Sean Thomas

Sean Thomas

Sean Thomas is a bestselling author. He tweets from @thomasknox.

Why is Latin America so violent?

As locations go, they don’t get more humdrum than the address ‘Carrera 79B, #45D/94’. It is so anonymous it sounds encrypted. Nor, in reality, does it look like anything special: a flat roof, next to a shuttered language school, above a wall of graffiti, in a lower middle-class suburb of another Spanish speaking city. But

The person who edited this will soon be redundant

Whenever I write about AI on The Spectator (which is a lot) I always get comments like ‘Yawn. Wake me up when AI actually does something’. And, to a point, these are fair comments. For all its remarkable feats, its photos of Shakespeare with weird fingers, its videos of dogs typing in spacesuits, the new

Is AI the biggest Brexit benefit?

It’s not easy being a Leaver, right now. For a start, the government that actually delivered Brexit – the present Tory government – is facing a one-sided electoral hammering which will make the Anglo-Zanzibar war of 1896 (duration: 38 minutes) look like a tense, nail-biting score draw. In the same vein, polls consistently show high

William Moore, Sean Thomas, Matt Ridley, Lionel Shriver and Kate Andrews

41 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: William Moore questions if the Church of England is about the apologise for Christianity (1:19); Sean Thomas recounts his experience taking ayahuasca in Colombia (8:13); Matt Ridley argues that private landowners make better conservationists (16:40); Lionel Shriver warns against pathological niceness in the debate about immigration (28:37); and, Kate Andrews

Will the Red Wall revolt split the right?

48 min listen

On the podcast this week: is Rishi ready for a Red Wall rebellion?  Lee Anderson’s defection to Reform is an indication of the final collapse of the Tories’ 2019 electoral coalition and the new split in the right, writes Katy Balls in her cover story. For the first time in many years the Tories are

The secret to taking ayahuasca

Antioquia, Colombia If you’ve ever wondered what happened to drug lord Pablo Escobar’s enormous cocaine and occasional execution palace, as featured in the Netflix series Narcos, I can tell you. These days – following the violent death of Escobar in 1993 and the consequent escape of his pet hippos from his private zoo – the

Now AI is coming for musicians

Do you remember those far off misty days of yore, when shocking, startling, amazing, disquieting revelations from the world of Artificial Intelligence only arrived every year or two, or even longer? It was about, ooh, a fortnight ago: a wistful, innocent time of smiling boy scouts, and honey for tea, and vicars in bicycle clips,

Why Cambodia is the best country in the world

Yeah, I know, ridiculous. Cambodia? How can that be the best country in the entire world? For a start, most people can’t place it on a map. This includes close relatives of mine who are studying geography at A Level. They know all about the Marxist topography of urbanism, but Cambodia, err, um, is that

Are we ready for P(doom)?

It’s difficult to remember a time before climate change – a time when our daily discourse, our newspaper front pages, endless movies and TV documentaries, and Al Gore, Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough (Peace Be Upon Him), were not lecturing us, sternly and constantly, about the threat to our planet from the ‘climate emergency’,

AI just exploded. Again

When they come to write the history of the AI revolution, there’s a good chance that the writers will devote many chapters to the early 2020s. Indeed, such is the pace, scale and wildness of the development, it is possible entire books will be devoted to, say, what happened in the last week or so.

Think drug legalisation is a good idea? Visit Fentanyl Land

In 1988, I lived on the backpackery Khaosan Road, Bangkok, in a hotel which offered heroin on room service. It went like this: in the morning, you padded down the teakwood stairs to the little kitchen and you asked the pretty Thai girl for breakfast – scrambled eggs, bacon, ‘extras’. Ten minutes later the same

Is Nato ready for war with Russia?

38 min listen

Welcome to a slightly new format for the Edition podcast! Each week we will be talking about the magazine – as per usual – but trying to give a little more insight into the process behind putting The Spectator to bed each week. On the podcast: TheSpectator’s assistant foreign editor Max Jeffery writes our cover story this week, asking

How to check in to a haunted hotel

The haunted hotel. It’s a definite thing, isn’t it? From Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining to the slightly less classic I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, the hotel with an unwanted and probably long-dead guest is a leitmotif in scary cinema. It can also be found in poems, plays, novels; possibly the first

It’s official: modern music is bad

It’s one of the hoariest cliches in popular culture: that every fading generation must, in flailing anger at its own imminent irrelevance, turn on the next generation and say, ‘your music is dire’. From the crusty judge contemptuously asking ‘who are these Beatles’, to the middle-aged outrage surrounding the spitting and pogoing Sex Pistols, to

The world would be a better place without Facebook

It’s sometimes difficult to remember a time before Facebook, isn’t it? It’s like trying to remember a time before the espresso martini (invented by mixologist Dick Bradsell in Soho in 1983) or a time when people smoked on planes (amazingly, that was allowed until the late 1990s), or that time, many ages past, so long

AI just changed the world. Again

Argentine President Javier Milei’s recent speech, to the World Economic Forum in Davos, has caused a stir for several reasons. First, it was someone saying something interesting at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Also, it was someone being positive about capitalism and enterprise in a lucid, educated way. Agree with Milei or not, he

Sicily and the slow collapse of civilisation

Even in the long-shadowed depths of winter, Sicily can be a seductive place. From the hushed, hidden and time-polished marble piazzas of intricately lovely Ortygia, to the White Lotus out-of-season treats of ‘so pretty it hurts’ (Ernest Hemingway) Taormina, this blessed island has for obvious reasons been attracting invaders and colonisers for thousands of years.

Have we just discovered aliens?

It’s one of the greatest puzzles of the universe, and one that has vexed humanity ever since we first gazed at the stars and thought of other worlds. Is our Earth the sole place that harbours life, or might it be found elsewhere, among the trillions of planets, star systems and galaxies? As Arthur C.

Will we worship the AI?

It’s hard to believe that only five years ago the word/acronym AI was barely seen outside the science pages, and even then solely in the most speculative way: as something that might happen, in a few decades, maybe, if you’re the dreamy type. But also maybe not. Now there literally isn’t a day that goes

Why wokeness really is like fascism

If you had to choose a political word of the decade you could do worse than ‘woke’. Because these days ‘woke’ – and its various subsidiary forms: ‘wokeness’, ‘wokery’, ‘wokerati’, ‘the great awokening’, ‘woquemada’ – seems ubiquitous, and very much part of the verbal furniture. And yet woke has a surprisingly short history as a