This year’s Edge question is up, and it has the usual breadth of analysis we have come to expect over the years. For the uninitiated, Edge.org is one of the best not-so-secret secrets of the internet. Founded in 01996 by John Brockman, Edge asks a “big picture” question every year to scholars who think about systemic issues in creative ways. The answers have always been enlightening, and it has always been worth a few hours of time to read through them each year. This year, as in past years, the Long Now Board is well represented, as well as the scholars who’ve spoken in our lecture series.
The question this year is “What *should* we be worried about?”. Below you will find the responses of Long Now affiliates, although we also recommend reading through the rest of the responses.
Long Now Board:
- Daniel Hillis wonders about the filtering effects of semantic search.
- Brian Eno calls us to reflect on our persistent aversion to politics.
- Kevin Kelly discusses the long term effects of aging populations.
- Paul Saffo worries about the partisan ideology surrounding technological advances.
- Esther Dyson asks us to consider the ethical and political questions surrounding greater predictive power in health and medicine.
- Nassim Taleb would prefer those with massive wealth and power have more “skin in the game.”
- Martin Rees hopes we can avoid weaponizing (purposely or not) bio- and nano-tech.
- Craig Venter wants the public to understand vaccines only work if we all get them.
- Tim O’Reilly reminds us to be vigilant of anti-intellectualism in times of economic stress.
- Bruce Sterling thinks whatever we worry about, it shouldn’t be the Singularity.
- Vernor Vinge doesn’t want us to think we’ve escaped Mutually Assured Destruction.
- Sam Harris hopes those designing our institutions will carefully take into account the incentives they create.
- Daniel Everett worries about the future of academic scholarship with the rise of online courses.
- Matt Ridley warns against superstition both against and within science.
- George Dyson thinks we need a low-tech redundant backup internet in case of emergencies.
- Juan Enriquez wonders how we are going to navigate our increasingly large digital fingerprints.
- Steven Pinker talks about the threats to peace that get often get overlooked.
- Mary Catherine Bateson wants us to properly frame our worries so that we can act on them accordingly.