topic has on the global stage. It is also interesting to think about the relationship between technology and ethics, explored in other aspects of the Scholarship Programme. Because something can be done should it be done? Debates about driverless cars and the AI version of the “Trolley Problem” continue to exercise us.