What’s Next: Dispatches on the Future of Science

“Original Essay From a New Generation of Scientists”
edited by Max Brockman

*3 “Will We Decamp for the Northern Rim?” by Laurence C. Smith
–how global warming will affect where we settle with consideration to infrastructure already in place in Canada, Scandinavia, and Russia

*17 “Mirror Neurons: Are We Ethical by Nature?” by Christian Keysers
–how one person’s premotor cortex, for ex., will mirror that of someone they’re watching perform a task and how that might be an argument for “intuitive altruism”

*26 “How to Enhance Human Beings” by Nick Bostrom
–a look at possible enhancements with a look to why evolution may not have already enhanced us in these ways (“changed trade-offs,” “value discordance,” and/or “evolutionary restrictions”)

41 “Our Place in an Unnatural Universe” by Sean Carroll
–entropy, physics

53 “Just What Is Dark Energy?” by Stephon H. S. Alexander
–dark matter/cosmological constant

70 “Development of the Social Brain in Adolescence” by Sarah-Jayne Blackmore
–social brain / mentalizing, brain doesn’t stop changing in early childhood

*78 “Watching Minds Interact” by Jason P. Mitchell
–social brain

90 “What Makes Big Ideas Sticky” by Matthew D. Lieberman
–Descartes vs. Becher, Eastern vs. Western culture, are our brains predisposed to believe or need to believe certain things?

*105 “Fruit Flies of the Moral Mind” by Joshua D. Greene
–moral dilemmas, are our “moral” decisions based on evolutionary instincts? and how do these interact in a newly technological world that evolution hasn’t yet caught up with?

*117 “How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think?” by Lera Boroditsky
–how the structure of language might impact culture, the Kuuk Thaayorre in Australia always use cardinal directions to indicate direction (instead of “left” “right” “behind”) (doesn’t seem to adequately explain that it’s language that causes the difference in thought and not thought that causes the difference in language or some other cause)

*131 “Memory Enhancement, Memory Erasure: The Future of Our Past” by Sam Cooke
–nootropics, erasing memories, creating memories

145 “The Vital Importance of Imagination” by Deena Skolnick Weisberg
–differences in imagination between children and adults, imagination as a tool for learning

*156 “Brain Time” by David M. Eagleman
–how our brain handles the fact that sensory input happening at the same time takes different amounts of time to reach our brain

171 “Out of Our Minds: How Did Homo sapiens Come Down from the Trees, and Why Did No One Follow?” by Vanessa Woods and Brian Hare
–dogs, silver foxes, chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans: communication and cooperation

186 “The Aliens Among Us” by Nathan Wolfe
–viruses: the good and the bad

*198 “How Did the Social Insects Become Social?” by Seirian Sumner
–socially polymorphic bees and wasps that can choose to be social or not: are these the evolutionary link between non-social and wholly social? what are the evolutionary benefits of having only one queen?

212 “Extinction and the Evolution of Humankind” by Katerina Havarti
–the extinction of other branches of humankind

225 “Why Hasn’t Specialization Led to the Balkanization of Science?” by Gavin Schmidt
–is interdisciplinary study better than specialization?

*my favorites, but they’re all very interesting

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One Response to What’s Next: Dispatches on the Future of Science

  1. Tarra says:

    can you add a like button? 🙂

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