"Deliciously creative...the variety astonishes...intellectual skyrockets of stunning brilliance. Nobody in the world is doing what Edge is doing. It's the greatest virtual research university in the world." —Denis Dutton, Arts & Letters Daily



THE WORLD QUESTION CENTER

James Flynn has defined "shorthand abstractions" (or "SHA's") as concepts drawn from science that have become part of the language and make people smarter by providing widely applicable templates ("market", "placebo", "random sample," "naturalistic fallacy," are a few of his examples). His idea is that the abstraction is available as a single cognitive chunk which can be used as an element in thinking and debate.

The Edge Question 2011

WHAT SCIENTIFIC CONCEPT WOULD IMPROVE EVERYBODY'S COGNITIVE TOOLKIT?

The term 'scientific"is to be understood in a broad sense as the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about anything, whether it be the human spirit, the role of great people in history, or the structure of DNA. A "scientific concept" may come from philosophy, logic, economics, jurisprudence, or other analytic enterprises, as long as it is a rigorous conceptual tool that may be summed up succinctly (or "in a phrase") but has broad application to understanding the world.

[Thanks to Steven Pinker for suggesting this year's Edge Question and to Daniel Kahneman for advice on its presentation.]

164CONTRIBUTORS (115.000 words): Daniel Kahneman, Richard Dawkins, V.S. Ramachandran, Richard Thaler, Brian Eno, J. Craig Venter, Martin Rees, Mahzarin Banaji, Stewart Brand, Stefano Boeri, Nigel Goldenfeld, Dimitar Sasselov, Gary Marcus, Eric Weinstein, Neri Oxman, David Pizarro, Andrew Revkin, Stuart Firestein, Beatrice Golomb, Diane Halpern, Kevin Hand, Barry Smith, Kevin Hand, Garrett Lisi, David Dalrymple, Xeni Jardin, Seth Lloyd, Brian Knutson, Carl Page, Victoria Stodden, David Rowan, Hazel Rose Markus & Alana Conner, Fiery Cushman, David Eagleman, Joan Chiao, Max Tegmark, Tecumseh Fitch, Joshua Greene, Stephon Alexander, Gregory Cochran, Tor Norretranders , Laurence Smith, Carl Zimmer, Roger Highfield, Marcelo Gleiser, Richard Saul Wurman, Anthony Aguirre, Sam Harris, P.Z. Myers, Sue Blackmore, Bart Kosko, David Buss, John Tooby, Eduardo Salcedo-Albaran, Paul Bloom, Evgeny Morozov, Mark Pagel, Kathryn Schulz, Ernst Pöppel, Tania Lombrozo, Paul Saffo, Jay Rosen, Timothy Taylor, Jonah Lehrer, Marco Iacoboni, Dave Winer, George Church, Kai Krause, Gloria Origgi, Tom Standage, Vinod Khosla, Dan Sperber, Geoffrey Miller, Satyajit Das, Alun Anderson, Eric Topol, Amanda Gefter, Scott D. Sampson, John McWhorter, Jon Kleinberg, Christine Finn, Nick Bostrom, Robert Sapolsky, Adam Alter, Ross Anderson, Paul Kedrosky, Mark Henderson, Thomas A. Bass, Gerald Smallberg, James Croak, Greg Paul, Susan Fiske, Marti Hearst, Keith Devlin, Gerd Gigerenzer, Matt Ridley, Andrian Kreye, Don Tapscott, David Gelernter, Linda Stone, Matthew Ritchie, Joel Gold, Helen Fisher, Giulio Boccaletti, Daniel Goleman, Donald Hoffman, Richard Foreman, Lee Smolin, Thomas Metzinger, Lawrence Krauss, William Calvin, Nicholas Christakis, Alison Gopnik, Kevin Kelly, Clay Shirky, Andy Clark, Neil Gershenfeld, Jonathan Haidt, Marcel Kinsbourne, Douglas Rushkoff, Lisa Randall, Frank Wilczek, Jaron Lanier, Jennifer Jacquet, Daniel Dennett, Stephen M. Kosslyn, Carlo Rovelli, Juan Enriquez, Terrence Sejnowski, Irene Pepperberg, Michael Shermer, Samuel Arbesman, Douglas Kenrick, James O'Donnell, David G. Myers, Rob Kurzban, Richard Nisbett, Samuel Barondes, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Nicholas Carr, Emanuel Derman, Aubrey De Grey, Nassim Taleb, Rebecca Goldstein, Clifford Pickover, Charles Seife, Rudy Rucker, Sean Carroll, Gino Segre, Jason Zweig, Dylan Evans, Steven Pinker, Martin Seligman, Gerald Holton, Robert Provine, Roger Schank, George Dyson, Milford Wolpoff, George Lakoff, Nicholas Humphrey, Christian Keysers, Haim Harari, W. Daniel Hillis, John Allen Paulos, Bruce Hood, Howard Gardner

It's ever more delectable that the Edge Foundation— the network of prominent scientists and intellectuals founded by literary agent John Brockman in New York — has worked against the reciprocal ignorance of literary cultures and sciences of each other. Successfully. If you take the algorithms developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, which measure the value of links, Edge's website ranks seven on a global scale of ten. The New York Times ranks nine, eBay at eight. — Sueddeutche Zeitung



EL MUNDO
January 23, 2011

COSMIC DE VENTER BET

Paul Jáuregui

[Google translation:] As every year since 1998, the online magazine Edge (www.edge.org) has once again raised a great question to the best minds on the planet. And once again, this virtual forum of debate offers us all a wonderful opportunity to savor the thoughts of many top scientists and thinkers of the world.

This year, the question posed by Edge was: "What scientific concept improve our cognitive tools?". I ask readers of Eureka to take away everything they can from the 164 replies received. They will find many pearls of wisdom in this ocean of knowledge.

Among the illustrious figures who have participated in this high caliber survey, which has increased in prestige every year, the highlight is the biggest superstar of modern science, Craig Venter. ...

... Your response, like almost everything the father of the human genome and artificial life, says and does, not leave anyone indifferent: "We are not alone in the Universe." Venter believes that any discovery would have greater impact on mankind than the discovery of life outside our Solar System: "If we find that there are many, perhaps millions of origins of life, and therefore that life is present throughout the universe This will profoundly affect all humans." ...

...Edge has again shown that there is nothing like a asking a good question to the best brains.



January 21, 2011

Pro Wrestling Gets Brainy: 'Kayfabe' Considered A Scientific Concept
by KJ Gould

We all know the world of Professional Wrestling is low brow and can appeal to the lowest common denominator. Each time Wrasslin' gets brought up in discussing MMA I can almost hear Luke Thomas doing his best mocking yokel impression while chastising people for making continual connections between the two before feeling the need to inform us of his penchant for The Classics as his preferred means of recreational entertainment. Something like that.

So it may come as some surprise that a clear cut example of Pro Wrestling terminology finds itself the centre of a recently published scientific essay. In this instance I'm referring to the term 'Kayfabe' which coincidentally enough I used in the headline of a recent article. ....

...With that out of the way, here's the Science part. Edge Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit virtual think tank and claims its informal membership to include "some of the most interesting minds of the world" and has been featured and referenced by the likes of American Scientist, New Scientist, The BBC, The Times, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Wired. Each year Edge poses a question in an attempt to get various thinkers from various backgrounds around the world to chime in with their own answers and interpretations. Questions have varied from philosophical ("What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?" 2005), technological ("What is the most important invention in the last two thousand years ... and why?" - 1999) and cultural ("How is the Internet changing the way you think?" - 2010).

This year's question is psychological with "What Scientific Concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?"....

...And as I alluded to, 'Kayfabe' formed the basis of one of the responses.

Eric Weinstein - Mathematician and Economist (PhD Mathematics at Harvard) and Principal of the Natron Group in Manhattan - writes:

The sophisticated "scientific concept" with the greatest potential to enhance human understanding may be argued to come not from the halls of academe, but rather from the unlikely research environment of professional wrestling. ...

[Continue]



DIE ZEIT
January 20, 2011

LOB DES UNGEWISSEN (PRAISE THE UNCERTAIN)

Stefan Schmitt

[Google translation]..."Truth is only a model", writes Neil Gershenfeld, an MIT physicist. He finds that you should write down all the behind the ears, and lay people. In everyday life are shaped too much controversy about politics or lifestyle of the conviction to be right. Since one wishes for the humility of the researcher who knows he does not produce truth, but only models of reality that can quickly be back passé. "What scientific concept is in everyone's mental tool box?", had asked the thinker Club Edge.org. As suggested before Gershenfeld skepticism about truth.

The Italian physicist Carlo Rovell said even more pointedly that certainty was "useless, indeed dangerous." Uncertainty whether that will take us forward. What praise of the reflected half-knowledge!



BARRON'S
January 21, 2011

Strategist: Investors Need To Sharpen Their 'Rational' BehaviorBy

Murray Coleman

Human psychology can work against investors trying to make the best financial decisions, notes Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx.

In a commentary this morning, he suggests that clients consider ways to "sharpen the rational part" of their investment psychology. Colas writes:

"Human nature, as it turns out, is a veritable minefield of biases and distortions that push rational thought through emotional screens to the point where clearheaded thinking can mutate into irrational outcomes."

One of the most cited mantras of investing is to "think and think differently," the piece adds. Along those lines, Colas points to early investors who were insightful enough to put money into such companies as IBM (IBM) and Apple (AAPL) before they became giants of technology.

He believes investors should ask themselves: What scientific concept would improve everyone's cognitive toolkit?

Colas notes that's a question which has also been raised by the Edge Foundation, a think-tank run by John Brockman. Members of the foundation range from music producer Brian Eno to Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman and Nicholas Taleb, author of the "The Black Swan."



Jan 17. 2011

Science Weekly
With Alok Jha


SCIENCE WEEKLY PODCAST: MONITORING CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE ANTARCTIC
We dial up researchers investigating climate change in Antarctica; plus, internet guru Clay Shirky explains his answer to this year's Edge Question

Presented by Alok Jha and produced by Andy Duckworth 

Robin McKie and Nell Boase are in the studio to discuss this year's Edge Question: What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?

The founder of edge.org John Brockman tells us how they dreamed up the idea of picking the brains of the world's leading thinkers, and one of the brains, social media expert Clay Shirky, explains his answer to this year's question.

The founder of edge.org John Brockman tells us how they dreamed up the idea of picking the brains of the world's leading thinkers, and one of the brains. ...



January 21, 2010

Improve Your “Cognitive Toolkit”!

By Christopher Shea

Each year, the Edge Foundation asks dozens of big-picture thinkers to answer a single question, in a short essay. This year’s question, proposed by the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, is: “What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?” Or, to paraphrase, how might people alter the way they interpret the information they take in about the world, to better comprehend it?

A great question, as usual. But interestingly ambiguous: Who, exactly, is is the “everybody” in the phrase “everybody’s toolkit”?

[Continue...]



20 January 2011

THIS YEAR'S BIG QUESTION IS EDGIER THAN EVER
Liz Else

Every January the cognoscenti know to look out for the annual question posed by literary agent and self-styled intellectual impresario John Brockman on his Edge "salon" website. The trick, of course, is to get the question just right so that the great and good - and the wannabes - feel compelled to play what is often the smartest game in town.

One of my favourites was the deceptively simple tease: "What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?" (2005), which provided diverse snapshots of individual intellectuals at work and of emerging trends.

With this year's question, though, Brockman gets really tricksy: "What scientific concept would improve everyone's cognitive toolkit?"

[Continue]



BOINGBOING
12:39 PM Tuesday, Jan 18, 2011 

Xeni Jardin


EDGE WORLD QUESTION 2011: "WHAT SCIENTIFIC CONCEPT WOULD IMPROVE EVERYBODY'S COGNITIVE TOOLKIT?"

Each year, über-big-think-literary-agent and EDGE founder John Brockman poses a question, and collects and publishes the answers. This year:

WHAT SCIENTIFIC CONCEPT WOULD IMPROVE EVERYBODY'S COGNITIVE TOOLKIT?

The term 'scientific"is to be understood in a broad sense as the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about anything, whether it be the human spirit, the role of great people in history, or the structure of DNA. A "scientific concept" may come from philosophy, logic, economics, jurisprudence, or other analytic enterprises, as long as it is a rigorous conceptual tool that may be summed up succinctly (or "in a phrase") but has broad application to understanding the world.
• My response to the EDGE 2011 Question is here ("Ambient Memory And The Myth Of Neutral Observation").

• Here is the index of all participants, more than 150 of them, including Brian EnoJ. Craig VenterGeorge DysonKevin KellyClay ShirkyEvgeny MorozovLinda Stone, andRichard Dawkins (who will be returning soon as a Boing Boing guestblogger, I'm happy to report!).

• News coverage so far includes: The AtlanticWired UKNew York Times,Sueddeutsche Zeitung NewsweekDie WeltThe Guardian Publico.

(Image: RUDBECKIA, Katinka Matson)

[Continue]



THE ATLANTIC
January 18, 2011

Why We're Always Living In 'The New Normal'

Alexis Madrigal

Paul Kedrosky has a wonderful piece for the deep-thinking site Edge.org about shifting baseline syndrome. It explains precisely why thinking that we're living in some anomalous "new normal" is a little silly. We're always living in a new normal, and the cognitive challenge is to remember that things haven't always been this way, nor will they remain this way. 

In 1995 fisheries scientist Daniel Pauly coined a phrase for this troubling ecological obliviousness -- he called it "shifting baseline syndrome". Here is how Pauly first described the syndrome: "Each generation of fisheries scientist accepts as baseline the stock situation that occurred at the beginning of their careers, and uses this to evaluate changes. When the next generation starts its career, the stocks have further declined, but it is the stocks at that time that serve as a new baseline. The result obviously is a gradual shift of the baseline, a gradual accommodation of the creeping disappearance of resource species..." 

It is blindness, stupidity, intergeneration data obliviousness. Most scientific disciplines have long timelines of data, but many ecological disciplines don't. We are forced to rely on second-hand and anecdotal information -- we don't have enough data to know what is normal, so we convince ourselves that this is normal.

[Continue]



WIRED.CO.UK
18 January 11

PERSONAL DATA MINING TO IMPROVE YOUR COGNITIVE TOOLKIT

David Rowan
Editor, Wired.UK Magazine


This year, Brockman asked: "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?" He took as his starting point James Flynn's notion of "shorthand abstractions" -- "concepts drawn from science that have become part of the language and make people smarter by providing widely applicable templates ('market', 'placebo', 'random sample', 'naturalistic fallacy', are a few of his examples)". If we have a shorthand linguistic means of expressing the notion, Flynn suggested, we can use it as an element in thinking and debate. "This is the most challenging question we've put forth to date," Brockman said. Daniel Kahneman, the father of behavioural economics, said: "It is my favourite question ever. You will get great responses and actually move the culture forward."

On Saturday Brockman published this year's submissions, more than 150 answers from the likes of Craig Venter, Brian Eno and Steven Pinker (mostly men, it has to be said, with contributors such as Alison Gopnik and Lisa Randall making up a small female minority). A number of Wired contributors have sent in answers this year, writers such as Jonah Lehrer, David Eagleman and Matt Ridley. Some journalists and editors were also invited to add their thoughts, which is how I submitted a proposal for "personal data mining" as part of the symposium.

So what concepts did the contributors suggest that we need? The answers included:

[...Continue]



THE NEW YORK TIMES
January 17, 2011

WHAT'S MISSING FROM OUR 'COGNITIVE TOOLKIT?
By Andrew C. Revkin

In the meantime, there’s a rich discussion of aspects of this question on Edge.org, a forum for all manner of minds, curated by the agent and intellectual impressario John Brockman. Once or twice a year since 1998, Edge has tossed provocative questions to variegated batches of scientists, writers, artists and innovators.

Some examples: How is the Internet changing the way you think? What have you changed your mind about? Why? What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?

This year’s question, proposed by Steven Pinker and shaped with input from Daniel Kahneman, has been addressed by more than 150 people so far:

What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? (The phrase "scientific concept" has a very broad meaning, explained at the link.)

You can read my Edge contribution, centering on a concept I call anthropophilia, below, with links to relevant context added (the Edge format is straight text).

I’m in the early stages of reading the other contributions. There’s much to chew on and enjoy. Here are a few highlights: ...

[...Continue]



SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG
Montag, 17. Januar 2011

FEUILLETON — FRONT PAGE

DIE ILLUSION DER REINEN INFORMATION
Im Internetmagazin 'Edge' stellen sich Wissenschaftler und Intellektuelle der Frage des Jahres - was verbessert unsere Fähigkeit der Erkenntnis?

THE ILLUSION OF PURE INFORMATION
On The Internet Magazine "Edge", Scientists And Intellectuals Are Presented With The Question Of The Year — What Improves Our Ability To Achieve Enlightenment?

Ralf Bont

... In the Anglo-Saxon culture things are different, and science certainly has continued in its global appeal. Thus, early English modern naturalism, founded by Humphry Davy, had a reputation not only for spectacular discoveries, they also for paying attention to public communication. The goal was the transfer of knowledge into the auditorium. This is clever, because science has, as much as any other movement since the French Revolution, changed the lives of everyone on the planet and it has by no means lost this position of leadership.

On the contrary. Today when more and more people assume that the death penalty does not have a deterrent effect, it's not a new belief in a higher justice. Rather, it is the triumph of that thinking that the tools of rationality — language logic and statistics — are being used to make a statement that contradicts the common assumptions.

It is, however, necessary to acquire language logic, statistics and other skills. Do not give a claim to power with a fath-based knowledge, but also mediate what knowledge is. This is not only an honorable task — it pplaces scientific researchers in the realm of medical doctors who take the Hippocratic oath. Knowledge is vital, and — this is the flip side — knwoledge can be abused: the great anti-human ideologies of the 20th Century were themselves scientific. The science community needs to communicate better. 

It's ever more delectable that the Edge Foundation— the network of prominent scientists and intellectuals founded by literary agent John Brockman in New York — has worked against the reciprocal ignorance of literary cultures and sciences of each other. Successfully. If you take the algorithms developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, which measure the value of links, Edge's website ranks seven on a global scale of ten. The New York Times ranks nine, eBay at eight.

A highlight of the Edge's activities in each January, the answers to the question of the year. In 2010 there were more than 130 short essays on how the Internet is changing the way we think. The question now presented by Edge: What scientific concept woud improve everyone's cognitive tookiit? ...



NEWSWEEK
January 17, 2011

GET SMARTER
A group of thinkers explains how.

By Sharon Begley

“Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own.” That may have been fine advice for the 20th century, but to survive in 2011 and beyond we need to step it up—a lot. We need to, say, embrace the concepts that many mental illnesses are just extremes of personality traits, that humans tend to accept credit for their successes but not blame for their failures, and that “wholes have properties not present in the parts,” as sociologist Nicholas Christakis of Harvard University writes on the online salon Edge (edge.org).

Christakis is one of scores of contributors to an annual exercise in which Edge, run by literary agent and author John Brockman, poses a question to scientists, technology gurus, philosophers, and other thinkers. Last year’s query was about how the Internet is changing the way we think, while 2008’s asked what the scholars had changed their mind about and why. This year’s: “What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?” Technology scholar Douglas Rushkoff nominates the concept that technologies have an “embedded bias” rather than being blank slates from which any outcome can arise. Cars have an embedded bias toward suburban sprawl; guns, an embedded bias toward killing people. By adding this concept to our cognitive toolkit, Rushkoff argues, we will have a better chance of using technologies “consciously and purposefully” and of resisting that bias. The embedded bias of the keyboardless iPad, for example, is toward passive consumption rather than active creation. To resist, get the add-on keyboard. ...

[continue]



WELT AM SONNTAG
16. January 2011

RECHTHABEREI IST AUCH KEINE LÖSUNG [DOGMATISM IS NO SOLUTION]

Alan Posener

Each year, the Scientific Club "The Edge" poses a question. 2011 will be explored that is lacking in people to the knowledge nor

If the theory of the "multiverse" is true, then it is at least one universe in which we do not die. Because the concept assumes that each possible universe has to actually occur - including universes, which have already defeated the doctors in our lifetimes the death. That we die in our universe is indeed annoying, but not the end of the world. This is the response of the psychologist Nicholas Humphrey on this year's "Edge" question: "What scientific concept would improve the cognitive abilities of all people?"...

... In a time when economic studies that scientifically "prove" that certain groups of people are smarter than others (Thilo Sarrazin keeps Muslim immigrants for less intelligent than German, while other studies show that leftists are smarter than right), like Conservatives and multicultural friends feel encouraged by Matt Ridley's statement that the individual intelligence or the intelligence of sub-groups for the welfare of a society are relatively unimportant. The decisive point is the "collective intelligence", says Ridley, which is not simply the sum of the individual intelligence quotient, but a function of networking, of labor and openness of a society.

Adam Smith and Karl Popper already knew this. Too bad that we do not inhabit the parallel universe in which they live.

[Continue German Original | Google Translation]



THE GUARDIAN
Saturday 15 January 2001

WE MUST LEARN TO LOVE UNCERTAINTY AND FAILURE, SAY LEADING THINKERS
Planet's biggest brains answer this year's Edge question: 'What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?'

Alok Jha, science correspondent

Being comfortable with uncertainty, knowing the limits of what science can tell us, and understanding the worth of failure are all valuable tools that would improve people's lives, according to some of the world's leading thinkers.

The ideas were submitted as part of an annual exercise by the web magazine Edge, which invites scientists, philosophers and artists to opine on a major question of the moment. This year it was, "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?"

The magazine called for "shorthand abstractions" – a way of encapsulating an idea or scientific concept into a short description that could be used as a component of bigger questions. The responses were published online today.

Many responses pointed out that the public often misunderstands the scientific process and the nature of scientific doubt. This can fuel public rows over the significance of disagreements between scientists about controversial issues such as climate change and vaccine safety. ...

[continue]



PUBLICO
15 Jan 2011 Edição Lisboa

CONCEITOS ABSTRACTOS PRECISAM-SE E A EDGE FOI À SUA PROCURA [Google Translation]

Qual será o conceito científico que, se toda a gente o dominasse, poderia representar um salto imenso na capacidade que as pessoas têm de perceber e participar activamente nos assuntos do mundo?

Anna Gerschenfeld

This is, in essence, the question that John Brockman, the American literary agent and director of the site edge.org, presented in late December to a constellation of world famous scientists. The results were published online this morning.

The question was formulated more precisely as follows: "What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody's Cognitive Toolkit?"

Since this question is not as direct and explicit as some of its predecessors (the question last year, for example, was "How the Internet is changing the way we think?") Edge is quick to contextualize it.

The point is that, according to James Flynn, an expert on human intelligence from the University of Otago, New Zealand, there are words and short phrases — such as "market", "natural selection", etc.. — Which constitute "conceptual abbreviations" (shorthand abstractions, or SHA) that actually represent a constellation of such abstract concepts as complex and that "although extremely brief, have immense utility to perceive the world."

The idea is that the SHA, according to Flynn, "penetrated the cognitive repertoire of educated people, expanding their intellectual capabilities to become available in the form of cognitive units that can be used as elements of reasoning and debate." In other words, an economist, when he speaks of "market" or a biomedical specialist when he thinks of a "control group" or a statistician when he speaks of "random sample", knows very well that there's no need to lose time to reprocess these concepts each time you use them.

By Friday evening 115 people, scientists from various fields of knowledge, had already responded to the challenge. Some answers are extensive and very complex. Others do not respond exactly the question. But there are, as always, approaches to suit all tastes and most are interesting enough to make it worth going to have a look.

[Continue Portugese Original | Google Translation]


DEDICATION


DENIS DUTTON
1944-2010

Denis Dutton died on December 27 in Christchurch, New Zealand following a rapid decline over the last week. He had a private battle with prostrate cancer for some time. According to his family, up until one week ago he was still fighting hard, working on his usual passions, and looking forward to the holidays with his family.

Denis, a philosopher, was founder and editor of the highly regarded Web publication, Arts & Letters Daily (www.aldaily.com). A native of Los Angeles, he taught the philosophy of art at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, wrote widely on aesthetics. He was editor of the journal Philosophy and Literature, and author of The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution.

Denis was a personal friend, a professional colleague, a frequent contributor to these pages, and a great supporter of the third culture and the Edge community. His Arts & Letters Daily, year in and year out, has been everybody's favorite Website. In February, 2009, he came to New York and we sat to to talk about his ideas on art and reality. The conversation appeared on Edge. See: "Art and Human Reality:" A Talk With Denis Dutton; Introduction By Steven Pinker.

We dedicate this year Edge Question to his memory.

John Brockman


"Like a dream, like a vision, like a bubble, like a shadow, like dew, like lightning was his 8th name."

"At first sight do you perceive the full potential of a circumstance?"


JAMES LEE BYARS
FOUNDER, THE WORLD QUESTION CENTER

"I can repeat the question but am I bright enough to ask it?"


"Deliciously creative...the variety astonishes...intellectual skyrockets of stunning brilliance. Nobody in the world is doing what Edge is doing. It's the greatest virtual research university in the world."Arts & Letters Daily • "Fantastically stimulating...It's like the crack cocaine of the thinking world.... Once you start, you can't stop thinking about that question." BBC Radio 4 • "Big, deep and ambitious questions... breathtaking in scope." New Scientist • "Brilliant ... captivating ... overwhelming." Seed • "Bold, often thrilling, sometimes chilling, answers." News-Observer • "The fascinating breadth of their visions of the future is revealed today by the discussion website edge.org, which has asked some of the world's finest mind the question: 'What will change everything?'" The Times • "A stellar cast of intellectuals ... a stunning array of responses." New Scientist • "Edge: brilliant, essential and addictive. It interprets, it interrogates, it provokes." Publico (Lisbon) Cover Story, Sunday Magazine • "The world's finest minds have responded with some of the most insightful, humbling, fascinating confessions and anecdotes, an intellectual treasure trove. ... Best three or four hours of intense, enlightening reading you can do for the new year. Read it now." San Francisco Chronicle • "The splendidly enlightened Edge website (www.edge.org) has rounded off each year of inter-disciplinary debate by asking its heavy-hitting contributors to answer one question. I strongly recommend a visit." The Independent • "A great event in the Anglo-Saxon culture." El Mundo • "As fascinating and weighty as one would imagine."The Independent • "They are the intellectual elite, the brains the rest of us rely on to make sense of the universe and answer the big questions." The Guardian • "Praised by everyone from the Guardian, Prospect Wired, The New York Times and BBC Radio 4, Edge is an online collective of deep thinkers. Their contributors aren't on the frontier, they are the frontier." The Scotsman • "A selection of the most explosive ideas of our age." Sunday Herald • "Uplifting ...enthralling." The Mail on Sunday • "If you think the web is full of trivial rubbish, you will find the intellectual badinage of edge.org to be a blessed counterpoint." The Times • "...fascinating and provocative reading." The Guardian • "...reads like an intriguing dinner party conversation among great minds in science." Discover • "Danger brilliant minds at work... exhilarating, hilarious, and chilling." Evening Standard • "Wonderful reading." The Times • "Strangely addictive." The Telegraph • "The greatest virtual research university in the world."Arts & Letters Daily • "Audacious and stimulating." La Vanguardia • "Brilliant! Stimulating reading for anyone seeking a glimpse into the next decade." The Sunday Times • "A running fire of a provocative and fascinating thesis." La Stampa


THE EDGE ANNUAL QUESTION BOOK SERIES
Edited by John Brockman

"An intellectual treasure trove"
San Francisco Chronicle

RUDBECKIA
(click to enlarge)
Katinka Matson

164 Contributors
113,500 words

- PAGE 1 (BEGIN READING HERE) -  

HOWARD GARDNER
Psychologist, Harvard University; Author, Truth, Beauty, And Goodness Reframed: Educating For The Virtues In The 21St Century

"How Would You Disprove Your Viewpoint?!"


BRUCE HOOD
Director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol; Author, Supersense

Haecceity


JOHN ALLEN PAULOS
Professor of Mathematics, Temple University, Philadelphia; Author, Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments ofr God Just Don't Add Up

A Probability Distribution


W. DANIEL HILLIS
Physicist, Computer Scientist; Chairman, Applied Minds, Inc.; Author, The Pattern on the Stone

Possibility Spaces: Thinking Beyond Cause and Effect


HAIM HARARI
Physicist, former President, Weizmann Institute of Science; Author, A View from the Eye of the Storm

The Edge of the Circle


CHRISTIAN KEYSERS
Neuroscientist; Scientific Director, Neuroimaging Center, University Medical Center Groningen

The Mirror Fallacy


NICHOLAS HUMPHREY
Psychologist, London School of Economics; Author, Soul Dust

The "Multiverse"


GEORGE LAKOFF
Cognitive Scientist and Linguist; Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics, UC Berkeley; Author, The Political Mind

Conceptual Metaphor


MILFORD H. WOLPOFF
Professor of Anthropology and Adjunct Associate Research Scientist, Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan; Author, Race and Human Evolution

GIGO


GEORGE DYSON
Science Historian; Author, Darwin Among the Machines

Analog Computing


- PAGE 2 -

ROGER SCHANK
Psychologist & Computer Scientist; Engines for Education Inc.; Author, Making Minds Less Well Educated Than Our Own

Experimentation


ROBERT R. PROVINE
Psychologist and Neuroscientist, University of Maryland; Author, Laughter

TANSTAAFL


GERALD HOLTON
Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Professor of the History of Science, Emeritus, at Harvard University; Coeditor, Einstein for the 21st Century: His Legacy in Science, Art, and Modern Culture

Skeptical Empiricism


MARTIN SELIGMAN
Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology; Director of the Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennylvaniai; Author, Flourish

PERMA


STEVEN PINKER
Johnstone Family Professor, Department of Psychology; Harvard University; Author, The Stuff of Thought

Positive-Sum Games


DYLAN EVANS
Lecturer in Behavioral Science, University College Cork; Author, Introducing Evolutionary Psychology: A Graphic Guide 

The Law of Comparative Advantage


JASON ZWEIG
Journalist; Personal Finance Columnist, The Wall Street Journal; Author, Your Money and Your Brain

Structured Serendipity


GINO SEGRE
Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania; Author, Ordinary Geniuses

Gedankenexperiment


SEAN CARROLL
Theoretical Physicist, Caltech; Author, From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time

The Pointless Universe


RUDY RUCKER
Mathematician, Computer Scientist; CyberPunk Pioneer; Novelist; Author, Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul

The World is Unpredictable


- PAGE 3 -

CHARLES SEIFE
Professor of Journalism, New York University; formerly journalist, Science magazine; Author,Proofiness

Randomness


CLIFFORD PICKOVER
Author, The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension; Jews in Hyperspace

Kaleidoscopic Discovery Engine


REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN
Philosopher; Novelist; Author, Betraying Spinoza; 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction

Inference To The Best Explanation


NASSIM N. TALEB
Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering, New York University; Author, The Black Swan; The Bed of Procrustes

Antifragility — or— The Property Of Disorder-Loving Systems


AUBREY DE GREY
Gerontologist; Chief Science Officer. SENS Foundation; Author, Ending Aging

A Sense Of Proportion About Fear Of The Unknown


EMANUEL DERMAN
Professor, Financial Engineering, Columbia University; Principal, Prisma Capital Partners; Former Head, Quantitative Strategies Group, Equities Division, Goldman Sachs & Co.; Author, My Life as a Quant

Pragmamorphism


NICHOLAS CARR
Author, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Cognitive Load


HANS ULRICH OBRIST
Curator, Serpentine Gallery, London; Editor: A Brief History of Curating; Formulas for Now

To Curate


SAMUEL BARONDES
Director of the Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco; Author, Better than Prozac

Each Of Us Is Ordinary, And Yet One Of A Kind


RICHARD NISBETT
Social Psychologist, Co-Director, Culture and Cognition Program, University of Michigan; Author, Intelligence and How to Get It

"Graceful" SHA's


- PAGE 4 -

ROB KURZBAN
Psychologist, UPenn; Director, Penn Laboratory for Experimental Evolutionary Psychology (PLEEP); Author, Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite

Externalities


DAVID G. MYERS
Social psychologist, Hope College; Author, A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists

Self-Serving Bias


JAMES O'DONNELL
Classicist; Provost, Georgetown University; Author, The Ruin of the Roman Empire

Everything Is In Motion


DOUGLAS T. KENRICK
Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University; Author, Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life; Editor, Evolution and Social Psychology

Subselves and the Modular Mind


SAMUEL ARBESMAN
Applied Mathematician; Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School; Research Fellow. Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University

The Copernican Principle


MICHAEL SHERMER
Publisher of Skeptic Magazine; Adjunct Professor, Claremont Graduate University; Author, The Believing Brain

Think Bottom Up, Not Top Down


IRENE PEPPERBERG
Psychologist, Research Associate, Harvard University; Author, Alex and Me

Fixed-Action Patterns: Using The Study Of Animal Instinct As A Metaphor For Human Behavior


TERRENCE SEJNOWSKI
Computational Neuroscientist, Francis Crick Professor, the Salk Institute, Coauthor, The Computational Brain

Powers of 10


JUAN ENRIQUEZ
Managing Director of Excel Venture Management, authored As the Future Catches You and co-authored Homo Evolutis: A Tour of Our New Species.

Life Code


CARLO ROVELLI
Physicist, University of Aix-Marseille, France; Author, The First Scientist: Anaximander and the Nature of Science

The Uselessness of Certainty


- PAGE 5 -

STEPHEN M. KOSSLYN
Director, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University; Author, Image and Mind

Constraint Satisfaction


DANIEL C. DENNETT
Philosopher; University Professor, Co-Director, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University; Breaking the Spell

Cycles


JENNIFER JACQUET
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia

Keystone Consumer


JARON LANIER
Musician, Computer Scientist; Pioneer of Virtural Reality; Author, You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto

Cumulative Error


FRANK WILCZEK
Physicist, MIT; Recipient, 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics; Author, The Lightness of Being

Hidden Layers


LISA RANDALL
Physicist, Harvard University; Author, Warped Passages

"Science"


DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF
Media theorist, Author of Life Inc and Program or Be Programmed

Technologies Have Biases


MARCEL KINSBOURNE
Neurologist & Cognitive Neuroscientist, The New School; Coauthor, Children's Learning and Attention Problems

The Expanding In-Group


JONATHAN HAIDT
Psychologist, University of Virginia; Author, The Happiness Hypothesis

Contingent Superorganism


NEIL GERSHENFELD
Director, MIT Center for Bits and Atoms; Author, FAB

Truth is a Model


- PAGE 6 -

ANDY CLARK
Philosopher and Cognitive Scientist, University of Edinburgh. Author: Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension

Predictive Coding


CLAY SHIRKY
Social & Technology Network Topology Researcher; Adjunct Professor, NYU Graduate School of Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP); Author, Cognitive Surplus

Pareto Principle


KEVIN KELLY
Editor-At-Large, Wired; Author, What Technology Wants

The Virtues of Negative Results


ALISON GOPNIK
Psychologist, UC, Berkeley; Author, The Philosophical Baby

The Rational Unconscious


NICHOLAS A. CHRISTAKIS
Physician and Social Scientist, Harvard University; Coauthor, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives

Holism


WILLIAM CALVIN
Neuroscientist, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington in Seattle. Author, Global Fever: How to Treat Climate Change

Find That Frame


LAWRENCE KRAUSS
Physicist, Foundation Professor & Director, Origins Project, Arizona State University; Author, A Universe from Nothing; Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science

Uncertainty


THOMAS METZINGER
Philosopher, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz and Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies; Author, The Ego Tunnel

Phenomenally Transparent Self-Model


LEE SMOLIN
Physicist, Perimeter Institute; Author, The Trouble With Physics

Thinking In Time Versus Thinking Outside Of Time


RICHARD FOREMAN
Playwright & Director; Founder, The Ontological-Hysteric Theater

Negative Capability Is A Profound Therapy


- PAGE 7 -

DONALD HOFFMAN
Cognitive Scientist, UC, Irvine; Author, Visual Intelligence

Sensory Desktop


DANIEL GOLEMAN
Psychologist; Author, Ecological Intelligence

Anthropocene Thinking


GIULIO BOCCALETTI
Physicist, Atmospheric and Oceanic scientist, and Associate Principal with McKinsey & Company

Scale Analysis


HELEN FISHER
Research Professor, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University; Author, Why We Love


Temperament Dimensions


JOEL GOLD, M.D.
Psychiatrist; Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine

ARISE


MATTHEW RITCHIE
Artist

Systemic Equilibrium


LINDA STONE
Hi-Tech Industry Consultant; Former Executive at Apple Computer and Microsoft Corporation

Suspending Disbelief


DAVID GELERNTER
Computer Scientist, Yale University; Chief Scientist, Mirror Worlds Technologies; Author, Mirror Worlds

Recursive Structure


DON TAPSCOTT
Founder, Moxie Insight;  Adjunct Professor, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto;  Author, Grown Up Digital; Macrowikinomics

Designing Your Mind


ANDRIAN KREYE
Editor, The Feuilleton (Arts and Essays), of the German Daily Newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Munich

Free Jazz


- PAGE 8 -

MATT RIDLEY
Science Writer; Founding chairman of the International Centre for Life; Author, Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code

Collective intelligence


GERD GIGERENZER
Psychologist; Director of the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin; Author, Gut Feelings

Risk Literacy


KEITH DEVLIN
Executive Director, H-STAR Institute, Stanford University; Author, The Unfinished Game: Pascal, Fermat, and the Seventeenth-Century Letter that Made the World Modern

Base rate


MARTI HEARST
Professor of Computer Science, UC Berkeley, School of Information; Author, Search User Interfaces

Findex


SUSAN FISKE
Eugene Higgins Professor, Department of Psychology, Princeton University

An Assertion Is Often An Empirical Question, Settled By Collecting Evidence


GREGORY PAUL
Independent Researcher; Author, Dinosaurs of the Air

Scientists Should Be Scientists


JAMES CROAK
Artist

Bricoleur


GERALD SMALLBERG, MD
Practicing Neurologist, New York City; Playwright, Off-Off Broadway Productions, Charter Members; The Gold Ring

Bias Is The Nose For The Story


THOMAS A. BASS
Professor of English at the University at Albany; Author, The Spy Who Loved Us

Open Systems


MARK HENDERSON
Science Editor, The Times; Author, 50 Genetics Ideas You Really Need to Know

Science's Methods Aren't Just For Science


- PAGE 9 -

PAUL KEDROSKY
Editor, Infectious Greed; Senior Fellow, Kauffman Foundation

Shifting Baseline Syndrome


ROSS ANDERSON
FRS; Professor, Security Engineering, Cambridge Computer Laboratory; Researcher in Security Psychology

Science Versus Theatre


ADAM ALTER
Psychologist; Assistant Professor, Stern School of Business, NYU

The "Cognitive Iceberg:" Humans Are Blind To Many Of The Processes That Shape Their Mental Lives


NICK BOSTROM
Professor; Director, Future of Humanity Institute, Faculty of Philosophy & Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford

Game of Life — And Looking For Generators


ROBERT SAPOLSKY
Neuroscientist, Stanford University; Author, Monkeyluv

The Lure Of A Good Story


CHRISTINE FINN
Archaeologist, Journalist; Author, Artifacts

Absence and Evidence


JON KLEINBERG
Professor, Computer Science, Cornell University

E Pluribus Unum


JOHN MCWHORTER
Linguist; Cultural Commentator; William Simon Fellow, Colmbia; Author, That Being Said

Path Dependence


SCOTT D. SAMPSON
Paleontologist and science communicator; Author: Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life

Interbeing


AMANDA GEFTER
Books & Arts editor, New Scientist; founder and editor, CultureLab

Duality


- PAGE 10 -

ERIC TOPOL
Professor of Translational Genomics, The Scripps Research Institute; Cardiologist, Scripps Clinic

Hunting for Root Cause: The Human "Black Box"


ALUN ANDERSON
Senior Consultant (and former Editor-in-Chief and Publishing Director of New Scientist); Author, After the Ice: Life, Death, and Geopolitics in the New Arctic

Homo Dilatus


SATYAJIT DAS
Expert, Financial Derivatives and Risk; Author, Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives

Parallel Errors


GEOFFREY MILLER
Evolutionary Psychologist, University of New Mexico; Author, The Mating Mind; Spent

Personality traits are continuous with mental illnesses


DAN SPERBER
Professor in philosophy and cognitive science at the Central European University, Budapest

Cultural Attractors


VINOD KHOSLA
Technology Entrepreneur & Venture Capitalist, Khosla Ventures; Formerly General Partner at Kleiner Perkins. Caufield & Byers; Founder, Sun Microsystems

The Black Swan Technology


TOM STANDAGE
Digital Editor, The Economist; Author, The Edible History of the Humanity

You can show something is definitely dangerous, but not definitely safe


GLORIA ORIGGI
Institut Nicod, CNRS, Paris

Kakonomics, or the strange preference for Low-quality outcomes


KAI KRAUSE
Software Pioneer, Interface Designer, Author

Einstein's Blade in Ockham's Razor


GEORGE CHURCH
Professor, Harvard University, Director, Personal Genome Project

Non-Inherent Inheritance


- PAGE 11 -

DAVE WINER
Visiting Scholar in Journalism, NYU; Pioneer Software Developer (Blogging, Podcasting, RSS, Outliners, Web Content Management)

While We Are Social Creatures, It's Often Best Not To Admit It


MARCO IACOBONI
Neuroscientist, UCLA Brain Mapping Center; Author, Mirroring People

Entanglement


JONAH LEHRER
Contributing Editor, Wired; author, How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist

Control Your Spotlight


TIMOTHY TAYLOR
Archaeologist, University of Bradford; Author, The Artificial Ape

Technology Came Before Humanity And, Evolutionarily, Paved The Way For It


JAY ROSEN
Associate Professor of Journalism, New York University; Author, What Are Journalists For?; PressThink.org

Wicked Problems


PAUL SAFFO
Technology Forecaster; Consulting Associate Professor, Stanford University

Time Span of Discretion


TANIA LOMBROZO
Cognitive Psychologist, UC, Berkeley

Defeasibility


ERNST PÖPPEL
Neuroscientist, Chairman, Human Science Center and Department of Medical Psychology, Munich University; Author, Mindworks

A Cognitive Toolkit Full Of Garbage


KATHRYN SCHULZ
Author, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error

The Pessimistic Meta-Induction from the History of Science


MARK PAGEL
Evolutionary Biologist, University of Reading; External Professor, The Santa Fe Institute; Author, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Evolution

Knowledge


- PAGE 12 -

EVGENY MOROZOV
Commentator on Internet and Politics, "Net Effect" blog; Contributing Editor, Foreign Policy; Author, The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom

Einstellung Effect


PAUL BLOOM
Psychologist, Yale University; Author, How Pleasure Works

Reason


EDUARDO SALCEDO-ALBARÁN
Philosopher; Founder, Manager, Metodo

Homo Sensus-Sapiens: The animal that feels and rationalizes


JOHN TOOBY
Founder of field of Evolutionary Psychology; Co-Director, UC Santa Barbara's Center for Evolutionary Psychology

Nexus causality, moral warfare and misattribution arbitrage.


DAVID M. BUSS
Professor of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin; Coauthor: Why Women Have Sex; author, The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating and Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind

Sexual Selection


BART KOSKO
Information Scientist, USC; Author, Noise

Q. E. D. Moments


SUE BLACKMORE
Psychologist; Author, Consciousness: An Introduction

Correlation is not a cause


P.Z. MYERS
Biologist, University of Minnesota; blogger, Pharyngula

The Mediocrity Principle


SAM HARRIS
Neuroscientist; Chairman, Project Reason; Author, The Moral Landscape

We are Lost in Thought


ANTHONY AGUIRRE
Associate Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Cruz

The Paradox


- PAGE 13 -

RICHARD SAUL WURMAN
Architect, Cartographer; Founder, TED Conference; Author, 33: Understanding Change & the Change in Understanding

Objects of Understanding and Communication


MARCELO GLEISER
Physicist; Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy, Dartmouth College; Author, The Prophet and the Astronomer: Apocalyptic Science and the End of the World

We Are Unique


ROGER HIGHFIELD
Editor, New Scientist; Coauthor, After Dolly

The Snuggle For Existence


CARL ZIMMER
Journalist, author of The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution

Life As A Side Effect


LAURENCE C. SMITH
Professor of Geography and Earth & Space Sciences, UCLA, Author: The World in 1050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future

Innovation


TOR NØRRETRANDERS
Science Writer; Consultant; Lecturer, Copenhagen; Author, The Generous Man and The User Illusion

Depth


GREGORY COCHRAN
Consultant, Adaptive Optics; Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, University of Utah; Coauthor, The 10,000 Year Explosion

The Veeck Effect


STEPHON H. ALEXANDER
Associate Professor of Physics, Haverford College

Duality and World Piece


JOSHUA GREENE
Cognitive Neuroscientist and Philosopher, Harvard University

Supervenience!


W. TECUMSEH FITCH
Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna; Author, The Evolution of Language

An Instinct to Learn


- PAGE 14 -

MAX TEGMARK
Physicist, MIT; Researcher, Precision Cosmology; Scientific Director, Foundational Questions Institute

Scientific Concept


JOAN CHIAO
Assistant Professor, Brain, Behavior, and Cognition; Social Psychology; Northwestern University

Diversity is Universal


DAVID EAGLEMAN
Neuroscientist, Baylor College of Medicine; Author, Incognito and Sum

The Umwelt


FIERY CUSHMAN
Post-doctoral fellow, Mind/Brain/Behavior Interfaculty Initiative, Harvard University

Confabulation


HAZEL ROSE MARKUS & ALANA CONNER
Hazel Rose Markus is the Davis-Brack Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Co-author of Doing Race: 21 essays for the 21st century - Alana Conner is a science writer, cultural psychologist, and museum curator, The Tech Museum, San Jose, Calif.

The Culture Cycle


DAVID ROWAN
Editor, WIRED magazine's UK Edition

Personal data mining


VICTORIA STODDEN
Computational Legal Scholar; Assistant Professor of Statistics, Columbia University

Phase Transitions And "Scale Transitions:" Conceptualizing Unexpected Changes Due To Scale


CARL PAGE
Serial Entrepreneur; Co-founder, eGroups, Inc; Investor

The Power of 10


BRIAN KNUTSON
Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience; Stanford University

Replicability


SETH LLOYD
Quantum Mechanical Engineer, MIT; Author, Programming the Universe

Living is fatal


- PAGE 15 -

XENI JARDIN
Tech Culture Journalist; Partner, Contributor, Co-editor, Boing Boing; Executive Producer, host, Boing Boing Video

Ambient Memory And The Myth Of Neutral Observation


DAVID DALRYMPLE
Researcher, MIT Media Lab

Imformation Flow


TIMO HANNAY
Managing Director, Digital Science, Macmillan Publishers Ltd

The Controlled Experiment


GARRETT LISI
Independent Theoretical Physicist

Uncalculated Risk


Kevin Hand
Planetary Scientist

The Gibbs Landscape


BARRY C. SMITH
Director, Institute of Philosophy School of Advanced Study University of London; writer and presenter, BBC World Service series "The Mysteries of the Brain"

The Senses and the Multi-Sensory


DIANE F. HALPERN
Psychologis; Director of the Berger Institute for Work, Family, and Children at Claremont McKenna College

A Statistically Significant Difference in Understanding the Scientific Process


Beatrice Golomb
Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Diego 

The Dece(i)bo Effect


Stuart Firestein
Neuroscientist, Columbia Universtiy

The Name Game


ANDREW REVKIN
Journalist; Environmentalist; Writer, New York Times "Dot Earth" blog; Author, The North Pole was Here

Anthropophilia


- PAGE 16 -

DAVID PIZARRO
Psychologist, Cornell University; Researcher in Moral Judgment

Everyday Apophenia


NERI OXMAN
Architect, Researcher, MIT; Founder, Materialecology

It Ain't Necessarily So


ERIC WEINSTEIN
Mathematician and Economist; Principal, Natron Group

Kayfabe


GARY MARCUS
Cognitive Scientist, NYU; Author, Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind

Cognitive Humility


Dimitar Sasselov
Professor of Astronomy, Director, Harvard Origins of Life Initiative

The Other


NIGEL GOLDENFELD
Professor of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Because


STEFANO BOERI
Architect, teaching at Politecnico of Milan, visiting professor at Harvard GSD, editor in chief of the Abitare monthly/magazine

Proxemic of Urban Sexuality


STEWART BRAND
Founder, Whole Earth Catalog, cofounder; The Well; cofounder, Global Business Network; Author, Whole Earth Discipline

Microbes Run the World


MAHZARIN R. BANAJI
Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

A Solution for Collapsed Thinking: Signal Detection Theory


MARTIN REES
President Emeritus, The Royal Society; Professor of Cosmology & Astrophysics; Master, Trinity College, University of Cambridge; Author, Our Final Century: The 50/50 Threat to Humanity's Survival

"Deep Time" And The Far Future


- PAGE 17 -

J. CRAIG VENTER
Genome Scientist; Sequenced first genome of a living species, the human genome, and created the first synthetic life; Author, A Life Decoded

We Are Not Alone In The Universe


BRIAN ENO
Artist; Composer; Recording Producer: U2, Cold Play, Talking Heads, Paul Simon; Recording Artist; Author, A Year With Swollen Appendices

Ecology


RICHARD THALER
The Father of Behavioral Economics; Director, Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business; Coauthor, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Aether


V.S. RAMACHANDRAN
Neuroscientist; Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego; Author, The Tell-Tale Brain: Unlocking the Mystery of Human Nature

Chunks With "Handles"


RICHARD DAWKINS
Evolutionary Zoologist, University of Oxford. Author, The Blind Watchmaker; The Greatest Show on Earth

The Double-Blind Control Experiment


DANIEL KAHNEMAN
Psychologist, Princeton; Recipient, 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

Focusing Illusion: "Nothing In Life Is As Important As You Think It Is, While You Are Thinking About It"


THE EDGE QUESTION BOOK SERIES
Edited by John Brockman

"An intellectual treasure trove"
San Francisco Chronicle



IS THE INTERNET CHANING THE WAY YOU THINK? (*)
The Net's Impact On Our Minds And Future

Edited By John Brockman
Harper Perennial

"Edge is an organization of deep, visionary thinkers." —Atlantic.com

NOW IN BOOKSTORES AND ONLINE!


[click to enlarge]

Contributors include STEVEN PINKER on how the mind adapts to new technologies • NASSIM N TALEB on the destruction of precise knowledge • RICHARD DAWKINS on the consequences of infinite information • NICHOLAS CARR in the future of deep thought • HELEN FISHER on finding love and romance thought the Net • Wikipedia cofounder LARRY SANGER on the promise and pitfalls of the "hive mind" • SAM HARRIS on the wired brain • BRIAN ENO on finding authenticity in a world of endless reproduction

Other thinkers include tech theorists TIM O'REILLY, CLAY SHIRKY. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF, and EVGENY MOROZOV; founding Wired editor KEVIN KELLY; Google Executive MARISSA MAYER; computer scientists JARON LANIER; Philosopher DANIEL C. DENNETT; physicists FRANK WILCZEK, MARTIN REES, LISA RANDALL, LEE SMOLIN; psychologist MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI; geneticist GEORGE CHURCH; novelists TOM McCARTHY and DOUGLAS COUPLAND; actor ALAN ALDA; artists MARINA ABRAMAMOVIC and AI WEIWIE; X Prize founder PETER H. DIAMANDIS; science historian GEORGE DYSON; and TED Conferences curator CHRIS ANDERSON.

"Edge, the high-minded ideas and tech site. (New York Times Week In Review)

"The answers are remarkable." (Sueddeutsche Zeitung)

"Edge is an organization of deep, visionary thinkers on science and culture." (The Atlantic Wire)

"The German Internet debate is stuck in the nineties. Brockman's question this year sets the chord for questions that take us beyond this set of attitudes. (Frank Schirrmacher, Feuilleton Editor & Co-Publisher, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

"If you have more time and think your attention span is up to it, we recommend you enjoy the whole scope of their length and diversity by visiting edge.org." (Ana Gershenfeld, Publico [Lisbon] Weekend Magazine Cover Story)

(* based On The Edge Question 2010: "How Is The Internet Changing The Way You Think?")



THIS WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING: IDEAS THAT WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE (*)
Edited by John Brockman
Harper Perennial


[click to enlarge]

Contributors include: RICHARD DAWKINS on cross-species breeding; IAN McEWAN on the remote frontiers of solar energy; FREEMAN DYSON on radiotelepathy; STEVEN PINKER on the perils and potential of direct-to-consumer genomics; SAM HARRIS on mind-reading technology; NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB on the end of precise knowledge; CHRIS ANDERSON on how the Internet will revolutionize education; IRENE PEPPERBERG on unlocking the secrets of the brain; LISA RANDALL on the power of instantaneous information; BRIAN ENO on the battle between hope and fear; J. CRAIG VENTER on rewriting DNA; FRANK WILCZEK on mastering matter through quantum physics.

"a provocative, demanding clutch of essays covering everything from gene splicing to global warming to intelligence, both artificial and human, to immortality... the way Brockman interlaces essays about research on the frontiers of science with ones on artistic vision, education, psychology and economics is sure to buzz any brain." (Chicago Sun-Times)

"11 books you must read — Curl up with these reads on days when you just don't want to do anything else: 5. John Brockman's This Will Change Everything: Ideas That Will Shape the Future" (Forbes India)

"Full of ideas wild (neurocosmetics, "resizing ourselves," "intuit[ing] in six dimensions") and more close-to-home ("Basketball and Science Camps," solar technology"), this volume offers dozens of ingenious ways to think about progress" (Publishers Weekly — Starred Review)

"A stellar cast of intellectuals ... a stunning array of responses...Perfect for: anyone who wants to know what the big thinkers will be chewing on in 2010. " (New Scientist)

"Pouring over these pages is like attending a dinner party where every guest is brilliant and captivating and only wants to speak with you—overwhelming, but an experience to savor." (Seed)

(* based On The Edge Annual Question — 2009: "What Will Change Everything?)



WHAT HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT
Edited by John Brockman
With An Introduction By BRIAN ENO


[2008]

Contributors include: STEVEN PINKER on the future of human evolution • RICHARD DAWKINS on the mysteries of courtship SAM HARRIS on why Mother Nature is not our friend NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB on the irrelevance of probability ALUN ANDERSON on the reality of global warming ALAN ALDA considers, reconsiders, and re-reconsiders God LISA RANDALL on the secrets of the Sun RAY KURZWEIL on the possibility of extraterrestrial life BRIAN ENO on what it means to be a "revolutionary" HELEN FISHER on love, fidelity, and the viability of marriage…and many others.

"The splendidly enlightened Edge Website (www.edge.org) has rounded off each year of inter-disciplinary debate by asking its heavy-hitting contributors to answer one question. I strongly recommend a visit." The Independent

"A great event in the Anglo-Saxon culture." El Mundo

"As fascinating and weighty as one would imagine." The Independent

"They are the intellectual elite, the brains the rest of us rely on to make sense of the universe and answer the big questions. But in a refreshing show of new year humility, the world's best thinkers have admitted that from time to time even they are forced to change their minds." The Guardian

"Even the world's best brains have to admit to being wrong sometimes: here, leading scientists respond to a new year challenge." The Times

"Provocative ideas put forward today by leading figures."The Telegraph

"The world's finest minds have responded with some of the most insightful, humbling, fascinating confessions and anecdotes, an intellectual treasure trove. ... Best three or four hours of intense, enlightening reading you can do for the new year. Read it now." San Francisco Chronicle

"As in the past, these world-class thinkers have responded to impossibly open-ended questions with erudition, imagination and clarity." The News & Observer

"A jolt of fresh thinking...The answers address a fabulous array of issues. This is the intellectual equivalent of a New Year's dip in the lake — bracing, possibly shriek-inducing, and bound to wake you up." The Globe and Mail

"Answers ring like scientific odes to uncertainty, humility and doubt; passionate pleas for critical thought in a world threatened by blind convictions." The Toronto Star

"For an exceptionally high quotient of interesting ideas to words, this is hard to beat. ...What a feast of egg-head opinionating!" National Review Online



WHAT ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC ABOUT?
Today's Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are Good and Getting Better
Edited by John Brockman
Introduction by DANIEL C. DENNETT



[2007]

"The optimistic visions seem not just wonderful but plausible." Wall Street Journal

"Persuasively upbeat." O, The Oprah Magazine

"Our greatest minds provide nutshell insights on how science will help forge a better world ahead." Seed

"Uplifting...an enthralling book."The Mail on Sunday



WHAT IS YOUR DANGEROUS IDEA?
Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable
Edited by John Brockman
Introduction by STEVEN PINKER
Afterword by RICHARD DAWKINS


[2006]

"Danger — brilliant minds at work...A brilliant bok: exhilarating, hilarious, and chilling." The Evening Standard (London)

"A selection of the most explosive ideas of our age." Sunday Herald

"Provocative" The Independent

"Challenging notions put forward by some of the world's sharpest minds" Sunday Times

"A titillating compilation" The Guardian

"Reads like an intriguing dinner party conversation among great minds in science" Discover



WHAT WE BELIEVE BUT CANNOT PROVE?
Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty
Edited by John Brockman
Introduction by IAN MCEWAN


[2006]

"Whether or not we believe proof or prove belief, understanding belief itself becomes essential in a time when so many people in the world are ardent believers." LA Times

"Belief appears to motivate even the most rigorously scientific minds. It stimulates and challenges, it tricks us into holding things to be true against our better judgment, and, like scepticism -its opposite -it serves a function in science that is playful as well as thought-provoking. not we believe proof or prove belief, understanding belief itself becomes essential in a time when so many people in the world are ardent believers." The Times

"John Brockman is the PT Barnum of popular science. He has always been a great huckster of ideas." The Observer

"An unprecedented roster of brilliant minds, the sum of which is nothing short of an oracle — a book ro be dog-eared and debated." Seed

"Scientific pipedreams at their very best." The Guardian

"Makes for some astounding reading." Boston Globe

"Fantastically stimulating...It's like the crack cocaine of the thinking world.... Once you start, you can't stop thinking about that question." BBC Radio 4

"Intellectual and creative magnificence" The Skeptical Inquirer



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