Events: Special Events

Special Events
Event Date: [ 3.15.19 2:15 PM ]
Location:
United States


Front Page

DEFGH Nr. 63, Freitag, 15. März 2019. 

Collage: Stefan Dimitrov

The Ghost in the Machine
Artificial intelligence inspires wild fantasies, but remains hard to imagine. A SZ series creates clarity. 

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Artificial intelligence:
A new series brings science and culture together to fathom the inexplicable

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The Overdue Debate 
By Andrian Kreye
Friday, March 15, 2019

Technology in turbo gear: Humanities and Natural Sciences must finally be united to talk about artificial intelligence.
 
Artificial intelligence, or AI for short, is a subject in which the imagination switches to turbo speed. From the medieval myth of the golem to Stanley Kubrick's "2001: Odyssey in Space" to Frank Schätzing's bestseller "The Tyranny of the Butterfly", literature and film have long been concerned with what would happen if machines could develop consciousness and free will. But even if they never will, the possibilities of this technology exceed even the imagination of scientists.
 
As AI enters a new phase with the latest advances in digital technology, there is a growing demand that the natural sciences and the humanities join forces to think about the impact on society and people of machines that can learn and make decisions on their own.

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The Spirit In The Machine
What does artificial intelligence mean?
A series of essays seeks answers.
Part 1

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John Brockman has long called for, and practiced, the unification of the natural sciences and humanities into what he has called “the third culture”. He is the founder of the debate forum Edge.org, where scientists, writers and artists work together to ask the great questions of the present. Since 1981, his "Reality Club" has held gatherings in New York, San Francisco or London in pubs, lofts, museums and living rooms. In 1996, he migrated  the debate to Edge.org on the web, which led to his Edge dinners.

Because he has a full-time career as a literary agent for science authors, as well as being the first to negotiate major deals for books by bestselling  academics such as Daniel Kahneman, Richard Dawkins or Lisa Randall, his roundtable was always already very prominently cast.

One can imagine the 78-year-old today as a mixture of King Arthur and Dorothy Parker. On the one hand, he often recognizes powerful talents earlier than others, which led to the fact that he had the Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos or the boy-wonder of Facebook as guests at his dinner parties even when they were still precocious start-up entrepreneurs. On the other hand, he has the humor and charm to keep you on your toes at such events, whether in the back room of a restaurant, at workshop weekends on his farm near New York, or on his web pages.

So it was a rare “must” in the social life of Harvard University when he recently invited a large group to an evening event in Cambridge at the Brattle Theatre, followed by a dinner at the Charles Hotel to continue the debate on artificial intelligence, which he had presented as a "Possible Minds" project last fall. Many of those who attended are celebrated as stars in scientific circles—such as the cognition researcher Steven Pinker, the robot ethicist Kate Darling, the science philosopher Max Tegmark and as an eminence price, the writer and anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson.

In the theater they delivered 5-minute Lightning talks (lectures), presenting a picture of the state of things as wide-ranging as anything currently running in the A.I. debate.

Mary Catherine Bateson began the evening with a call for the need to revive the almost forgotten science of systems theory in light of the complex networks of AI. The developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik asked that we remember that while four-year-olds are mentally immature, they’re fitter than any AI. Max Tegmark compared A.I. to a missile that requires precise control by humans.  

And Stephen Wolfram was enthusiastic about the almost unlimited possibilities still beyond our understanding.

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John Brockman’s
Dinners are Today’s
"Roundtables"
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As a non-academic guest of the following dinner I realized how deeply connected the various disciplines of the humanities and sciences already are in places like Cambridge, MA. It felt like being at a great reunion, hugs and gossip included. John Brockman ruled the room like a social alchemist, taking some from the numerous groups adding them to another to spark new conversations. One could learn about the latest breakthroughs in science or about how projects like AI enhanced democratic processes neutralizing lobbyists and empowering voters, or get a sense of greater trends like programmable cells (which might have an even greater impact on history than AI, especially if you talk to a biologist).

John Brockman's most recent roundtables in artificial intelligence has resulted in an essay collection. Authors and scientists such as the geneticist George Church, Alison Gopnik, the art historian Caroline Jones, Steven Pinker and the Nobel laureate and president of the Royal Society Venki Ramakrishnan have joined the debate about artificial intelligence. The Süddeutsche Zeitung will make the essays available to the public in the coming weeks, publishing them in the Feuilleton.

We will also invite, and publish in our pages, the first reactions of German and European intellectuals, cultural figures, and natural scientists. This will be the beginning of a debate the end of which is not in sight.’

Andrian Kreye is the Feuilleton Editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung. © Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH, Munich. Courtesy of Süddeutsche Zeitung Content.


Journalist Andrian Kreye (Süddeutsche Zeitung) wins Theodor Wolff Prize in "Topic of the Year" Category for Artificial Intelligence Series

June 26, 2019


Photo: BDZV/Anikka Bauer


The Spirit of Unlimited Possibilities

Of cybernetics, man and man machine—a brief history of thinking about artificial intelligence. By John Brockman
 
Artificial intelligence is the big theme of our days, the story behind all the other stories. It is the return of the Messiah and the Apocalypse in one: Good AI versus evil AI.
 
Over the years, it has always been important to me to keep in touch with the key figures in this field of research, with the scientists and all the other thought leaders who have advanced the developmental steps of AI. But it all started much earlier than the current debate. Because Before AI, there was cybernetics—the idea of automatic, self-regulating control, laid out in Norbert Wiener’s foundational text of 1948.
 
In 1965, the composer John Cage invited me and other artists to a series of dinners. At the time I was the program manager of Filmmakers’ Cinematheque, where I produced the Expanded Cinema Festival featuring people like Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, Carolee Schneemann, and Andy Warhol.

Cage's dinner parties were an ongoing seminar on media, communication, art, music and philosophy, driven by Cage's interest in the ideas of Wiener, Claude Shannon and Marshall McLuhan. Cage was particularly fascinated by McLuhan's idea that with the invention of electronic technologies we had externalized our central nervous system, that is, our mind, and that we had to assume that "there is only one mind that we all share. Such ideas were increasingly circulating among artists and intellectuals at the time. Many of these people were reading Wiener, and cybernetics was in the air. During one of those dinners, Cage reached into his briefcase and pulled out a copy Wiener's Cybernetics and handed it to me with the words: “This is for you." That was a key moment for everything I've done in the last 53 years.

During the festival, I received an unexpected phone call from Wiener’s colleague Arthur K. Solomon, head of Harvard’s Biophysics Department. Wiener had died the year before, and Solomon’s and Wiener’s other close colleagues at MIT and Harvard had been reading about the Expanded Cinema Festival in the New York Times and were intrigued by the connection to Wiener’s work. Solomon invited me to bring some of the artists up to Cambridge to meet with him and a group that included MIT sensory communications researcher Walter Rosenblith, Harvard applied mathematician Anthony Oettinger, and MIT engineer Harold “Doc” Edgerton, inventor of the strobe light.

New Technologies = New Perceptions

Like many other “art meets science” situations I’ve been involved in since, the two-day event was an informed failure: ships passing in the night. But I took it all on board and the event was consequential in some interesting ways—one of which came from the fact that they took us to see “the” computer. Computers were a rarity back then; at least none of us on the visit had ever seen one. We were ushered into a large space on the MIT campus, in the middle of which there was a “cold room” raised off the floor and enclosed in glass, in which technicians wearing white lab coats, scarves, and gloves were busy collating punch cards coming through an enormous machine. When I approached, the steam from my breath fogged up the window into the cold room. Wiping it off, I saw “the” computer. I fell in love.

I began to develop a theme, a mantra of sorts, that has informed my endeavors since: “new technologies = new perceptions.” Inspired by communications theorist Marshall McLuhan, architect-designer Buckminster Fuller, futurist John McHale, and cultural anthropologists Edward T. “Ned” Hall and Edmund Carpenter, I started reading avidly in the fields of information theory, cybernetics, and systems theory. McLuhan himself suggested I read Warren Weaver and Claude Shannon’s 1949 paper “Recent Contributions to the Mathematical Theory of Communication,” which begins: “The word communication will be used here in a very broad sense to include all of the procedures by which one mind may affect another. This, of course, involves not only written and oral speech, but also music, the pictorial arts, the theater, the ballet, and in fact all human behavior.”

Reality is a man-made process. The images we make of ourselves and our world are in part models rooted in the knowledge of the technologies we create. Although many of us weren't ready yet, after only a few years we looked at our brain as a computer. And when we connected computers to the Internet, we realized that our brain is not a computer, but a network of computers.


Basic text of the digital debate: Norbert Wiener's Cybernetics of 1948. Photo: SZ

Two years after Cybernetics, in 1950, Norbert Wiener published The Human Use of Human Beings—a deeper story, in which he expressed his concerns about the runaway commercial exploitation and other unforeseen consequences of the new technologies of control. I didn’t read The Human Use of Human Beings until the spring of 2016, when I picked up my copy, a first edition, which was sitting in my library next to Cybernetics. What shocked me was the realization of just how prescient Wiener was in 1950 about what’s going on today. Although the first edition was a major bestseller—and, indeed, jump-started an important conversation—under pressure from his peers Wiener brought out a revised and milder edition in 1954, from which the original concluding chapter, “Voices of Rigidity,” is conspicuously absent.

Science historian George Dyson points out that in this long-forgotten first edition, Wiener predicted the possibility of a “threatening new Fascism dependent on the machine à gouverner”:

No elite escaped his criticism, from the Marxists and the Jesuits (“all of Catholicism is indeed essentially a totalitarian religion”) to the FBI (“our great merchant princes have looked upon the propaganda technique of the Russians, and have found that it is good”) and the financiers lending their support “to make American capitalism and the fifth freedom of the businessman supreme throughout the world.” Scientists. . . received the same scrutiny given the Church: “Indeed, the heads of great laboratories are very much like Bishops, with their association with the powerful in all walks of life, and the dangers they incur of the carnal sins of pride and of lust for power.”

This jeremiad did not go well for Wiener. As Dyson puts it:

These alarms were discounted at the time, not because Wiener was wrong about digital computing but because larger threats were looming as he completed his manuscript in the fall of 1949. Wiener had nothing against digital computing but was strongly opposed to nuclear weapons and refused to join those who were building digital computers to move forward on the thousand-times-more-powerful hydrogen bomb.

Since the original of The Human Use of Human Beings is now out of print, lost to us is Wiener’s cri de coeur, more relevant today than when he wrote it sixty-eight years ago: “We must cease to kiss the whip that lashes us.”

It Is Time to Challenge the Prevailing Digital AI Narrative

Among the reasons we don’t hear much about cybernetics today, two are central: First, although The Human Use of Human Beings was considered an important book in its time, it ran counter to the aspirations of many of Wiener’s colleagues, including John von Neumann and Claude Shannon, who were interested in the commercialization of the new technologies. Second, computer pioneer John McCarthy disliked Wiener and refused to use Wiener’s term “Cybernetics.” McCarthy, in turn, coined the term “artificial intelligence” and became a founding father of that field.

Cybernetics, rather than disappearing, was becoming metabolized into everything, so we no longer saw it as a separate, distinct new discipline. And there it remains, hiding in plain sight.

Now AI is everywhere. We have the Internet. We have our smartphones. The founders of the dominant companies— the companies that hold “the whip that lashes us”— have net worths of $65 billion, $90 billion, $150 billion. High- profile individuals such as Elon Musk, Nick Bostrom, Martin Rees, Eliezer Yudkowsky, and the late Stephen Hawking have issued dire warnings about AI, resulting in the ascendancy of well-funded institutes tasked with promoting “Nice AI.” But will we, as a species, be able to control a fully realized, unsupervised, self-improving AI? Wiener’s warnings and admonitions in The Human Use of Human Beings are now very real, and they need to be looked at anew by researchers at the forefront of the AI revolution.

Here is Dyson again:

Wiener became increasingly disenchanted with the “gadget worshipers” whose corporate selfishness brought “motives to automatization that go beyond a legitimate curiosity and are sinful in themselves.” He knew the danger was not machines becoming more like humans but humans being treated like machines. “The world of the future will be an ever more demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence,” he warned in God & Golem, Inc., published in 1964, the year of his death, “not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited upon by our robot slaves.”

Thus, it’s time to present the ideas of a community of sophisticated thinkers who are bringing their experience and erudition to bear in challenging the prevailing digital AI narrative as they communicate their thoughts to one another. The aim is to present a mosaic of views that will help make sense out of this rapidly emerging field.

Similar to the fable of  the blind man and the elephant, AI is far too big a subject to be viewed from a single angle. The "Possible Minds Project," from which the essays in this series emerged, and are also published as CT, where some of the authors of these essays were also present.

Since then, I have hosted a series of dinners and discussions in New York, London, Cambridge, and the Serpentine Marathon on Artificial Intelligence, and major public events at London City Hall, The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, The LongNow at SF Jazz, and Pioneer Works, in Brooklyn. Among the guests were natural scientists and humanists, communication theorists, science historians, philosophers and artists, all of whom have thought very seriously about artificial intelligence throughout their professional lives. It’s time to examine the evolving AI narrative by identifying the leading members of that mainstream community along with the dissidents and presenting their counter-narratives in their own voices.

The essays that follow thus constitute a much-needed update from the field.

[Adapted from Introduction, Possible Minds: 25 of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019)]


 


Collage: Stefan Dimitrov
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A Dream of Objectivity
By Peter Galison
Saturday, August 10, 2019

Do algorithms bring research and justice closer to the truth? Even more: Do their prognostic abilities exceed those of humans? No. Even today, knowledge and progress in science are not possible without subjectivity and experience.
 
[Adapted from Chapter 22 - "Algorists Dream of Objectivity" by Peter Galison, from Possible Minds: 25 of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019)]


Collage: Stefan Dimitrov
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Once Again With Feeling
By Alex "Sandy" Pentland
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Human society and artificial intelligence will cooperate more and more in the future. For this to work, however, the fundamentals of data processing must become more humane.
 
[Adapted from Chapter 19 - "The Human Strategy" by Alex "Sandy" Pentland, from Possible Minds: 25 of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019)]


Collage: Stefan Dimitrov
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Will Computers Be Our Rulers?
By Venki Ramakrishnan
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The loss of human control has long since begun. Machines make us do things. They cost us jobs. And we understand them less and less.
 
[Adapted from Chapter 18 - "Will Computers Become Our Overlords?" by Venki Ramakrishnan, from Possible Minds: 25 of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019)]


Collage: Stefan Dimitrov
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The Circle is Closing
By Neil Gershenfeld
Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The current mania about artificial intelligence is only one phase that is likely to be followed by the fusion of artificial and natural intelligence. 
 
[Adapted from Chapter 16 - "Scaling" by Neil Gershenfeld, from Possible Minds: 25 of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019)]


Collage: Stefan Dimitrov
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Borders of Obscure Learning
By Judea Pearl
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Scientists are developing artificial intelligence that they no longer understand themselves. Nevertheless, this usually leads to correct results. And finally, people also understand their own brain. But in machine learning it leads into a trap.
 
[Adapted from Chapter 2 - "The Limitations of Opaque Learning Machines" by Judea Pearl, from Possible Minds: 25 of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019)]


Collage: Stefan Dimitrov
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Unpredictable Human
By Anca Dragan
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The more powerful an artificial intelligence is, the more difficult it becomes to program it to deal with its environment. Because reality works not by clear rules. This can have catastrophic consequences. 
 
[Adapted from Chapter 13 - "Putting the Human Into the AI Equation" by Anca Dragan, from Possible Minds: 25 of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019)]


Collage: Stefan Dimitrov
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Meat and Blood Machines
By W. Daniel Hillis
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Hybrid superintelligence such as nation states and corporations often act as independent intelligent beings. Their actions are not always in line with the interests of the people. 
 
[Adapted from Chapter 17 - "The First Machine Intelligences" by W. Daniel Hillis, from Possible Minds: 25 of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019)]


Collage: Stefan Dimitrov
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Beings and Tools 
By Daniel C. Dennett
Monday, April 1, 2019

With artificial intelligence, man creates a means that rearranges the world. That forces him to act, otherwise he loses control.
 
[Adapted from Chapter 5 - "What Can We Do?" by Daniel C. Dennett, from Possible Minds: 25 of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019)]


Collage: Stefan Dimitrov
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The Wisdom of Children
By Alison Gopnik
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

If one compares the learning of artificial intelligence with the methods with which four-year-olds learn, one realizes that children are far better off.

[Adapted from Chapter 21 - "AIs Versus Four-Year-Olds" by Alison Gopnik, from Possible Minds: 25 of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019)]



Collage: Stefan Dimitrov
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What Is Intelligence Anyway?
By Steven Pinker
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Do not be afraid of almighty machines or why most of the future scenarios for AI completely miss reality. A guest post by cognitive researcher Steven Pinker.
 
[Adapted from Chapter 10 - "Tech Prophecy and the Underappreciated Causal Power of Ideas" by Steven Pinker, from Possible Minds: 25 of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019)]
Special Events
Event Date: [ 10.13.14 10:15 AM ]
Location:
United States

EDGE: LIVE, IN LONDON

This year's collaboration with the Serpentine Gallery in London was part of the "Extinction Marathon: Visions of the Future" event, which will took place in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery's extension, designed by Zaha Hadid, on Oct. 18th. The entire event which was live-streamed, will be presented on Edge.

An EDGE Conversation: "DE-EXTINCTION": Stewart Brand & Richard Prum
with Hans Ulrich Obrist & John Brockman

Does the prospect of "de-extinction" change how we think about extinction? Conservation science is shifting from being species-centric to function-centric, focussing on the overall health of ecosystems. Does the extinction of a species leave a "gap in nature" that can only be filled by returning the species to life and to the wild? Or will a functionally close relative serve? Is a de-extincted species really nothing more than a functionally close relative anyway? If it is too difficult and expensive to revive every extinct species, what are the criteria for deciding which ones to work on? Humans are the ones deciding. What ethics and aesthetics should guide those decisions?

   

STEWART BRAND is the Founder of the "The Whole Earth Catalog" and Co-founder of The Long Now Foundation and Revive and Restore; Author, Whole Earth Discipline.

Stewart Brand's Edge Bio Page

RICHARD PRUM is an Evolutionary Ornithologist at Yale University, where he is the Curator of Ornithology and Head Curator of Vertebrate Zoology in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. He is working on a book about duck sex, aesthetic evolution, and the origin of beauty.

Richard Prum's Edge Bio Page


"EDGIES ON EXTINCTION": 10 Minute talks by Helena Cronin, Jennifer Jacquet, Steve Jones, and Chiara Marletto, and an EDGE discussion joined by Molly Crockett, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and John Brockman.

I dream about the sea cow or imagine what they would be like to see in the wild, but the case of the Pinta Island giant tortoise was a particularly strange feeling for me personally because I had spent many afternoons in the Galapagos Islands when I was a volunteer with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Lonesome George’s den with him. If any of you visited the Galapagos, you know that you can even feed the giant tortoises that are in the Charles Darwin Research Station. This is Lonesome George here.
 
He lived to a ripe old age but failed, as they pointed out many times, to reproduce. Just recently, in 2012, he died, and with him the last of his species. He was couriered to the American Museum of Natural History and taxidermied there. A couple weeks ago his body was unveiled. This was the unveiling that I attended, and at this exact moment in time I can say that I was feeling a little like I am now: nervous and kind of nauseous, while everyone else seemed calm. I wasn’t prepared to see Lonesome George. Here he is taxidermied, looking out over Central Park, which was strange as well. At that moment realized that I knew the last individual of this species to go extinct. That presents this strange predicament for us to be in in the 21st century—this idea of conspicuous extinction.
[Continue...]

JENNIFER JACQUET is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at NYU researching cooperation and the tragedy of the commons; Author, Is Shame Necessary? Jennifer Jacquet's Edge Bio Page

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There is a new fundamental theory of physics that’s called constructor theory, and was proposed by David Deutsch who pioneered the theory of the universe of quantum computer. David and I are working this theory together. The fundamental idea in this theory is that we formulate all laws of physics in terms of what tasks are possible, what are impossible, and why. In this theory we have an exact physical characterization of an object that has those properties, and we call that knowledge. Note that knowledge here means knowledge without knowing the subject, as in the theory of knowledge of the philosopher, Karl Popper.

We’ve just come to the conclusion that the fact that extinction is possible means that knowledge can be instantiated in our physical world. In fact, extinction is the very process by which that knowledge is disabled in its ability to remain instantiated in physical systems because there are problems that it cannot solve. With any luck that bit of knowledge can be replaced with a better one. [Continue...]

CHIARA MARLETTO is a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College and Postdoctoral Research Assistnat at the Materials Department at the University of Oxford. Chiara Marletto's Edge Bio Page

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What I wanted to talk about is somewhat of a parallel of that in human populations. If you were to go to a textbook on human biology from the time of Darwin or a bit later, you would certainly get an image that looked a bit like this. This is an image of the so-called races of humankind—racial types, as they called them. I’m not going to go into the question of whether there are real races of humankind because there aren’t. It’s interesting to note that until quite recently people assumed, and scientists assumed too, that the human species was divided into distinct groups that were biologically different from each other and had been isolated from each other for a long, long time.

Well, to some extent that was true. Until quite recently, human populations were isolated from each other. That’s changing quite quickly. [Continue...]

STEVE JONES is a Professor of Genetics at the Galton Laboratory of University College London; Author, The Lanugage of the GenesSteve Jones's Edge Bio Page

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... A strange thing happened on the way to a better world in pursuit of an admirable quest, that is, a world free of sex discrimination where you’re judged on your own qualities and not your sex. Truth and falsity went topsy-turvy. The truth—the silence of sex differences—became dangerous, unmentionable, and in its place the conventional wisdom, which is a ragbag of ideas that have long been extinct but are kept ghoulishly alive by popularity, became the entrenched orthodoxy influencing public thinking, agendas and policy-making, and completely crowding out science and sense.

My aim is to show you why the current orthodoxy should be abandoned and why, if you really care about a fairer world, the science does matter. It matters profoundly. I’m going to take two examples, both about the professions, because they very well epitomize the orthodox litany: how society systematically discriminates against women, and how at work they are victims of pervasive sexism. [Continue...]

HELENA CRONIN is the Co-Director of LSE's Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science; Author, The Ant and the Peacock: Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today. Helena Cronin's Edge Bio Page

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MOLLY CROCKETT is an Associate Professor in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford; Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellow at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging. Molly Crockett's Edge Bio Page



                                                                                       

HANS ULRICH OBRIST is the Co-director of the Serpentine Gallery in London; Author, Ways of CuratingHans Ulrich Obrist's Edge Bio Page

JOHN BROCKMAN is the Editor and Publisher of Edge.org; Chairman of Brockman, Inc.; Author, By the Late John Brockman, The Third Culture. John Brockman's Edge Bio Page


EDGE & SERPENTINE GALLERY

Previous Edge-Serpentine collaborations have included:

"Formulae for the 21st Century" (2007)
"The Table-Top Experiment Marathon" (2007)
"Maps For The 21st Century" (2010)
"Information Gardens" (2011)  


SPEAKING OF EXTINCTIONS....

Edge's own contribution to the conversation will be published in February:

Special Events
Event Date: [ 3.4.14 ]
Location:
United States

March 5, 2014

INTRODUCTION

Daniel Kahneman turns 80 today (March 5, 2014). Edge is using this occasion to launch a Reality Club Discussion about his work. (See:  On Kahneman). Also, we are pleased to reprise some of his contributions to our pages below. 

John Brockman

DANIEL KAHNEMAN is the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, 2002 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2013. He is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus, Princeton, and Author of Thinking Fast and Slow. (Daniel Kahneman's Edge Bio Page)

        


2007


Millions of people have been asked the question, how satisfied are you with your life? That is a question to the remembering self, and there is a fair amount that we know about the happiness or the well-being of the remembering self. But the distinction between the remembering self and the experiencing self suggests immediately that there is another way to ask about well-being, and that's the happiness of the experiencing self.

 A SHORT COURSE IN THINKING ABOUT THINKING
Edge Master Class
 
Daniel Kahneman, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Katinka Matson, Nathan Myrhvold, Peter Diamandis, Dean Kamen, W. Daniel Hillis, George Smoot, Karla Taylor, Jimmy Wales, Salar Kamangar, George Dyson, Seth Lloyd, Tim O'Reilly, Sergey Brin


Anne Treisman


2008


What we're saying is that there is a technology emerging from behavioral economics. It's not only an abstract thing. You can do things with it. We are just at the beginning. I thought that the input of psychology into behavioral economics was done. But hearing Sendhil was very encouraging because there was a lot of new psychology there. That conversation is continuing and it looks to me as if that conversation is going to go forward. It's pretty intuitive, based on research, good theory, and important. — Daniel Kahneman

A SHORT COURSE IN BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS
Edge Master Class


Jeff Bezos, John Brockman, Max Brockman, George Dyson, W. Daniel Hillis, Daniel Kahneman,   Salar Kamangar,  France LeClerc,  Katinka Matson, Sendhil Mullainathan, Elon Musk, Nathan Myhrvold, Sean Parker, Paul Romer, Richard Thaler, Anne Treisman, Evan Williams 

TWO BIG THINGS HAPPENING IN PSYCHOLOGY TODAY 
A Talk By Daniel Kahneman

PUTTING PSYCHOLOGY INTO BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS 
Richard Thaler, Sendhil Mullainathan, Daniel Kahneman 


Sendhil Mullainathan, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos


2011


The power of settings, the power of priming, and the power of unconscious thinking, all of those are a major change in psychology. I can't think of a bigger change in my lifetime. You were asking what's exciting? That's exciting, to me.

THE MARVELS AND THE FLAWS OF INTUITIVE THINKING
Daniel Kahneman 
Edge Master Class: THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN NATURE 


Steven Pinker & Daniel Kahneman 


2013


"I'm still not convinced it was a good idea to write the book." — Kahneman on Thinking Fast and Slow

EDGE RETREAT @ SPRING MOUNTAIN VINEYARD


Daniel Kahneman & Richard Thaler 


 

 

Special Events
Event Date: [ 10.14.13 3:15 PM ]
Location:
United States
Special Events
Event Date: [ 8.22.13 ]
Location:
Spring Mountain Vineyard
St. Helena, CA
United States

DANIEL KAHNEMAN RICHARD THALER 
​at Edge Retreat, August 22, 2013


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Edge Master Class 2011: "What's New In Human Nature"

Daniel Kahneman, Martin Nowak, Steven Pinker, Leda Cosmides, Michael Gazzaniga,  Elaine Pagels
 
Special Events
Event Date: [ 9.24.12 ]
Location:
United States

Recently we have published a number of Conversations on related subjects such as "Big Data", "Linked Data", "Data Science", "Web Science", "Semantic Web", "Network Science". Clearly, a new realm is rapidly coming into public consciousness.

In this regard, we have set up this "Special Event" page on "Computational Social Science" to organize and present this material to our readers and to provide access to the ongoing Edge Conversations and related discussions. 

Published to date are eight Conversations with: Dirk HelbingNicholas A. ChristakisJ. Craig VenterJ. Craig Venter, Cesar HidalgoSandy PentlandAlbert-László Barabási and Tim O'Reilly. The presentations include more than five hours of video as well as the texts.

John Brockman
    Editor


"THE CLOTHESLINE PARADOX"
A Conversation with Tim O'Reilly [10.4.12]

If we're going to get science policy right, it's really important for us to study the economic benefit of open access and not accept the arguments of incumbents. Existing media companies claim that they need ever stronger and longer copyright protection and new, draconian laws to protect them, and meanwhile, new free ecosystems, like the Web, have actually led to enormous wealth creation and enormous new opportunities for social value. And yes, they did in fact lead in some cases to the destruction of incumbents, but that's the kind of creative destruction that we should celebrate in the economy. We have to accept that, particularly in the area of science, there's an incredible opportunity for open access to enable new business models.
 

TIM O'REILLY is the founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, Inc., a leading computer book publisher. O'Reilly Media also hosts conferences on technology topics, including the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, the Strata series of conferences on big data, and Tools of Change for Publishing. O'Reilly Media's Maker Media unit publishes Make Magazine and operates Maker Faire, the world's largest gathering of DIY hardware enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures is a leading early stage venture capital firm.

Tim O'Reilly's Edge Bio Page


[14:21 minutes]


THINKING IN NETWORK TERMS
A Conversation with Albert-lászló Barabási [9.24.12]

One question that fascinated me in the last two years is, can we ever use data to control systems? Could we go as far as, not only describe and quantify and mathematically formulate and perhaps predict the behavior of a system, but could you use this knowledge to be able to control a complex system, to control a social system, to control an economic system?
 

ALBERT-LÁSZLÓ BARABÁSI is a Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern University, where he directs the Center for Complex Network Research, and holds appointments in the Departments of Physics, Computer Science and Biology, as well as in the Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women Hospital, and is a member of the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Albert-László Barabási Edge Bio Page



[54:58 minutes]


REINVENTING SOCIETY IN THE WAKE OF BIG DATA
A Conversation with Alex (Sandy) Pentland  [8.30.12] 

With Big Data we can now begin to actually look at the details of social interaction and how those play out, and are no longer limited to averages like market indices or election results. This is an astounding change. The ability to see the details of the market, of political revolutions, and to be able to predict and control them is definitely a case of Promethean fire --- it could be used for good or for ill, and so Big data brings us to interesting times. We're going to end up reinventing what it means to have a human socie

ALEX 'SANDY' PENTLAND is a pioneer in big data, computational social science, mobile and health systems, and technology for developing countries. He is one of the most-cited computer scientists in the world and was named by Forbes as one of the world's seven most powerful data scientists. He currently directs the 

Sandy Pentland's Edge Bio Page


[24:08 minutes]


WHAT IS VALUE? WHAT IS MONEY?
A Conversation with Cesar Hidalgo [8.28.12] 

We have always had this tension of understanding the world, at small spatial scales or individual scales, and large macro scales. In the past when we looked at macro scales, at least when it comes to many social phenomena, we aggregated everything. Our idea of macro is, by an accident of history, a synonym of aggregate, a mass in which everything is added up and in which individuality is lost. What data at high spatial resolution, temporal resolution and typological resolution is allowing us to do, is to see the big picture without losing the individuality inside it.

CESAR HIDALGO is an assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab, and faculty associate at Harvard University’s Center for International Development. His work focuses on improving the understanding of systems by using and developing concepts of complexity, evolution, and network science. He is also the founder and driving force behind Cambridge Nights, a series of online video interviews with academics who discuss the way in which they view the world.

Cesar Hidalgo's Edge Bio Page


[44:08 minnutes]


A NEW KIND OF SOCIAL SCIENCE FOR THE 21st CENTURY
A Conversation with Nicholas A. Christakis [8.21.12]

These three things—a biological hurricane, computational social science, and the rediscovery of experimentation—are going to change the social sciences in the 21st century. With that change will come, in my judgment, a variety of discoveries and opportunities that offer tremendous prospect for improving the human condition.

It's one thing to say that the way in which we study our object of inquiry, namely humans, is undergoing profound change, as I think it is. The social sciences are indeed changing. But the next question is: is the object of inquiry also undergoing profound change? It's not just how we study it that's changing, which it is. The question is: is the thing itself, our humanity, also changing?

NICHOLAS A. CHRISTAKIS is a Physician and Social Scientist, Harvard University; Coauthor (with James Fowler) of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives.

Nicholas A. Chrsitakis's Edge Bio Page


[
40:59 minutes]


BIOLOGY AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT 
After Dinner Talk by J. Craig Venter [7.10.12] 

We can now send biology at the speed of light, and this is one of the implications of our work, which we recorded two years ago making the first synthetic life form. We completely synthesized the genetic code of a cell starting with a digital code in the computer—it's the ultimate interface between computers and biology. The digital code and the genetic code have a lot in common; something Schrodinger pointed out in 1943, saying it could be something as simple as the Morse code. ... Digital code, as you know, is a binary code, and ones and zeroes, and your genetic code is literally four-base code with ACGs and Ts. We can now readily convert in between the two, and we can define life at its most basic level. Things that were a mystery fifty, sixty, seventy years ago, we now understand completely.

Genomics researcher J. CRAIG VENTER is regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century, most notably for the first sequencing and analysis of the human genome published in 2001 and the most recent and most complete sequencing of his diploid human genome in 2007. He is Co-Founder, Chairman, Synthetic Genomics, Inc.; Founder, J. Craig Venter Institute; Author, A Life Decoded.

J. Craig Venter's Edge Bio Page


[
34:16 minutes]


WHAT IS LIFE? A 21st CENTURY PERSPECTIVE
On the 70th Anniversary of Schroedinger's Lecture at Trinity College by J. Craig Venter [7.12.12] 

I view DNA as an analogue coding molecule, and when we sequence the DNA, we are converting that analogue code into digital code; the 1s and 0s in the computer are very similar to the dots and dashes of Schrodinger's metaphor. I call this process "digitizing biology".

Genomics researcher J. CRAIG VENTER is regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century, most notably for the first sequencing and analysis of the human genome published in 2001 and the most recent and most complete sequencing of his diploid human genome in 2007. He is Co-Founder, Chairman, Synthetic Genomics, Inc.; Founder, J. Craig Venter Institute; Author, A Life Decoded.

J. Craig Venter's Edge Bio Page


[55:14 minutes]


A NEW KIND OF SOCIO-INSPIRED TECHNOLOGY
Dirk Helbing [6.19.12]

There's a new kind of socio-inspired technology coming up, now. Society has many wonderful self-organization mechanisms that we can learn from, such as trust, reputation, culture. If we can learn how to implement that in our technological system, that is worth a lot of money; billions of dollars, actually. We think this is the next step after bio-inspired technology.

PROFESSOR DIRK HELBING is Chair of Sociology, in particular of Modeling and Simulation, at ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and the Scientific Coordinator of the FuturICT Flagship Proposal.

Dirk Helbing's Edge Bio Page



[42:54 minutes]

Special Events
Event Date: [ 7.10.12 ]
Location:
Ristorante Del Cambio
Torino
Italy

TURIN, TUESDAY, JULY 10

THE PERMANENT COLLECTION

 

Jennifer Jacquet  & Ginevra Elkann, President, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli


EDGE DINNER IN TORINO

Ginevra Elkann e Carlo Antonelli
hanno il piacere di invitarla all'
Edge dinner 
in onore di John Brockman, Craig Venter e Brian Eno 
martedì 10 luglio
ore 19.30 aperitivo
ore 20.30 cena
Ristorante Del Cambio – Piazza Carignano, 2  – Torino

 

After Dinner Talk:

J. CRAIG VENTER ANNOUNCES "THE DIGITAL BIOLOGICAL CONVERTER: BIOLOGY AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT"


 

DINNER HOSTS

Ginevra Elkann, Film Producer, Asmara Films; President, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli

Carlo Antonelli, Editor in Chief, Wired Magazine, Italy

ATTENDEES

Massimo Banzi, Co-founder, Arduino Project

Gabriele Beccaria, Editor, Tutto Scienza, science supplement of La Stampa

Tommaso Bertani, DJ

Vittorio Bo, Director, Genoa Science Festival; Codice Publishing

John Brockman, Publisher & Editor, Edge.org; CEO, Brockman, Inc.; Author.

Mario Calabresi, Italian Journalist and Author; Director, La Stampa

Andrea Cane, Publishing Director, Trade Division, De Agostini Editore

Max Casacci, Guitarist, Producer

Franca De D'Agostini, Philosopher, University of Turin & University of Milan 

Alain Elkann, Novelist, Journalist; President, Egyptian Museum of Turin; Director of Cultural Programs, Italian Television

Brian Eno, Artist; Composer; Recording Producer: U2, Coldplay, Talking Heads, Paul Simon; Recording Artist

Lara Favaretto, Artist

Marco Gilli, Director Politecnico di Torino; Professor, Department of Electronics and Telecommunication

Jennifer Jacquet Researcher, NYU, studying the effect of honor and shame on cooperation

Heather Kowalski, Communications Consultant, J. Craig Venter Institute

Arto Lindsay, Pop Musician, Audio Provocateur, Producer

Katinka Matson, Artist; Literary Agent; President, Brockman, Inc.; Co-Founder, Edge.org

Marzia Migliora, Artist

Martina Mondadori, Publisher, Tar magazine; Non-Executive Member, Board of Directors, Momdadori

Franco Noero, Galleria Franco Noero 

Marcella Pralormo, Director, Pinacoteca Agnelli

Gaetano Prisciantelli, Journalist, Il Venredi, La Rebbublica

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Director, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Tadjbakhsh Shahriar, COO, EXOR; Former Director, Goldman Sachs, Paris

Gianluigi Ricuperati, Writer and Essayist, La Repubblica

Scarlett Rouge, Artist

J Craig Venter, Genomics Researcher; Synthetic Genomics, Inc.; J. Craig Venter Institute; Author, A Life Decoded

 

J. Craig Venter & Ginevra Elkann


DUBLIN, THURSDAY, JULY 12

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Schroedinger's famous lecture, J. Craig Venter speaks at Examination Hall, Trinity College, Dublin on 

WHAT IS LIFE?

[CLICK HERE FOR TEMPORARY PRE-PUBLICATION VIDEO LINK]
[AUDIO]


DUBLIN, SATURDAY, JULY 14

CRAIG VENTER DELIVERS KEYNOTE SPEECH AT EUROPEAN SCIENCE OPEN FORUM, DUBLIN


 

 

Special Events
Event Date: [ 6.22.12 ]

 

Chris Anderson
Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

Samuel Arbesman
The Half-life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date

Dan Ariely
The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves




Charles Arthur
Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet

John D. Barrow
The Book of Universes: Exploring the Limits of the Cosmos [Paperback]

Mary Catherine Bateson
Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom (Vintage) [Paperback]




Roy Baumeister
and John Tierney

Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength

Gregory Benford
Anomalies

Jesse Bering
Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?: And Other Reflections on Being Human


Nick Bilton
I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work & Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted [Paperback]

David Brin
Existence

Max Brockman
Future Science: Essays from the Cutting Edge


John Brockman
This Will Make You Smarter
John Brockman
MIND
John Brockman
CULTURE

David Brooks
The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
Stephen Budiansky
Perilous Fight: America's Intrepid War with Britain on the High Seas, 1812-1815 (Vintage) [Paperback]
David M. Buss
Dangerous Passion

Benedict Carey
Poison Most Vial: A Mystery
Noam Chomsky
Occupy (Occupied Media Pamphlet Series) [Paperback]
Douglas Coupland
Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People

Brian Cox & Arthur Cohen
Wonders of the Universe
Austin Dacey
The Future of Blasphemy: Speaking of the Sacred in an Age of Human Rights
Antonio Damasio
Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain

Richard Dawkins & Dave Mckean
The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True
Emanuel Derman
Models.Behaving.Badly: Why Confusing Illusion with Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Life
David Deutsch
The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World[paperback]

Peter Diamandis
Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross
The Rapture of the Nerds
Cory Doctorow
The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (Outspoken Authors) [Paperback]

George Dyson
Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe
David M. Eagleman
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
[paperback edition]
Dylan Evans
Risk Intelligence: How to Live with Uncertainty

Daniel L. Everett
Language: The Cultural Tool
Stuart Firestein
Ignorance: How It Drives Science
Michael Gazzaniga
Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain

James Geary
Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World[Paperback]
David Gelernter
America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered In the Obamacrats)
Karl W. Giberson
The Wonder of the Universe: Hints of God in Our Fine-Tuned World

Anthony Giddens
The Third Way (A New edition)
John Gottman & Nan Silver
What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal
Jonathan Gottschall
The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

A. C. Graylin
The Good Book March 2011
Brian Greene
The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos [Paperback]
Jonathan Haidt
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Paul Harris
Trusting What You're Told: How Children Learn from Others
Sam Harris
Free Will
 
Mark Henderson
The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters

Bruce Hood
The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity

John Horgan
The End of War
 
Arianna Huffington
Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Ordinary Citizen

Walter Isaacson
Steve Jobs
Alok Jha
50 Ways the World Is Going to End: The Biggest Threats to the Planet. by Alok Jha
Steven Johnson
Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation [Paperback]

Daniel Kahneman
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Eric R. Kandel
The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present
Andrew Keen
Digital Vertigo: How Today's Online Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing, and Disorienting Us

Christian Keysers
The Empathic Brain
Alexander Kluge
December (SB-The German List)
Alexander Kluge
Air Raid (SB-The German List)

Lawrence M. Krauss
A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing
Robert Kurzban
Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind [Paperback]
Jonah Lehrer
Imagine: How Creativity Works

John Lloyd
The Second Book of General Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is (Still) Wrong
Benoit Mandelbrot
The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick
Gary Marcus
Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning

Annalena Mcafee
The Spoiler
Tom Mccarthy
Tintin and the Secret of Literature [Paperback]
Pamela Mccorduck
Bounded Rationality, A Novel

John Mcwhorter
What Language Is
Evgeny Morozov
The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom
[paperback]
Steve Nadis & Shing- Tung Yau
The Shape of Inner Space: String Theory and the Geometry of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions [Paperback]

John Naughton
Knowledge: Everything You Really Need to Know about the Internet
Alva Noë
Varieties of Presence
Martin Nowak with Roger Highfield
Supercooperators [Paperback]

Mark Pagel
Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind
Elaine Pagels
Revelations
Heinz R Pagels
The Cosmic Code: Quantum Physics as the Language of Nature (Dover Books on Physics) [Paperback][reprint]

Bruce Parker
The Power of the Sea: Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and Our Quest to Predict Disasters (Macsci) [paperback]
Christopher Phillips
Constitution Café: Jefferson's Brew for a True Revolution [Paperback]
Clifford Pickover
The Physics Book: From the Big Bang to Quantum Resurrection, 250 Milestones in the History of Physics (Sterling Milestones)

Daniel Pink
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Steven Pinker
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
William Poundstone
Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You ... Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy

Jesse Prinz
The Conscious Brain (Philosophy of Mind)
Robert Provine
Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond
Vilayanur Ramachandran
The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human [Paperback]

Lisa Randall
Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World
Martin Rees
From Here to Infinity: A Vision for the Future of Science
Ed Regis & George Church
Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves

Howard Rheingold
Net Smart: How to Thrive Online
Steven Rose & Hilary Rose
Genes, Cells and Brains: Bioscience's Promethean Promises
Robin S. Rosenberg
The Psychology of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Understanding Lisbeth Salander and Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy

Robin S. Rosenberg
What's the Matter With Batman?: An Unauthorized Clinical Look Under the Mask of the Caped Crusader
Carlo Rovelli
The First Scientist: Anaximander and His Legacy
Rudy Rucker
Surfing the Gnarl (Outspoken Authors)

Douglas Rushkoff
Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age
Martin Seligman
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being [Paperback]
Karoly Simonyi
A Cultural History of Physics

Laurence C. Smith
The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future [Paperback]
Christopher Stringer
Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth
Steven Strogatz
The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
Don Tapscott
Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet
Eric J. Topol, M D
The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care

Robert Trivers
The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life
Neil Turok
The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos (CBC Massey Lecture)
Ai Weiwei
Speaks

Margaret Wertheim
Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything
Timothy D. Wilson
Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change
David Sloan Wilson
The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time

E. O. Wilson
The Social Conquest of Earth
Naomi Wolf
Vagina: A New Biography
Nathan Wolfe
The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age

 
Carl Zimmer
A Planet of Viruses
Phil Zuckerman
Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion
 
Special Events
Event Date: [ 10.16.11 ]
Location:
Kensington Gardens
London
United Kingdom

On Sunday, October 16th, Edge, at the invitation of London's leading curator,  and long-time collaborator, Hans Ulrich Obrist (HUO), co-director of the Serpentine Gallery, participated in The Serpentine Gallery Garden Marathon, the sixth in the Gallery’s acclaimed Marathon series. The Garden Marathon explored the concept of the garden.

As Obrist noted,

"A product of the creative encounter between the man-made and the natural, between order and disorder, the garden can offer productive metaphors for the interactions between human life and time, care, thought or space."

"The event is directly inspired by the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011, designed by Peter Zumthor. The encounter of architecture and garden creates a contemplative space that is both set within – and meditatively separated from – the wider surroundings of Kensington Gardens.

"Participations will range from the fields of horticulture, design and architecture to explore the creation of gardens and their spatial, urban and scientific importance, through to works by artists and readings by poets and writers exploring the significance of the garden in our experience of the world."

[Photo: Stefano Boeri, Vertical Forest, © Stefano Boeri] 

Other recent collaborations between Edge and HUO have included "What is your Formula, Your Equation, Your Algorithm: Formulae for the 21st Century" in 2007. "Maps for the 21st Century" in 2010.  HUO and I have also had the pleasure of writing about each other. See "Brockman's Taste for Science, or how to entertain the smartest people"  by Hans Ulrich Obrist, and "A Rule of the Game: A Talk with Hans Ulrich Obrist  on Edge. 

INFORMATION GARDENS consisted of talks by Mark Pagel, Jennifer Jacquet, and Brian Eno.


John Brockman In Conversation with:

Mark Pagel, Cities as Gardens
"Up until 10,000 years ago there were no permanent settlements and all human groups lived by hunting and gathering. Then agriculture was discovered and everything changed. Now a small number of people could supply food for the rest and the first cities arose. Every since that time there has been a steady movement of people out of our original arcadia and into cities, such that now over half the world lives in them. But why given that cities have historically been targets of attack and places of crime and where diseases fester and spread? The answer is that cities have acted as gardens of our prosperity, creativity and innovations and their continued existence is vital to fitting the projected 9 billion people onto this planet. Surprisingly, they are the new 'green centres' of the world."

MARK PAGEL is a Fellow of the Royal Society and Professor of Evolutionary Biology; Head of the Evolution Laboratory at the University of Reading; Author Oxford Encyclopaedia of Evolution; co-author of The Comparative Method in Evolutionary Biology. Forthcoming book Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind.


Jennifer Jacquet, Shame Totem v.2.0
"Throughout the 19th century, native tribes that spanned the north coast of North America erected shame totem poles to signal to the community that certain individuals or groups had transgressed. This art is resurrected with a modernized, garish, digitally rendered 3-D shame pole to represent the most shameful corporations – chosen with the assistance of 500 people based in the U.S. who surveyed about the corporations that have most negatively affected society. The talk will describe the relationship between gardens and shame, a historical view on shame totems, the specific concept for this work, and details of its creation."

JENNIFER JACQUET is a Postdoctoral Researcher, Fisheries Centre/Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia; Research interests incude environmental sustainability (particularly fish), the evolution and function of guilt, honor, and shame, and the role of information technology in shaping environmental action.


Brian Eno, Composers as Gardeners
"My topic is the shift from 'architect' to 'gardener', where 'architect' stands for 'someone who carries a full picture of the work before it is made', to 'gardener' standing for 'someone who plants seeds and waits to see exactly what will come up'. I will argue that today's composer are more frequently 'gardeners' than 'architects' and, further, that the 'composer as architect' metaphor was a transitory historical blip."

BRIAN ENO is an Artist; Composer; Recording Producer: U2, Cold Play, Talking Heads, Paul Simon; Recording Artist ( Drums Between the Bells, Small Craft on a Milk SeaEverything That Happens Will Happen TodayAnother Green World).
 
Special Events
Event Date: [ 1.23.11 ]
Location:
Munich
Germany

George Dyson, Stewart Brand, John Brockman, Kevin Kelly

This year, Edge@DLD is presenting a session with three of the original members of Edge who year in and year out provide the core sounding board for the ideas and information we present to the public. I refer to them in private correspondance as "The Council"). Every year, beginning late summer, I consult with Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, and George Dyson, and together we create the Edge Annual Question which Edge has been asking for the past fourteen years.

Stewart Brand is the founder and editor of Whole Earth Catalog and author of Whole Earth Discipline; Kevin Kelly helped to launch Wiredin 1993 and is the author of Out of Control and What Technology Wants; and George Dyson, a science historian, is the author of Darwin Among the Machines and the forthcoming Turing's Cathedral.

This is fourth year that Edge has been invited to collaborate with DLD (Digitlal-Life-Day) in Munich. In 2008 genomics researcher the Edge Conversation featured J. Craig Venter and biologist Richard Dawkins on "Life: A Gene-Centric View". In 2009, psychologist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman and philosophical essayist & researcher Nassim Nicholas Taleb held forth on "Reflections On A Crisis." In 2010 the conversation included computer scientist David Gelernter, Feuilleton Editor (Sueddeutsche Zeitung) Andrian Kreye, and Feuilleton Editor & Co-Publisher (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) Frank Schirrmacher, who explored the idea of "The Informavore".

— JB

[1-3:24] Introduction: Andrian Kreye

[3:24-6:07] John Brockman, Moderator

[6:07-21:55] Stewart Brand

[21:55-21:40] Kevin Kelly

[21:40-51:05] George Dyson

 

Continue to transcripts and video of the discussion:

[email protected]
Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly & George Dyson: An Edge Conversation In Munich

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