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"Given what we know now about the origins, history, and impacts of technology, is it possible to design, deploy, and use technologies in ways that help humans be more human, instead of more like components in a machine?"

Founder of Electric Minds, a webzine; author of Tools For Thought; Virtual Communities.

"How to ensure that we develop sciences and technologies that serve the people, are open to democratic scrutiny and which assist rather than hinder humans to live harmoniously with the rest of nature?"

Neurobiologist, The Open University; author Lifelines; The Making Of Memory.

"Is there a happiness gene, and is it dominant?"

Co-founder and Publisher of Wired.

"Can human beings achieve spontaneous morality by opening ourselves further to some basic expression of nature, or must we create and adopt a set of moral guidelines?"

Author, Cyberia; Media Virus; Ecstasy Club; columnist for New York Times Syndicate and Time Digital.

"Why does our 'humanness' keep getting in the way of rational decision-making?"

Writer and television producer; author of The Living Body; Skyscraper; 21St Century Jet.

"How can the implicit beliefs that are imparted to us in childhood be 'reasoned with' in an educational context."

Computer scientist and cognitive psychologist at Northwestern; author of The Creative Attitude; Tell Me A Story.

"I often wonder÷sometimes despair÷whether it will be possible to solve long term, global problems(global warming being my current focus) until we can overcome collective denial, which in turn, may not become conscious until we grapple with personal myths. I question whether the eventual loss of half the other species on Earth will even be enough to overcome personal escapism that has gone collective÷what I sometimes think of a 'psychological fractal'. Perhaps that's not even a question, but it occupies my mind a lot."

Atmospheric scientist at Stanford; author of The Genesis Strategy; Laboratory Earth.

"Do exotic life forms, made of very different materials than those used by life on earth, occur elsewhere in the Universe?"

Biochemist at New York University; author of Origins; The Human Blueprint.

"Does reality have real numbers?"

Chief Architect, Microsoft Corporation.

"Fundamentally, is the flow of time something real, or might our sense of time passing be just an illusion that hides the fact that what is real is only a vast collection of moments?"

Theoretical physicist at Penn State; author of The Life Of The Cosmos.

"How to articulate the natural and the social sciences without being either driven or blocked by ideological agendas?"

Cognitive and social scientist at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris; author of Rethinking Symbolism; On Anthropological Knowledge.

"Is it more useful to theorize a new conception of self that emerges from the widespread adoption of networked technology, or to seek to problematize it?"

Cofounder of Suck.

"Why are most individuals and all human societies grossly under-achieving their potentials?"

Australian research scientist, broadcaster; author of Rogue Asteroids And Doomsday Comets.

"Why can our minds do physics? That is, why does the behavior of the physical world map so neatly onto mathematical laws, given that those laws are (arguably) strings of symbols that our brains happen to be capable of manipulating, apparently as a fortuitous byproduct of some evolutionary process that made our ancestors better adapted to dodging hyenas in the Rift Valley? Why is it that a person sitting in a chair in a room can, by using those leftover hyena-dodging and buffalo-hunting neurons to manipulate symbols in his head, design wing flaps for a 747, or figure out what was happening one femtosecond after the Big Bang?"

Novelist; author of The Big U; Zodiac: The Eco-Thriller; The Diamond Age; Snow Crash.

"How shall I teach my children?"

Astronomer; author of The Cuckoo's Egg; Silicon Snake Oil.

"Why not?"

Director of the Virtual Worlds Group in the Microsoft Advanced Technology and Research Division.

"What was the key factor in the success of Homo sapiens compared with other human species such as the Neanderthals?"

Research paleoanthropologist at The Natural History Museum, London; co-author of In Search Of The Neanderthals; African Exodus.

"How predictive is the much sought-after 'Theory of Everything' intended to be? Presumably it will show why the formation of fundamental particles was inevitable, and why these were bound to form into atoms, and presumably predict galaxies. But will it show that life was bound to appear? Or consciousness? How powerful will it be really ÷ or can it be? What is the Universe really capable of?"

"What is religion? Is it necessary? Can we devise a religion for the 21st century and beyond that is plausible and yet avoids banality ÷ one that people see the need for? What would it be like?"

Cambridge biologist and writer; author of Last Animals At The Zoo; The Time Before History.

"Why is our western civilization so reluctant to accept subjective, first-hand experience as fundamental data? In close association: why the reluctance to consider one's experience as a realm to be explored with a discipline just as rigorous as the one invented by science for material phenomena?"

Biologist at the ƒcole Polytechnique, in Paris; author of Principles Of Biological Autonomy; coauthor of Autopoiesis And Cognition.

"Why does our species so obsessively document its origins and past yet so persistently ignore the dangerous portents of its future, such as overpopulation?"

"Can there be a more reliable definition of intelligence than the ability of a species to realize it has predators and competitors, and then exterminate them ÷ as we humans have?"

Paleontologist at University of Washington; author In Search Of Nautilus; The End Of Evolution.

"Is the phenomenology of modern biology converging on a small number of basic truths or will it increasingly diverge, becoming so endlessly complex that no single human mind will be able to encompass it?"

Biologist, MIT; founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Mass.; author of Racing To The Beginning Of The Road.

"What do we want from science?"

Australian science writer; author of Pythagoras' Trousers: God, Physics, And The Gender Wars.

"The major change through the prehistory of our species is the evolution of our brain, the development of a social organ that makes human culture (and language) part of our biology. My question is whether we can ever transcend the consequences and free ourselves of the biological limitations that have been imposed in the process."

Paleoanthropologist at the University of Michigan; author of Paleoanthropology; coauthor of Race And Human Evolution.

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