1639. Brockman and tea leaves

John has published the results of this year’s major question: what was the most interesting from the last year?

The answers from 194 are published


Reminds me of the ferry and the whale: eveyone rushes to one sise and the ferry rolls. In this case it is brain, computing, genome, big data, that are our whale. But the serious questions of who are we as a spcies, and how do we know are not asked  except in so far as the computational world is waiting for funding to find the answer.

The group seems, seems,  unaware that corporations are rushing to tie it all together, from Fitbit to Neanderthal DNA to “measures of the success of public policy”.

The fact that with old knowledge big empires were managed, and civilization emerged, and culture was real are ignored. The other side of the ferry is where the really interesting stuff is to be found, in Shakespeare, Augustine, Plato, Bach, up to our current nivelists who are exploring third world and post colonial existence in ways that must be called emperical – and are ignored.

Out of the 194 reponses there are some that are looking on the other side of the ferry.

max Tegmark


Although the social sciences can help, plenty of technical work is needed as well in order to win the race. Biologists are now studying how to best deploy (or not) tools such as CRISPR genome editing. 2015 will be remembered as the year when the beneficial AI movement went mainstream, engendering productive symposia and discussions at all the largest AI-conferences. Supported by many millions of dollars in philanthropic funding, large numbers of AI-researchers around the world have now started researching the fascinating technical challenges involved in keeping future AI-systems beneficial. In other words, the laggard in the all-important wisdom race gained significant momentum in 2015! Let’s do all we can to make future top news stories be about wisdom winning the race, because then we all win.

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