trial [1]

"EDGE'S LONG-FORM INTERVIEW VIDEOS ARE A DEEP DIVE INTO THE DAILY LIVES AND PASSIONS OF ITS SUBJECTS"

For those seeking substance over sheen, the occasional videos released at Edge.org hit the mark. The Edge Foundation community is a circle, mainly scientists but also other academics, entrepreneurs, and cultural figures. ... Edge's long-form interview videos are a deep-dive into the daily lives and passions of its subjects, and their passions are presented without primers or apologies. The decidedly noncommercial nature of Edge's offerings, and the egghead imprimatur of the Edge community, lend its videos a refreshing air, making one wonder if broadcast television will ever offer half the off-kilter sparkle of their salon chatter.


EDGE CONVERSATION

ADVENTURES IN BEHAVIORAL NEUROLOGY—OR—WHAT NEUROLOGY CAN TELL US ABOUT HUMAN NATURE [2]
A Talk With Vilaynur Ramachandran  [3]

Neuroscientist; Professor & Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, UC, San Diego; Author, The Tell-Tale Brain 

[2]

So here is something staring you in the face, anextraordinary syndrome, utterly mysterious, where a person wants his normal limb removed. Why does this happen? There are all kinds of crazy theories about it including Freudian theories. One theory asserts, for example, that it's an attention seeking behavior. This chap wants attention so he asks you to remove his arm. It doesn't make any sense.Why does he not want his nose removed or ear removed or something less drastic? Why an arm.


EDGE CONVERSATION

RE-THINKING "OUT OF AFRICA" [4]
A Talk With Christopher Stringer  [5]

Paleoanthropologist, The Natural History Museum, London; Author, Lone Survivors 

[6]

I'm thinking a lot about species concepts as applied to humans, about the "Out of Africa" model, and also looking back into Africa itself. I think the idea that modern humans originated in Africa is still a sound concept. Behaviorally and physically, we began our story there, but I've come around to thinking that it wasn't a simple origin. Twenty years ago, I would have argued that our species evolved in one place, maybe in East Africa or South Africa. 

 

EDGE CONVERSATION

INFINITE STUPIDITY [7]
A Talk With Mark Pagel [8]

Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Reading University, England and The Santa Fe Institute; Author, Wired for Culture 

[9]

A tiny number of ideas can go a long way, as we've seen. And the Internet makes that more and more likely. What's happening is that we might, in fact, be at a time in our history where we're being domesticated by these great big societal things, such as Facebook and the Internet. We're being domesticated by them, because fewer and fewer and fewer of us have to be innovators to get by. And so, in the cold calculus of evolution by natural selection, at no greater time in history than ever before, copiers are probably doing better than innovators.  


EDGE CONVERSATION

THINKING ABOUT THE UNIVERSE ON THE LARGER SCALES [10]
Raphael Bousso 
[11]

Professor of Theoretical Physics, Berkeley

[10]Andrei Linde had some ideas, Alan Guth had some ideas, Alex Vilenkin had some ideas. I thought I was coming in with this radically new idea that we shouldn't think of the universe as existing on this global scale that no one observer can actually see, that it's actually important to think about what can happen in the causally connected region to one observer, what can you do in any experiment that doesn't actually conflict with the laws of physics, and require superluminal propagation, that we have to ask questions in a way that conform to the laws of physics if we want to get sensible answers.


EDGE CONVERSATION

A ROUGH MIX: BRIAN ENO & JENNIFER JACQUET [12]
Brian Eno
[13] & Jennifer Jacquet [14]

ENO: Artist; Composer; Recording Producer: U2, Coldplay, Talking Heads, Paul Simon; Recording Artist, Small Craft on a Milk Sea  JACQUET: Postdoctoral Researcher, Fisheries Centre/Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia, researching cooperation and the tragedy of the commons 
 

[12]

ENO: Usually one is asked to do music for films but this is for a totem pole.

JACQUET: 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. 

 


EDGE @ SCIFOO [1]

Googleplex, Mountain View, California — August 12-14, 2011
Frank Wilczek, Jennifer Jacquet, Timo Hannay

[15] Ask the question you are asking yourself. You have one minute.—JB

 


EDGE CONVERSATION

THE LOCAL-GLOBAL FLIP, OR, "THE LANIER EFFECT" [16]
A Conversation with Jaron Lanier [17] [8.29.11]

Computer scientist; musician; author, You Are Not A Gadget

[16]If you aspire to use computer network power to become a global force through shaping the world instead of acting as a local player in an unfathomably large environment, when you make that global flip, you can no longer play the game of advantaging the design of the world to yourself and expect it to be sustainable. The great difficulty of becoming powerful and getting close to a computer network is: Can people learn to forego the temptations, the heroin-like rewards of being able to reform the world to your own advantage in order to instead make something sustainable?


EDGE CONVERSATION

ON THE SCIENCE OF COOKING [18]
An Edge Conversation with Nathan Myhrvold [19]

CEO and Managing Director, Intellectual Ventures; Co-Author (with Bill Gates), The Road Ahead; Author, Modernist Cuisine

[18]

Cooking also obeys the laws of physics, in particular chemistry. Yet it is quite possible to cook without understanding it. You can cook better if you do understand what is going on, particularly if you want to deviate from the ways that people have cooked before. If you want to follow a recipe exactly, slavishly, what the hell, you can do it without understanding it. As a rote automaton, you can say, "yes, I mixed this, I cook at this temperature" and so forth. But if you want to do something really different, if you want to go color outside the lines, if you want to go outside of the recipe, it helps if you have some intuition as to how things work.


EDGE MASTER CLASS

THE MARVELS AND THE FLOWS OF INTUITIVE THINKING [20]
Daniel Kahneman
[21]

Eugene Higgins Emeritus Professor of Psychology; Nobel Laureate; Author, Thinking Fast and Slow

[20]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.


EDGE MASTER CLASS

THE EVOLUTION OF COOPERATION [22]
Martin Nowak
[23]

Professor of Biology and Mathematics, Harvard University; coathor, SuperCooperators

Why has cooperation, not competition, always been the key to the evolution of complexity?


EDGE MASTER CLASS

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE [24]
Steven Pinker 
[25]

Johnstone Family Professor, Department of Psychology; Harvard University; Author, The Better Angles of Our Nature 

[24]What may be the most important thing that has ever happened in human history is that violence has gone down, by dramatic degrees, and in many dimensions all over the world and in many spheres of behavior: genocide, war, human sacrifice, torture, slavery, and the treatment of racial minorities, women, children, and animals.


EDGE MATSER CLASS

THE ARCHITECTURE OF MOTIVATION [26]
Leda Cosmides 
[27]

Professor of Psychology at UCSB

[26]

Recent research concerning the welfare of others, etc. affects not only how to think about certain emotions, but also overturns how most models of reciprocity and exchange, with implications about how people think about modern markets, political systems, and societies. What are these new approaches to human motivation?

 


EDGE MASTER CLASS

NEUROSCIENCE AND JUSTICE [28]
Michael Gazzaniga
[29]

Neuroscientist, UC Santa Barbara; Author, Who's In Charge

[30]Asking the fundamental question of modern life. In an enlightened world of scientific understandings of first causes, we must ask: are we free, morally responsible agents or are we just along for the ride?

 

 


EDGE MASTER CLASS

THE BOOK OF REVELATION: PROPHECY AND POLITICS [31]
Elaine Pagels
[32]

Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion, Princeton University; Author, Revelations

[31]

Why is religion still alive? Why are people still engaged in old folk takes and mythological stories — even those without rational and ethical foundations.


EDGE CONVERSATION

INSIGHT [33]
A Conversation with Gary Klein [34]

Cognitive Psychologist; Author, Sources of Power; Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for Keys to Adaptive Decision Making

[33]

Judgments based on intuition seem mysterious because intuition doesn't involve explicit knowledge. It doesn't involve declarative knowledge about facts. Therefore, we can't explicitly trace the origins of our intuitive judgments. They come from other parts of our knowing. They come from our tacit knowledge and so they feel magical. Intuitions sometimes feel like we have ESP, but it isn't magical, it's really a consequence of the experience we've built up.


EDGE CONVERSATION

WHY CITIES KEEP GROWING, CORPORATIONS AND PEOPLE ALWAYS DIE, AND LIFE GETS FASTER [35]
A Conversation With Geoffrey West  [36]

Distinguished Professor and Past President, Santa Fe Institute

[35]

The question is, as a scientist, can we take these ideas and do what we did in biology, at least based on networks and other ideas, and put this into a quantitative, mathematizable, predictive theory, so that we can understand the birth and death of companies, how that stimulates the economy? —Geoffrey West


 

EDGE CONVERSATION

THE SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL NARRATIVE—OR—WHAT IS SOCIAL OSYCHOLOGY, ANYWAY? [37]
A Conversation with Timothy Wilson  [38]

Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia; Co-author, Social Psychology; Author, Strangers to Ourselves; Redirect

[37]One of the basic assumptions of the field is that it's not the objective environment that influences people, but their constructs of the world. You have to get inside people's heads and see the world the way they do. You have to look at the kinds of narratives and stories people tell themselves as to why they're doing what they're doing. What can get people into trouble sometimes in their personal lives, or for more societal problems, is that these stories go wrong. People end up with narratives that are dysfunctional in some way. — Timothy D. Wilson


EDGE CONVERSATION

THE ARGUMENTATIVE THEORY [39]
A Conversation with Hugo Mercier

[40]

 


EDGE CONVERSATION

WHO IS THE GREATEST BIOLOGIST OF ALL TIME? [41]
A Talk With Armand Marie Leroi  [42]

Professor of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Imperial College; Author, Mutants

[41]"Okay, but who is the real top dog? For me, the answer is absolutely clear. It's Aristotle. And it's a surprising answer because even though I suppose some biologists might know, should they happen to remember their first year textbooks, that Aristotle was the Father of Biology, they would still say, "well, yes, but he got everything wrong." And that, I think, is a canard. The thing about Aristotle - and this is why I love him - is that his thought was is so systematic, so penetrating, so vast, so strange—and yet he's undeniably a scientist." —Armand Marie Leroi


EDGE CONVERSATION

A SENSE OF CLEANLINESS [43]
A Talk with Simone Schnall [44] 

Director, Cambridge Embodied Cognition and Emotion Laboratory; University Lecturer, Department of Social and Developmental Psychology Cambridge

[43]

As far as morality goes, disgust has received a lot of attention, and there has been a lot of work on it. The flip side of it is cleanliness, or being tidy, proper, clean, pure, which has been considered the absence of disgust, or contamination. But there is actually more to being clean, and having things in order. On some level even cleanliness, or the desire to feel clean and pure has a social origin in the sens that primates show social grooming: Monkeys tend to get really close to each other, they pick insects off each other's fur, and it's not just useful in terms of keeping themselves clean, but it has an important social function in terms of bonding them together


[email protected] [45]: AN EDGE CONVERSATION IN MUNICH

BACK TO ANALOG [46]
A Talk by George Dyson [47]

Science Historian; Author, Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe; Darwin Among the Machines

[48]

Where is this whole digital world going?  And I'm going to risk being thrown out of here by saying... not that digital is over, but that we've already moved into a new phase, that people just are not recognizing yet: back to analog. We're taking that cathode ray tube back the other way.


EDGE SEMINAR

THE NEW SCIENCE OF MORALITY [49] 
A Presentation by Jonathan Haidt [50]

Professor of Social Psychology, University of Virginia; Author, The Righteous Mind

[51]

I'm all in favor of reductionism, as long as it's paired with emergentism. You've got to be able to go down to the low level, but then also up to the level of institutions and cultural traditions and, all kinds of local factors. A dictum of cultural psychology is that "culture and psyche make each other up." We psychologists are specialists in the psyche. What are the gears turning in the mind? But those gears turn, and they evolved to turn, in various ecological and economic contexts.  


EDGE SEMINAR 

THE NEW SCIENCE OF MORALITY, PART 2 [52]
A Presentation By Joshua D. Greene [53]

Cognitive Neuroscientist and Philosopher, Harvard University

[52]Now, it's true that, as scientists, our basic job is to describe the world as it is. But I don't think that that's the only thing that matters. In fact, I think the reason why we're here, the reason why we think this is such an exciting topic, is not that we think that the new moral psychology is going to cure cancer. Rather, we think that understanding this aspect of human nature is going to perhaps change the way we think and change the way we respond to important problems and issues in the real world. If all we were going to do is just describe how people think and never do anything with it, never use our knowledge to change the way we relate to our problems, then I don't think there would be much of a payoff. I think that applying our scientific knowledge to real problems is the payoff.


EDGE SEMINAR

A NEW SCIENCE OF MORALITY  [54]
A Presentation By Sam Harris [55]

Neuroscientist; Chairman, The Reason Project; Author, Free Will

[54]

Most scientists and public intellectuals, and I would guess, most journalists—have been convinced that something in the last 200 years of   intel- lectual progress has made it impossible to actually speak about "moral truth." Not because human experience is so difficult to study or the brain too complex, but because there is thought to be no intellectual basis from which to say that anyone


EDGE SEMINAR

THE NEW SCIENCE OF MORALITY, PART 4 [56]
A Presentation By Roy Baumeister [57] 

Francis Eppes Eminent Scholar and head of the social psychology graduate program at Florida State University; Co-author (with John Tierney), Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty

[58]

It's not nature's over here and culture's over there and they're both pulling us in different directions. Rather, nature made us for culture. I'm convinced that the distinctively human aspects of psychology, the human aspects of evolution were adaptations to enable us to have this new and better kind of social life, namely culture.