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How Play Made the Modern World

RSA Event


Great Room Auditorium, RSA House

  • Arts and society
  • Social innovation
  • Technology


If you want to know where technology is headed next, you should be playing close attention to the way we play. 

International bestseller and so-called ‘Darwin of technology’ Steven Johnson argues that the pursuit of novelty and wonder has always been a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. He finds that that throughout history, the cutting edge of innovation lies wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused.

In describing a vivid history of innovation, Johnson explains how popular entertainment - games, cinema, music, food and fashion – have played a crucial role in shaping our world.  These amusements did more than just entertain, they directly contributed to economic and social revolutions that transformed the modern world.

You'll find the future wherever people are having the most fun…


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