Sunday, January 27, 2019


Readers familiar with the Edge organization know of their “annual questions” which draw responses from 100s of prominent scientists. Last year was the last entry in this long-running series, and the final question was simply: what should be the last question? There were 284 widely-varying responses (including some mathematical ones) that can be perused here:

Among my own favorites were these, but check them all out to find your own:

Anthony Aguirre:
Are complex biological neural systems fundamentally unpredictable? 

Dorsa Amir:
Are the simplest bits of information in the brain stored at the level of the neuron?

Emanuel Derman:
Are accurate mathematical theories of individual human behavior possible?

George Dyson:
Why are there no trees in the ocean?

David Eagleman:
Can we create new senses for humans—not just touch, taste, vision, hearing, smell, but totally novel qualia for which we don't yet have words?

Nick Enfield:
Is the cumulation of shared knowledge forever constrained by the limits of human language?

W. Daniel Hillis:
What is the principle that causes complex adaptive systems (life, organisms, minds, societies) to spontaneously emerge from the interaction of simpler elements (chemicals, cells, neurons, individual humans)?

Kai Krause:
What will happen to religion on earth when the first alien life form is found?

Antony Garrett Lisi:
What is the fundamental geometric structure underlying reality?

Martin Rees:
Will post-humans be organic or electronic?

Rene Scheu:
Is a human brain capable of understanding a human brain?

Bruce Sterling:
Do the laws of physics change with the passage of time?

Dustin Yellin:
Will the frontiers of consciousness be technological or linguistic?

[...on Wednesday another month-ending wrap-up of some favorite postings from January]

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