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What Should We Be Worried About?: Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night (Edge Question Series) [Kindle Edition]

John Brockman
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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

“Compelling. . . . Brockman offers an impressive array of ideas from a diverse group that’s sure to make readers think.” (Publishers Weekly)

“From a cohort of highly influential people ... you will be surprised, you will learn a lot, and indeed, you will have a higher quality of things to worry about.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Edge.org has become an epicenter of bleeding-edge insight across science, technology and beyond, hosting conversations with some of our era’s greatest thinkers” (Atlantic.com)

“Substantial and engrossing. . . . Brockman and the Edge contributors offer fresh and invaluable perspectives on crucial aspects of our lives.” (Booklist (starred review))

“Reads like an atlas of fear.” (New York Times)

“This collection helps us see the myriad possible concerns laid out before us, articulating the various elements of fear that we need to fear.” (Washington Post)

“An interesting collection of food for thought.” (Iron Mountain Daily News)

Kurzbeschreibung

Drawing from the horizons of science, today's leading thinkers reveal the hidden threats nobody is talking about—and expose the false fears everyone else is distracted by.

What should we be worried about? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("The world's smartest website"—The Guardian), posed to the planet's most influential minds. He asked them to disclose something that, for scientific reasons, worries them—particularly scenarios that aren't on the popular radar yet. Encompassing neuroscience, economics, philosophy, physics, psychology, biology, and more—here are 150 ideas that will revolutionize your understanding of the world.

Steven Pinker uncovers the real risk factors for war * Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi peers into the coming virtual abyss * Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek laments our squandered opportunities to prevent global catastrophe * Seth Lloyd calculates the threat of a financial black hole * Alison Gopnik on the loss of childhood * Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains why firefighters understand risk far better than economic "experts" * Matt Ridley on the alarming re-emergence of superstition * Daniel C. Dennett and george dyson ponder the impact of a major breakdown of the Internet * Jennifer Jacquet fears human-induced damage to the planet due to "the Anthropocebo Effect" * Douglas Rushkoff fears humanity is losing its soul * Nicholas Carr on the "patience deficit" * Tim O'Reilly foresees a coming new Dark Age * Scott Atran on the homogenization of human experience * Sherry Turkle explores what's lost when kids are constantly connected * Kevin Kelly outlines the looming "underpopulation bomb" * Helen Fisher on the fate of men * Lawrence Krauss dreads what we don't know about the universe * Susan Blackmore on the loss of manual skills * Kate Jeffery on the death of death * plus J. Craig Venter, Daniel Goleman, Virginia Heffernan, Sam Harris, Brian Eno, Martin Rees, and more


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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Düstere Aussichten 25. Oktober 2014
Von Felix Richter TOP 100 REZENSENT
Format:Taschenbuch
Mit den Sorgen ist es so eine Sache: Macht man sich zu viele, traut man sich nicht mehr aus dem Haus und verhungert, macht man sich zu wenige, rennt man über die Straße, ohne zu gucken, und wird überfahren. Die Evolution hat in Millionen von Jahren für ein überlebensfähiges Gleichgewicht zwischen diesen beiden Extremen gesorgt.

Irgendwas muss aber trotzdem schiefgelaufen sein - anders ist nicht zu erklären, dass die Menschheit gerade mit großer Begeisterung dabei ist, sich selbst überwiegend sorgenfrei den Garaus zu machen. Offenbar sind die Sorgen, die den Einzelnen geholfen haben, zu überleben und sich erfolgreich fortzupflanzen, nicht gleichbedeutend mit denen, die der Gemeinschaft nützen, jedenfalls nicht mehr, seit wir begonnen haben, die Erde erbarmungslos auszuschlachten und damit den gar nicht mehr so dicken Ast abzusägen, auf dem wir sitzen.

Das ist es, was die Mehrzahl der klugen Köpfe in der Edge-Community bewegt. Dass der Stellenwert der Naturwissenschaften in der Gesellschaft in keiner Weise der Bedeutung entspricht, die diese für die Lösung unserer entscheidenden Probleme haben, dass die Kluft zwischen den Wissenden und den Unwissenden immer größer wird, und dass die Unwissenden viel zu viel zu sagen haben. Damit ist nicht nur die Schwarm"intelligenz" des Internets gemeint, sondern auch, dass unsere Entscheider vor allem deshalb in ihre Position gelangt sind, weil sie stabile Ellenbogen haben, täglich höchstens vier Stunden Schlaf brauchen und gut vom Teleprompter ablesen können. Da darf man mancherorts auch antreten, die Welt zu retten, wenn man die Ansicht vertritt, sie sei erst 6000 Jahre alt.
Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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1 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Interessant aber oberflächlich 9. April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Das Buch beinhaltet viele Artikel von Wissenschaftlern im Bereich Physik, Biologie etc. etc., die sich zu aktuellen Problemen äußern. Während viele verschiedene interessante Themen angesprochen werden, bleiben die Ausführungen sehr sehr oberflächlich. Jeder Artikel hat einige wenige Seiten. Ich hätte mir gewünscht, daß das Buch weniger Artikel beinhaltet hätte, dafür aber mehr Artikel mit mehr Tiefe.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 von 5 Sternen  41 Rezensionen
59 von 62 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A crepehanger's dream, but a brilliant one 11. Februar 2014
Von Padman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
The latest iteration of the Edge Question comes is something of a loaded question. You can't answer "What should we worry about?" until you've first answered the question, "Should we be worried at all?" In this book, the framework lends to speculation on what worry is in the first place, and how it can be used toward our intended aims. As cognitive Scientist Dan Sperber rightly points out, worry isn't the problem, it's how we use it.

One recalls the point made in Morse's Psychonomics: How Modern Science Aims to Conquer the Mind and How the Mind Prevails: People fear plane crashes more than car crashes even though the former are less frequent and less deadly. But it's not irrational as it seems because fear (worry) can be useful in directing energy and effecting change, and that can lead to greater safety.

This collection is something of a crepehanger's dream come true. People who are easily discouraged by big problems will not have a fun time with this book. But, though there is plenty of doom and gloom to take away from this collection of essays, there is plenty of fascinating thought to go with it, and so is well worth the read. And where else can one read arguments from the brightest minds in the world on the same subject? After reading this (and other Edge titles), the reader feels as though he has just mingled with Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Gary Klein, and 150 other brilliant people at a cocktail party.

A word on the publisher: The Edge, the internet salon from which this book springs, is a real jewel in the neo-modernist age. Every year, editor John Brockman assembles some of the brightest minds in the sciences to answer a highly speculative, even philosophical question. The result is a brilliant assortment of ideas that challenge beliefs and encourage a free flow of thought necessary for a prosperous society.
32 von 34 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Not Necessarily Worrisome. 24. Februar 2014
Von John D. Cofield - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
This entertaining and thoughtful book is a compilation of answers to a question posed by John Brockman of Edge.org to a galaxy of talented people in biology, history, philosophy, neuroscience, and many other fields. I was somewhat perturbed by the subtitle: "Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up At Night," but I was so intrigued by the overall premise that I couldn't resist. And I'm so glad I did, because I found nearly every page to be full of challenging and thoughtful analyses of a variety of topics: some obvious ones like the potential for nuclear conflict, and others more obscure (at least in my experience): the faiLure to account for the role of microorganisms in cancers.

There are approximately 150 short chapters, some no more than a page, each comprising an individual contribution from an eminent thinker. Some names were familiar to me: David Christian, Howard Gardner, Nassim Nicholas Taleb; while I hadn't heard of many others like Andrew Lih or Victoria Stodden. I found some segments more illuminating than others: I now have a better understanding of the Singularity for example, but I have to admit much of the sections on theoretical physics were less than crystal clear to me. Anyone who spends much time dealing with the Internet and media will find the chapters on "Is Idiocracy Looming?" and "Worrying About Stupid" highly valuable, though others like "Unmitigated Arrogance" and "Illusions of Understanding and the Loss of Intellectual Humility" were useful counterpoints. It was comforting to read "There is Nothing to Worry About, and There Never Was," "Misplaced Worries," and "What is a Good Life?", especially after reading about "Rats in a Spherical Trap," for example.

I would not recommend trying to read this straight through because there's simply too much to grasp all once. It makes a perfect book to keep close at hand, to read and ponder and skip about in, and to consider it your introduction to some fascinating minds.
21 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Intellectual candy for an inquiring mind 27. Februar 2014
Von B. Case - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I love these Edge annual question books. This is the second one I’ve purchased. I know I can read them online, but I also know from experience that I will read them more consistently if I have them loaded on a digital reader.

Reading these essays--in bits and pieces now and then--is getting to be a delightful habit. Whenever I have five or ten minutes to kill, I know I can turn to my digital downloaded Edge book. I always keep it loaded (on the device, rather than in the Cloud) for quick access usually using my phone rather than my Kindle device. That way, I know I will never be caught without something brilliant and fascinating to entertain me.

I particularly enjoyed this Edge question: “What should we be worried about?” John Brockman asked the brilliant members of Edge to “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.” For me that sounded irresistible. It was the right question to hold my interest.

I’d say about 50% of the essays were delightfully thought-provoking. I can finish one in a few minutes and then sit and think about it…or use it as a conversation piece with the next clever person with whom I find myself conversing. Another 25% of the essays are merely pleasurable, but contain nothing remarkably new or noteworthy. Even so, I enjoy revisiting these ideas as presented by the brilliant minds of Edge…unquestionably some of the brightest and most original minds on the planet. Some of the writings are exceptionally creative; others are witty and clever. And then, of course, there is the 25% that for one reason or another don’t appeal to me at all. I’ve learned to identify those essays quickly and skip them.

In short: these essays are intellectual candy for any inquiring mind.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Thought-Provoking Essays 12. März 2014
Von Book Shark - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
What Should We Be Worried About?: Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night by John Brockman

"What Should We Be Worried About?" is a thought-provoking book of scientific essays brought to you by The Edge. The Edge is an organization that presents original ideas by today's leading thinkers from a wide spectrum of scientific fields. The 2014 Edge question is, "What should we be worried about?" This interesting 531-page book provides 153 short essays that address the question. The quality of the essays in this book range from a couple of one star duds to a handful of outstanding 5-star essays.

For my sake, I created a spreadsheet of all the essays and graded them from zero to five stars based on overall quality. A quality essay to me is well written, interesting, addresses the topic, and either teaches me something new or uses the best of our current knowledge effectively. On the other hand, those receiving a one or even a zero represent essays that were not worthy of this book. Of course, this is just one reviewer's personal opinion.

Positives:
1. Generally well-written, succinct essays. High quality-value.
2. An excellent question, "What Should We Be Worried About?"
3. You don't have to read the essays in order.
4. Well-balanced book, covers the question from many scientific angles.
5. There were a number of outstanding essays. The following outstanding positives cover an outstanding essay starting with, "We are in denial about catastrophic risks" by Martin Rees. Does a wonderful job of covering a range of end world scenarios.
6. "A synthetic world" by Serian Sumner. He worries the natural world becoming naturally unnatural.
7. "Who's afraid of the big bad words?" by Benjamin Berger. "I learned something new based on research. The fact that no words is so terrible that merely hearing them would pose any danger to young ears."
8. "The rise of anti-intellectualism and the end of progress" by Tim O'Reilly. This essay really resonated with me. "What I fear most is that we will lack the will and foresight to face the world's problems squarely and will instead retreat from them into superstition and ignorance."
9. "Objects of Desire" by Sherry Turkle. This is an essay that will resonate with parents.
10. "The is-ought fallacy of science and morality" by Michael Shermer. One of my favorite essays. "Scientists should have a voice in determining human values and morals."
11. "That we won't make use of the error catastrophe threshold" by William McEwan. Excellent essay. "Viruses replicate near the boundary of fidelity required to successfully pass information to the next generation. I worry that we will not devise a way to push them over that boundary."
12. "Misplaced worries" by Dan Sperber. "What I am particularly worried about is that humans will be less and less able to appreciate what they should be worrying about and that their worries will do them more harm than good."
13. "Unfriendly physics, monsters from the ID, and self-organizing collective delusions" by John Tooby. "Cooperative scientific problem solving is the most beautifully effective system for the production of reliable knowledge the world has ever seen."
14. "Data disenfranchisement" by David Rowan. "We need to start seeing data literacy as a requisite fundamental skill in a 21st-century democracy, and to campaign--and perhaps even legislate--to protect the interests of those being left behind."
15. "Big experiments won't happen" by Lisa Randall. "I worry that people will gradually stop the major long-term investments in research that are essential if we are to answer difficult (and often abstract) scientific questions."
16. "Quantum Mechanics" by Lee Smolin. "I don't believe quantum mechanics gives a complete description of nature. I strongly believe there is another, truer description waiting to be discovered."
17. "What--me worry?" by J. Craig Venter. "I firmly believe that only science can provide solutions for these challenges, but the adoption of these ideas will depend on the will of governments and individuals."
18. "Natural death" by Antony Garrett Lisi. One of my favorite essays. "Knowing that our lives are so short makes each moment and each interaction more precious. The happiness and love we find and make in life are all we get. The fact that there is no supernatural being in the universe that cares about us makes it that much more important that we care about one another."
19. "Classic social sciences' failure to understand modern states shaped by crime" by Eduardo Salcedo-Albar. Timely essay that captures in essence what is going on in the Ukraine and Venezuela.
20. "Science has not brought us closer to understanding cancer" by Xeni Jardin. "The research and science that will cure cancer will not necessarily be done by big-name cancer hospitals or by Big Pharma. It requires a new way of thinking about illness, health, and science itself."
21. "Exaggerated expectations" by Stuart Firestein. "Facts are not immutable, and discoveries are provisional. This is the messy process of science. We should worry that our unrealistic expectations will destroy this amazing mess."
22. "Where did you get that fact?" by Victoria Stodden. "Without the ability to question findings, we risk fooling ourselves into thinking we are capitalizing on the Information Age when we're really just making decisions based on evidence that no one, except perhaps the people who generated it, can actually understand. That's the door closing."
23. "C.P. Snow's two cultures and the nature-nurture debate" by Simon Baron-Cohen. "What worries me is that the debate about gender differences still seems to polarize nature vs. nurture, with some in the social sciences and humanities arguing that biology plays no role at all, apparently unaware of the scientific evidence to the contrary."
24. "Unknown unknowns" by Gary Marcus. "Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom has pointed out that the three greatest unknowns we should worry about are biotechnology, nanotechnology, and the rise of machines more intelligent than human beings."
25. "What we learn from firefighter: how fat are the fat tails?" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. "Only a rule of skin in the game--that is, direct harm from one's errors--can puncture the game aspect of such research and establish some form of contact with reality."

Negatives:
1. There are just a few essays that were not worthy of this book, but just a few.
2. I was surprised not to see more apocalyptic type scenarios including wars or natural disasters.
3. Some essays are not really of major concern.
4. Requires an investment of time to get through.

In summary, I'm a big fan of The Edge and these types of books. They're fun to read and provide many different perspectives on a given question. Philosophy is asking the right questions and good science is providing the answers based on the best of our current knowledge. You should be worried about not reading these types of books. I highly recommend it!

Further recommendations: "This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works", "This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking" and "This Will Change Everything: Ideas That Will Shape the Future" by the same author, John Brockman, "Spectrums" by David Blatner, "The Elegant Universe" and "Hidden Reality" by Brian Greene, "A Universe From Nothing" by Lawrence M. Krauss, "About Time" by Adam Frank, "Higgs Discovery" and "Warped Passages" by Lisa Randall, "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking, "The Quantum Universe" by Brian Cox, "The Blind Spot" by William Byers, and "The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning" and "God and the Atom" by Victor Stenger.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen I worry about formulaic crowd-sourced pop-sci books 8. Oktober 2014
Von Rob Fitzgibbon - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
"What Should We Be Worried About" is the latest example of John Brockman's successful formula of crowd-sourcing the writing of a pop-science book.

PROS
- Fun to read single page essays from 150 über-smart, TED-talk people about what gives them the willies.

- Über-smart, TED-talk people tend to write about interesting things

- It's an intellectual book but in tapas-sized portions so it's not too mentally taxing

- You'll probably disagree with some of the assertions (I had an issue with Steven Pinker's assertion that there is no correlation between environmental degradation and war - hasn't he read a Jared Diamond book?) but that's probably part of the fun

CONS
- The book is eclectic grab-bag of worries lacking organization theme or focus

- The "experts" that have provided brief essays skew heavily toward MIT/Stanford tech-utopian scientists but could perhaps more accurately be described as "a bunch of people geeks like," with submissions by folks like Brian Eno and Terry Gilliam

- Some of the worries are, frankly inane

I found this "Worry" version less successful than his 2006 "What We Believe But Cannot Prove" but it provides a chuckle or two nonetheless
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