Brilliant but overlooked ideas you must know, as revealed by today’s most innovative minds 

What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of the acclaimed science salon Edge.org (“The world’s smartest website”—The Guardian), presented to 205 of the world’s most influential thinkers from across the intellectual spectrum—award-winning physicists, economists, psychologists, philosophers, novelists, artists, and more. From the origins of the universe to the order of everyday life, This Idea Is Brilliant takes readers on a tour of the bold, exciting, and underappreciated scientific concepts that will enrich every mind. 

Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel JARED DIAMOND on the lost brilliance of common sense * Oxford evolutionary biologist RICHARD DAWKINS on how The Genetic Book of the Dead could reconstruct ecological history * philosopher REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN on how to extend our grasp of reality beyond what we can see and touch * author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics CARLO ROVELLI on the interconnected fabric of information * Booker Prize–winning novelist IAN McEWAN on the Navier-Stokes equations, which govern everything from weather prediction to aircraft design and blood flow * cosmologist LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS on the hidden blessings of uncertainty * psychologist STEVEN PINKER on the fight against entropy * Nobel Prize–winning economist RICHARD THALER on the visionary power of the “premortem” * Grammy Award–winning musician BRIAN ENO on confirmation bias in the Internet age * advertising guru RORY SUTHERLAND on the world-changing power of sex appeal * Harvard physicist LISA RANDALL on the power of the obvious * Wired founding editor KEVIN KELLY on how to optimize your chances at success * Nobel Prize winner FRANK WILCZEK on the creative potential of complementarity * Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times reporter JOHN MARKOFF on the synthetic metamaterials that soon will transform industry and technology * euroscientist SAM HARRIS on the lost art of intellectual honesty *Berkeley psychologist ALISON GOPNIK on the role of life history in the human story, and many others.

Today's most visionary thinkers reveal the cutting-edge scientific ideas and breakthroughs you must understand.

Scientific developments radically change and enlighten our understanding of the world -- whether it's advances in technology and medical research or the latest revelations of neuroscience, psychology, physics, economics, anthropology, climatology, or genetics. And yet amid the flood of information today, it's often difficult to recognize the truly revolutionary ideas that will have lasting impact. In the spirit of identifying the most significant new theories and discoveries, John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("The world's smartest website" -- The Guardian), asked 198 of the finest minds What do you consider the most interesting recent scientific news? What makes it important?

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond on the best way to understand complex problems * author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics Carlo Rovelli on the mystery of black holes * Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker on the quantification of human progress * TED Talks curator Chris J. Anderson on the growth of the global brain * Harvard cosmologist Lisa Randall on the true measure of breakthrough discoveries * Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek on why the twenty-first century will be shaped by our mastery of the laws of matter * philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein on the underestimation of female genius * music legend Peter Gabriel on tearing down the barriers between imagination and reality * Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson on the surprising ability of small (and cheap) upstarts to compete with billion-dollar projects. Plus Nobel laureate John C. Mather, Sun Microsystems cofounder Bill Joy, Wired founding editor Kevin Kelly, psychologist Alison Gopnik, Genome author Matt Ridley, Harvard geneticist George Church, Why Does the World Exist? author Jim Holt, anthropologist Helen Fisher, and more.

Drawing from the horizons of science, today's leading thinkers reveal the hidden threats nobody is talking about—and expose the false fears everyone else is distracted by.

What should we be worried about? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("The world's smartest website"—The Guardian), posed to the planet's most influential minds. He asked them to disclose something that, for scientific reasons, worries them—particularly scenarios that aren't on the popular radar yet. Encompassing neuroscience, economics, philosophy, physics, psychology, biology, and more—here are 150 ideas that will revolutionize your understanding of the world.

Steven Pinker uncovers the real risk factors for war ● Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi peers into the coming virtual abyss ● Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek laments our squandered opportunities to prevent global catastrophe ● Seth Lloyd calculates the threat of a financial black hole ● Alison Gopnik on the loss of childhood ● Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains why firefighters understand risk far better than economic "experts" ● Matt Ridley on the alarming re-emergence of superstition ● Daniel C. Dennett and george dyson ponder the impact of a major breakdown of the Internet ● Jennifer Jacquet fears human-induced damage to the planet due to "the Anthropocebo Effect" ● Douglas Rushkoff fears humanity is losing its soul ● Nicholas Carr on the "patience deficit" ● Tim O'Reilly foresees a coming new Dark Age ● Scott Atran on the homogenization of human experience ● Sherry Turkle explores what's lost when kids are constantly connected ● Kevin Kelly outlines the looming "underpopulation bomb" ● Helen Fisher on the fate of men ● Lawrence Krauss dreads what we don't know about the universe ● Susan Blackmore on the loss of manual skills ● Kate Jeffery on the death of death ● plus J. Craig Venter, Daniel Goleman, Virginia Heffernan, Sam Harris, Brian Eno, Martin Rees, and more

Discover the universe's last unknowns—here are the unanswered questions that obsess "the world's finest minds" (The Guardian)

Featuring a foreword by DANIEL KAHNEMAN, Nobel Prize-winning author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

This is a little book of profound questions (only questions!)—unknowns that address the secrets of our world, our civilization, the meaning of life. Here are the deepest riddles that have fascinated, obsessed, and haunted the greatest thinkers of our time, including Nobel laureates, cosmologists, philosophers, economists, prize-winning novelists, religious scholars, and more than 250 leading scientists, artists, and theorists. In The Last Unknowns, John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, asks "a mind-blowing gathering of innovative thinkers" (Booklist): "What is ‘The Last Question,’ your last question, the question for which you will be remembered?"

Featuring the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel JARED DIAMOND • Nobel Prize-winning University of Chicago economist RICHARD THALER • Harvard psychologist STEVEN PINKER • religion scholar ELAINE PAGELS • author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics CARLO ROVELLI • Booker Prize–winning novelist IAN McEWAN • neuroscientist SAM HARRIS • philosopher DANIEL C. DENNETT • MIT theorist SHERRY TURKLE • decoder of the human genome J. CRAIG VENTER • The Coddling of the American Mind author JONATHAN HAIDT • Nobel Prize-winning physicist FRANK WILCZEK • UC Berkeley psychologist ALISON GOPNICK • philosopher REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN • New York Times columnist CARL ZIMMER • MIT cosmologist MAX TEGMARK • Whole Earth founder STEWART BRAND • "Marginal Revolution" economist TYLER COWEN • Anatomy of Love author HELEN FISHER • Noble Prize-winning NASA physicist JOHN C. MATHER • psychologist JUDITH RICH HARRIS • Princeton physicist FREEMAN DYSON • musician BRIAN ENO • environmental scientist JENNIFER JACQUET • Duke economist DAN ARIELY • Oxford philosopher A. C. GRAYLING • Harvard cosmologist LISA RANDALL • anthropologist MARY CATHERINE BATESON • Emotional Intelligence author DANIEL GOLEMAN • Harvard genticist GEORGE CHURCH • Blueprint author NICHOLAS A. CHRISTAKIS • Stanford political scientist MARGARET LEVI • economist ALAN S. BLINDER • publisher TIM O'REILLY • theoretical cosmologist JANNA LEVIN • Serpentine Gallery owner HANS ULRICH OBRIST • Wired founding editor KEVIN KELLY • Cambridge astrophysicist MARTIN REES, and more than 200 others.


 

The latest volume in the bestselling series from Edge.org—dubbed “the world’s smartest website” by The Guardian—brings together 206 of the world’s most innovative thinkers to discuss the scientific concepts that everyone should know.

As science informs public policy, decision making, and so many aspects of our everyday lives, a scientifically literate society is crucial. In that spirit, Edge.org publisher and author of Know This, John Brockman, asks 206 of the world’s most brilliant minds the 2017 Edge Question: What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?

Contributors include: author of The God Delusion RICHARD DAWKINS on using animals’ “Genetic Book of the Dead” to reconstruct ecological history; MacArthur Fellow REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN on “scientific realism,” the idea that scientific theories explain phenomena beyond what we can see and touch; author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics CARLO ROVELLI on “relative information,” which governs the physical world around us; theoretical physicist LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS on the hidden blessings of “uncertainty”; cognitive scientist and author of The Language Instinct STEVEN PINKER on “The Second Law of Thermodynamics”; biogerontologist AUBREY DE GREY on why “maladaptive traits” have been conserved evolutionarily; musician BRIAN ENO on “confirmation bias” in the internet age; Man Booker-winning author of Atonement IAN MCEWAN on the “Navier-Stokes Equations,” which govern everything from weather prediction to aircraft design and blood flow; plus pieces from RICHARD THALER, JARED DIAMOND, NICHOLAS CARR, JANNA LEVIN, LISA RANDALL, KEVIN KELLY, DANIEL COLEMAN, FRANK WILCZEK, RORY SUTHERLAND, NINA JABLONSKI, MARTIN REES, ALISON GOPNIK, and many, many others.

Science world luminary John Brockman assembles twenty-five of the most important scientific minds, people who have been thinking about the field artificial intelligence for most of their careers, for an unparalleled round-table examination about mind, thinking, intelligence and what it means to be human.

"Artificial intelligence is today's story--the story behind all other stories. It is the Second Coming and the Apocalypse at the same time: Good AI versus evil AI." --John Brockman

More than sixty years ago, mathematician-philosopher Norbert Wiener published a book on the place of machines in society that ended with a warning: "we shall never receive the right answers to our questions unless we ask the right questions.... The hour is very late, and the choice of good and evil knocks at our door." 

In the wake of advances in unsupervised, self-improving machine learning, a small but influential community of thinkers is considering Wiener's words again. In Possible Minds, John Brockman gathers their disparate visions of where AI might be taking us.

The fruit of the long history of Brockman's profound engagement with the most important scientific minds who have been thinking about AI--from Alison Gopnik and David Deutsch to Frank Wilczek and Stephen Wolfram--Possible Minds is an ideal introduction to the landscape of crucial issues AI presents. The collision between opposing perspectives is salutary and exhilarating; some of these figures, such as computer scientist Stuart Russell, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, and physicist Max Tegmark, are deeply concerned with the threat of AI, including the existential one, while others, notably robotics entrepreneur Rodney Brooks, philosopher Daniel Dennett, and bestselling author Steven Pinker, have a very different view. Serious, searching and authoritative, Possible Minds lays out the intellectual landscape of one of the most important topics of our time.


Read by Jason Culp, Rob Shapiro, Vikas Adam, Will Damron, and Kathleen McInerney

The latest volume in the bestselling series from Edge.org—dubbed “the world’s smartest website” by The Guardian—brings together 175 of the world’s most innovative and brilliant thinkers to discuss recent scientific breakthroughs that will shape the future.

Scientific developments radically alter our understanding of the world. Whether it’s technology, climate change, health research, or the latest revelations of neuroscience, physics, or psychology, science has, as Edge editor John Brockman says, “become a big story, if not the big story.” In that spirit, this new addition to Edge.org’s fascinating series asks a powerful and provocative question: What do you consider the most interesting and important recent scientific news?

Contributors include: Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel JARED DIAMOND on the best way to understand complex problems; author of Seven Brief Lesson on Physics CARLO ROVELLI on the mystery of black holes; Harvard psychologist STEVEN PINKER on the quantification of human progress; TED conferences curator CHRIS J. ANDERSON on the growth of the global brain; Harvard physicist LISA RANDALL on the true measure of breakthrough discoveries; Nobel Prize-winning physicist FRANK WILCZEK on why the 21st century will be shaped by our mastery of the laws of matter; music legend PETER GABRIEL on tearing down the barriers between imagination and reality; Princeton physicist FREEMAN DYSON on the surprising ability of small (and cheap) upstarts to compete with billion-dollar projects. Plus: Nobel laureate JOHN C. MATHER, Sun Microsystems co-founder BILL JOY, Skeptic magazine publisher MICHAEL SHERMER, Genome author MATT RIDLEY, Harvard geneticist GEORGE CHURCH, and many more.

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