Category: Thinking

A "global useless class": the future as seen by Yuval Noah Harari

A “global useless class”: the future as seen by Yuval Noah Harari

VIDEO: Just as the Industrial Revolution created the working class, automation could create a “global useless class,” and the political and social history of the coming decades will revolve around the hopes and fears of this new class. The combination of biotech and I.T. might reach a point where it creates systems and algorithms that understand us better than we understand ourselves. The problem is understanding the “extremely complicated chains of cause and effect” in the world. “Time is accelerating,”. The long term may no longer be defined in centuries or millenniums — but in terms of 20 years. “My fear is that homo sapiens are not just up to it. We have created such a complicated world that we’re no longer able to make sense of what is happening.” SOURCE: The New York Times ...
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Machine learning’s ‘amazing’ ability to predict chaos

Machine learning’s ‘amazing’ ability to predict chaos

LONG ARTICLE FOR HARDCORE READERS: The pioneers of chaos theory discovered that the “butterfly effect” makes long-term prediction impossible. Even the smallest perturbation to a complex system (like the weather, the economy or just about anything else) can touch off a chain of events that leads to a dramatically divergent future. In a series of results, scientists have used machine learning to predict the future evolution of chaotic systems out to stunningly distant horizons. The approach is being lauded by outside experts as groundbreaking and likely to find wide application. (Read this article against the backdrop of the video with Yuval Noah Harari) SOURCE: Quanta ...
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To eliminate waste, we need to rediscover thrift

To eliminate waste, we need to rediscover thrift

VIDEO: There's no such thing as throwing something away -- when you toss a used food container, broken toy or old pair of socks into the trash, those things inevitably end up in ever-growing landfills. But we can get smarter about the way we make, and remake, our products. This video shares exciting examples of thrift -- the idea of using and reusing what you need so you don't have to purchase anything new -- as well as advances in material science, like electronics made of nanocellulose and enzymes that can help make plastic infinitely recyclable. SOURCE: TED ...
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How the progress bar on your computer screen keeps you sane

How the progress bar on your computer screen keeps you sane

VIDEO: A lot of time spent on the computer involves waiting -- for programmes to load, files to save and so on. The progress bar is our constant companion during these periods. We hardly ever give a thought to the progress bar. This delightful video tells you that there is a lot more behind this humble utility. The video traces the evolution of the device and the psychology that lies behind it. SOURCE: TED ...
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The population bomb has been defused -- Malthus was wrong

The population bomb has been defused — Malthus was wrong

VIDEO/ INFOGRAPHIC/ ARTICLE: In order to put the dire prognostications of Malthus and Ehrlich about population growth outstripping the capacity of the Earth to feedits people, inally to rest, an important component is needed - lower fertility rates. Overall world fertility has fallen. There's a strong association between fertility and income levels - once a country passes about $5,000 in per capita annual gross domestic product, it almost never has a high fertility rate. Overpopulation concerns have shifted from global to regional. Countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo still have very high fertility rates. SOURCE: Bloomberg ...
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Five Books: The best books on everything

Five Books: The best books on everything

WEBSITE: Today, our knowledge goes well beyond anything imaginable; if anything there is too much to read. Five Books is building a comprehensive library of knowledge, curating recommendations on any topic you might want to read books about. It has covered 1,055 topics so far and aims to add at least two new ones every week. SOURCE: Five Books ...
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The brain-body connection is more than we think it is

The brain-body connection is more than we think it is

LONG ARTICLE FOR HARDCORE READERS/ VIDEO: An all pervasive “cerebral mystique” creates a false dichotomy between the brain and the body and ignores bodily influences on our psychology, from chemicals in the blood to bacteria in the gut. What’s outside the body also influences the mind. The environment floods the brain with the equivalent of about 10 megabytes of information per second SOURCE: National Geographic ...
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3 myths about the future of work

3 myths about the future of work

VIDEO: "Will machines replace humans?" This question is on the mind of anyone with a job to lose. In this video, Daniel Susskind confronts this question and three misconceptions we have about our automated future, suggesting we ask something else: How will we distribute wealth in a world when there will be less -- or even no -- work? SOURCE: TED ...
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