Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013 Edge Question: What *Should* We Be Worried About?

It's that time of year again, when John Brockman, founder of Edge, asks leading thinkers in a variety of fields to answer a burning question. Previous questions have included the following:
This years question, posed to 152 contributors (but only 151 responses), is What *Should* We Be Worried About?

Gary Marcus, writing for The New Yorker, asked himself the question.

January 15, 2013


Gary Marcus

...This year, Brockman’s panelists (myself included) agreed to take on the subject of what we should fear. There’s the fiscal cliff, the continued European economic crisis, the perpetual tensions in the Middle East. But what about the things that may happen in twenty, fifty, or a hundred years? The premise, as the science historian George Dyson put it, is that “people tend to worry too much about things that it doesn’t do any good to worry about, and not to worry enough about things we should be worrying about.” A hundred fifty contributors wrote essays for the project. The result is a recently published collection, “What *Should* We Be Worried About?” available without charge at John Brockman’s ... [MORE]
Marcus is one of the many contributors to this year's question. However, the best response that I have read so far, and I am only skimming them this morning before working out, is from Monty Python alum and brilliant filmmaker, Terry Gilliam:

I've Given Up Asking Questions

Terry Gilliam - Screenwriter, Film director, Animator, Actor; Member, Monty Python Comedy Troupe; Director, Brazil; Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas 
I've given up asking questions. l merely float on a tsunami of acceptance of anything life throws at me... and marvel stupidly.
Nice - I'm guessing this is the one non-response. Enjoy the other answers.


Contributors [ 152 ] | View All Responses [ 151 ]

—John Naughton, The Observer


We worry because we are built to anticipate the future. Nothing can stop us from worrying, but science can teach us how to worry better, and when to stop worrying.


Tell us something that worries you (for scientific reasons), but doesn't seem to be on the popular radar yet—and why it should be. Or tell us something that you have stopped worrying about, even if others do, and why it should be taken off the radar.



Geoffrey Miller, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, William McEwan, Helena Cronin, Dan Sperber, Martin Rees, Barbara Strauch, John Tooby, David Gelernter, Brian Eno, Seth Lloyd, W. Daniel Hillis, David M. Buss, David Bodanis, Benjamin Bergen, David Rowan, Nicholas G. Carr, Kevin Kelly, Lisa Randall, Evgeny Morozov, J. Craig Venter, Andrian Kreye, Terry Gilliam, Jennifer Jacquet, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Robert Sapolsky, Kate Jeffery, Lawrence Krauss, Tim O'Reilly, Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán, Bart Kosko, Timo Hannay, Helen Fisher, Michael Norton, Jessica Tracy, Haim Harari, Bruce Sterling, Vernor Vinge, Frank Wilczek, Sam Harris, Lee Smolin, P. Murali Doraiswamy, Marco Iacoboni, Andrew Lih, Richard Foreman, Arianna Huffington, Xeni Jardin, Christine Finn, Scott Sampson, Gino Segre, Joseph LeDoux, John Naughton, Steven Strogatz, Bruce Schneier, Kai Krause,Mario Livio, Rolf Dobelli, Randolph Nesse, Gregory Benford, Ursula Martin, David Berreby, Bruce Parker, Paul Saffo, Bruce Hood, Giulio Boccaletti, Stewart A. Kaufman, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, William Poundstone, Victoria Stodden, Marcel Kinsbourne, Douglas T. Kenrick, Gavin Schmidt, Sherry Turkle, Stuart Firestein, Ed Regis, Daniel Haun, Joel Gold, Alison Gopnik, Seirian Sumner, Keith Devlin, Susan Blackmore, Larry Sanger, Gary Klein, Dave Winer, Rob Kurzban, Melanie Swan, Timothy Taylor, Amanda Gefter, Anton Zeilinger, Donald D. Hoffman, Leo M. Chalupa, Noga Arikha, Brian Knutson, Kirsten Bomblies, Tor Nørretranders, Jonathan Gottschall, Esther Dyson, Anthony Garrett Lisi, Simon Baron-Cohen, Daniel L. Everett, Nicholas A. Christakis, Stephon Alexander, Margaret Levi, Stephen Kosslyn & Robin Rosenberg, David Dalrymple, Andy Clark, Seth Shostak, Azra Raza, M.D., David Pizarro, Tania Lombrozo, Adam Alter, Thomas Metzinger, Matt Ridley, Paul Kedrosky, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, Virginia Heffernan, Luca De Biase, Terrence J. Sejnowski, Steve Giddings, Karl Sabbagh, Dylan Evans, Laurence C. Smith, Neil Gershenfeld, Eric J. Topol, Stanislas Dehaene, Satyajit Das, Carlo Rovelli, James J. O'Donnell, Robert Provine, Rodney A. Brooks, George Dyson, Max Tegmark, Gary Marcus, Daniel Goleman, Michael Shermer, Douglas Rushkoff, Roger Highfield, David Christian, Juan Enriquez, Charles Seife, Aubrey De Grey, Nicholas Humphrey, Peter Woit, Scott Atran, Colin Tudge, Clifford Pickover, Mary Catherine Bateson, Steven Pinker, Roger Schank, Howard Gardner, Daniel C. Dennett


Thanks to George Dyson for suggesting this year's Edge Question and to Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, Steven Pinker , and Nicholas Humphrey for their continued support.


The 2013 Edge Question: Online Buzz

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