Designer and technologist Tom Armitage argues that learning to write computer code means learning to think in a modern way, and that it should spur creativity: the possibility of doing entirely new things.
Tagged with “thought” (10)
James Bridle asks how computer networks will affect cultural memories.
Alice Bell argues that better engagement by scientists, rather than lessons in ‘scientific literacy’, is the solution to the lack of public understanding of science. She is frustrated how often this apparent panacea is rolled out as the solution to the problem. But on some controversial subjects the scientific evidence does not point in a single direction, she says. More than that, the specific bit of science needed to understand the subject at hand varies from issue to issue.
Four Thought talks include stories and ideas which will affect our future, in politics, society, the economy, business, science, technology or the arts. Recorded live, the talks are given by a range of people with a new thought to share.
After the internet and social media, what will be the next technological revolution? Writer, blogger and social entrepreneur Russell M. Davies argues that like the early days of blogging, we are about to witness another flowering of individual creativity. This time, he says, it will unleash "all sorts of interesting gadgety things", and determine our relationships with them. "It’s about making your own stuff, which might be a bit silly and a bit trivial and pointless, but you get the satisfaction of making it yourself," he says. This revolution in individual gadgetry - and designing our relationship with them - will prove "exciting, radical, life-affirming stuff". Four Thought is a series of talks which combine thought provoking ideas and engaging storytelling. Recorded in front of an audience at the RSA in London, speakers take to the stage to air their latest thinking on the trends, ideas, interests and passions that affect our culture and society.
Many animals, from fish to bees and ants, cannot survive alone. They need to live in groups, and these groups have a kind of collective intelligence. You might say the internet has developed its own "hive mind." In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge we’ll tell you how the modern science of complexity is unlocking the secrets of the hive mind. We’ll also hear from E.O. Wilson about the marvelous world of ants.
SEGMENT 1: Thomas Seeley is a professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University. He talks about the social organization of a bee colony with Steve Paulson. And intrepid TTBOOK intern John Pederson visits local bee keeper Mary Seeley as she’s setting up some new hives.
SEGMENT 2: Len Fisher is the author of "The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life." He talks with Anne Strainchamps about "swarm intelligence" and how it differs from "group think." Also, E.O. Wilson may know more about ants than anyone else on the planet. He and his colleague, Bert Holldobler, are the authors of "The Superorganism." It’s a book about the organization and communication among the millions of members of the colonies of certain species of ants. Wilson tells Steve Paulson they do it all with chemical signals secreted by their bodies.
SEGMENT 3: Jaron Lanier is a Silicon Valley visionary and a virtuoso musician and composer. His new book is "You Are Not A Gadget." The man who popularized "virtual reality" in the 80s tells Anne Strainchamps why he thinks Web 2.0 technology is erasing our sense of our own identity.
The advent of new technologies like text messaging and online social networking makes it easier to connect with friends far and wide, but at what cost? We talk with literary critic William Deresiewicz about the repercussions of hyper-connectivity and a generation that, he argues, seems unable to tolerate solitude and quiet reflection.
In this heady conversation, noted cognitive scientist Steven Pinker answers a number of questions about phrases, languages, and other topics pertaining to The Stuff of Thought.
Subjects Discussed: The Starbucks coffee cup size hierarchy, L.A. Story, “divorce project” and unusual noun phrase connotations, perceptive illusions in language, connotation and denotation, polysemy, campus slang and being hip, euphemisms, the unpredictable nature of words and terminology, the origins of “spam,” the absence of specific terms, locative elements of verbs, meanings and brute memorization, “giggle” vs. “Google,” profanity, offensive language, the difficulties of the surname “Koch,” groups adopting pejorative terms, Lenny Bruce’s infamous routines, dysphemisms, whether the Internet truly reflects language, Overheard in New York, William Safire’s columns, linguists being forever behind the language curve, the origins of “not” (from Wayne’s World) and “my bad,” Jerry Fodor’s extreme nativism vs. reductionism, cultural colloquies vs. cultural status, George Lakoff and language as metaphor, the inevitability of metaphor within certain occupations, language and politics, the brain as a computer, the Declaration of Independence, syntactical memes just under the radar, spatial elements and morphemes, memorization, rigid designators and Saul Kripke, given names that are already in the human continuum, and causation within language.
With Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University.
Chair: Matthew Taylor, chief executive, RSA
For Steven Pinker, the brilliance of the mind lies in the way it uses just two processes to turn the finite building blocks of our language into infinite meanings. The first is metaphor: we take a concrete idea and use it as a stand-in for abstract thoughts. The second is combination: we combine ideas according to rules, like the syntactic rules of language, to create new thoughts out of old ones.
How can a choice of metaphors start a war, impeach a president, or win an election? How does a mind that evolved to think about rocks and plants and enemies think about love and physics and democracy? How do we control the amount of information that we absorb? And what good does this actually do us?
Join Steven Pinker as he tries to answer these questions and many more, unlocking the hidden workings of our thoughts, our emotions and our social relationships and showing us that language really can tell us unexpected and fascinating things about ourselves.
Phil and Stephen, from The Speculist, talk about the importance of Memes and ask "How important are ideas in shaping the future"?
October 26 2007 - A discussion on Point of Inquiry - Pinker explores what our use of language can tell us about human nature. He discusses our use of metaphors, and what concepts may be innate, how the “language of thought” may be hard-wired in our brains. He also explains how to avoid the pitfalls of such hard-wiring, using the methods of science as the model.