EDGE VIDEO ARCHIVE

Category: 

  • Special Events

"EDGE'S LONG-FORM INTERVIEW VIDEOS ARE A DEEP DIVE INTO THE DAILY LIVES AND PASSIONS OF ITS SUBJECTS"

 

"For those seeking substance over sheen, the occasional videos released at Edge.org hit the mark. The Edge Foundation community is a circle, mainly scientists but also other academics, entrepreneurs, and cultural figures.

Edge's long-form interview videos are a deep-dive into the daily lives and passions of its subjects, and their passions are presented without primers or apologies. The decidedly noncommercial nature of Edge's offerings, and the egghead imprimatur of the Edge community, lend its videos a refreshing air, making one wonder if broadcast television will ever offer half the off-kilter sparkle of their salon chatter."

The Boston Globe

EDGE CONVERSATION

THE ADOLESCENT BRAIN
Sarah- Jayne Blakemore

Royal Society University Research Fellow and Full Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London

The idea that the brain is somehow fixed in early childhood, which was an idea that was very strongly believed up until fairly recently, is completely wrong. There's no evidence that the brain is somehow set and can't change after early childhood. In fact, it goes through this very large development throughout adolescence and right into the 20s and 30s, and even after that it's plastic forever, the plasticity is a baseline state, no matter how old you are. That has implications for things like intervention programs and educational programs for teenagers.


EDGE CONVERSATION

SCIENCE IS NOT ABOUT CERTAINTY: A PHILOSOPHY OF PHYSICS
A Conversation with Carlo Rovelli 

Theoretical Physicist; University of the Mediterraneum, Marseille; Author, Quantum Gravity

I seem to be saying two things that contradict each other. On the one hand, we trust scientific knowledge, on the other hand, we are always ready to modify in-depth part of our conceptual structure about the world. But there is no contradiction, because the idea of a contradiction comes from what I see as the deepest misunderstanding about science: the idea that science is about certainty.  


EDGE CONVERSATION

ESSENTIALISM
A Conversation with Bruce Hood

Director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol; Author, The Self-Illusion

The self is something that is central to a lot of psychological questions and, in fact, a lot of psychologists have difficulty describing their work without positing the notion of a self. It's such a common daily, profound, indivisible experience for most of us. Some people do manage to achieve states of divided self or anatta, no self, they're really skilled Buddhists. But for the majority of us the self is a very compulsive experience. I happen to think it's an illusion and certainly the neuroscience seems to support that contention. Simply from the logical positions that it's very difficult to, without avoiding some degree of infinite regress, to say a starting point, the trail of thought, just the fractionation of the mind, when we see this happening in neurological conditions. The famous split-brain studies showing that actually we're not integrated entities inside our head, rather we're the output of a multitude of unconscious processes.


EDGE CONVERSATION

TESTOSTERONE ON MY MIND AND IN MY BRAIN
A Conversations with Simon Baron-Cohen

Psychologist, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University; Author, The Science of Evil

This is a hormone that has fascinated me. It's a small molecule that seems to be doing remarkable things. The variation we see in this hormone comes from a number of different sources. One of those sources is genes; many different genes can influence how much testosterone each of us produces, and I just wanted to share with you my fascination with this hormone, because it's helping us take the science of sex differences one step further, to try to understand not whether there are sex differences, but what are the roots of those sex differences? Where are they springing from? And along the way we’re also hoping that this is going to teach us something about those neuro-developmental conditions like autism, like delayed language development, which seem to disproportionately affect boys more than girls, and potentially help us understand the causes of those conditions.

Q & A

 

 


EDGE CONVERSATION

A UNIVERSE OF SELF-REPLICATING CODE
George Dyson

Science Historian; Author, Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe; Darwin Among the Machines

What we're missing now, on another level, is not just biology, but cosmology. People treat the digital universe as some sort of metaphor, just a cute word for all these products. The universe of Apple, the universe of Google, the universe of Facebook, that these collectively constitute the digital universe, and we can only see it in human terms and what does this do for us?

We're missing a tremendous opportunity. We're asleep at the switch because it's not a metaphor. In 1945 we actually did create a new universe. This is a universe of numbers with a life of their own, that we only see in terms of what those numbers can do for us. Can they record this interview? Can they play our music? Can they order our books on Amazon? If you cross the mirror in the other direction, there really is a universe of self-reproducing digital code. When I last checked, it was growing by five trillion bits per second. And that's not just a metaphor for something else. It actually is. It's a physical reality.


EDGE CONVERSATION

ADVENTURES IN BEHAVIORAL NEUROLOGY—OR—WHAT NEUROLOGY CAN TELL US ABOUT HUMAN NATURE
A Talk With Vilaynur Ramachandran 

Neuroscientist; Professor & Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, UC, San Diego; Author, The Tell-Tale Brain 

So here is something staring you in the face, anextraordinary syndrome, utterly mysterious, where a person wants his normal limb removed. Why does this happen? There are all kinds of crazy theories about it including Freudian theories. One theory asserts, for example, that it's an attention seeking behavior. This chap wants attention so he asks you to remove his arm. It doesn't make any sense.Why does he not want his nose removed or ear removed or something less drastic? Why an arm.


EDGE CONVERSATION

RE-THINKING "OUT OF AFRICA"
A Talk With Christopher Stringer 

Paleoanthropologist, The Natural History Museum, London; Author, Lone Survivors 

I'm thinking a lot about species concepts as applied to humans, about the "Out of Africa" model, and also looking back into Africa itself. I think the idea that modern humans originated in Africa is still a sound concept. Behaviorally and physically, we began our story there, but I've come around to thinking that it wasn't a simple origin. Twenty years ago, I would have argued that our species evolved in one place, maybe in East Africa or South Africa. 

 

EDGE CONVERSATION

INFINITE STUPIDITY
A Talk With Mark Pagel

Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Reading University, England and The Santa Fe Institute; Author, Wired for Culture 

A tiny number of ideas can go a long way, as we've seen. And the Internet makes that more and more likely. What's happening is that we might, in fact, be at a time in our history where we're being domesticated by these great big societal things, such as Facebook and the Internet. We're being domesticated by them, because fewer and fewer and fewer of us have to be innovators to get by. And so, in the cold calculus of evolution by natural selection, at no greater time in history than ever before, copiers are probably doing better than innovators.  


EDGE CONVERSATION

THINKING ABOUT THE UNIVERSE ON THE LARGER SCALES
Raphael Bousso 

Professor of Theoretical Physics, Berkeley

Andrei Linde had some ideas, Alan Guth had some ideas, Alex Vilenkin had some ideas. I thought I was coming in with this radically new idea that we shouldn't think of the universe as existing on this global scale that no one observer can actually see, that it's actually important to think about what can happen in the causally connected region to one observer, what can you do in any experiment that doesn't actually conflict with the laws of physics, and require superluminal propagation, that we have to ask questions in a way that conform to the laws of physics if we want to get sensible answers.


EDGE CONVERSATION

A ROUGH MIX: BRIAN ENO & JENNIFER JACQUET
Brian Eno & Jennifer Jacquet

ENO: Artist; Composer; Recording Producer: U2, Coldplay, Talking Heads, Paul Simon; Recording Artist, Small Craft on a Milk Sea
JACQUET: Postdoctoral Researcher, Fisheries Centre/Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia, researching cooperation and the tragedy of the commons
 

ENO: Usually one is asked to do music for films but this is for a totem pole.

JACQUET: Throughout the 19th century, native tribes that spanned the north coast of North America erected shame totem poles to signal to the community that certain individuals or groups had transgressed. 

 

 


EDGE ON THE ROAD

EDGE @ SCIFOO
Googleplex, Mountain View, California — August 12-14, 2011
Frank Wilczek, Jennifer Jacquet, Timo Hannay

WILCZEK Physicist, MIT; Recipient, 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics; Author, The Lightness of Being

HANNAY Managing Director, Digital Science, Macmillan Publishers Ltd.;Former Publisher, Nature.com; Co-Organizer, Sci Foo

 Ask the question you are asking yourself. You have one minute.—JB

 

 

 

 

 

 


EDGE CONVERSATION

THE LOCAL-GLOBAL FLIP, OR, "THE LANIER EFFECT"
A Conversation with Jaron Lanier

Computer scientist; musician; author, You Are Not A Gadget

If you aspire to use computer network power to become a global force through shaping the world instead of acting as a local player in an unfathomably large environment, when you make that global flip, you can no longer play the game of advantaging the design of the world to yourself and expect it to be sustainable. The great difficulty of becoming powerful and getting close to a computer network is: Can people learn to forego the temptations, the heroin-like rewards of being able to reform the world to your own advantage in order to instead make something sustainable?


EDGE CONVERSATION

ON THE SCIENCE OF COOKING
An Edge Conversation with Nathan Myhrvold

CEO and Managing Director, Intellectual Ventures; Co-Author (with Bill Gates), The Road Ahead; Author, Modernist Cuisine

Cooking also obeys the laws of physics, in particular chemistry. Yet it is quite possible to cook without understanding it. You can cook better if you do understand what is going on, particularly if you want to deviate from the ways that people have cooked before. If you want to follow a recipe exactly, slavishly, what the hell, you can do it without understanding it. As a rote automaton, you can say, "yes, I mixed this, I cook at this temperature" and so forth. But if you want to do something really different, if you want to go color outside the lines, if you want to go outside of the recipe, it helps if you have some intuition as to how things work.


EDGE MASTER CLASS

THE MARVELS AND THE FLOWS OF INTUITIVE THINKING
Daniel Kahneman

Eugene Higgins Emeritus Professor of Psychology; Nobel Laureate; Author, Thinking Fast and Slow

The power of settings, the power of priming, and the power of unconscious thinking, all of those are a major change in psychology. I can't think of a bigger change in my lifetime. You were asking what's exciting? That's exciting, to me.

 

 

 

 


EDGE MASTER CLASS

THE EVOLUTION OF COOPERATION
Martin Nowak

Professor of Biology and Mathematics, Harvard University; coathor, SuperCooperators

Why has cooperation, not competition, always been the key to the evolution of complexity?

 

 

 

 

 

 


EDGE MASTER CLASS

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
Steven Pinker 

Johnstone Family Professor, Department of Psychology; Harvard University; Author, The Better Angles of Our Nature 

What may be the most important thing that has ever happened in human history is that violence has gone down, by dramatic degrees, and in many dimensions all over the world and in many spheres of behavior: genocide, war, human sacrifice, torture, slavery, and the treatment of racial minorities, women, children, and animals.

 

 


EDGE MATSER CLASS

THE ARCHITECTURE OF MOTIVATION
Leda Cosmides 

Professor of Psychology at UCSB

Recent research concerning the welfare of others, etc. affects not only how to think about certain emotions, but also overturns how most models of reciprocity and exchange, with implications about how people think about modern markets, political systems, and societies. What are these new approaches to human motivation?

 

 


EDGE MASTER CLASS

NEUROSCIENCE AND JUSTICE
Michael Gazzaniga

Neuroscientist, UC Santa Barbara; Author, Who's In Charge

Asking the fundamental question of modern life. In an enlightened world of scientific understandings of first causes, we must ask: are we free, morally responsible agents or are we just along for the ride?

 

 

 

 

 


EDGE MASTER CLASS

THE BOOK OF REVELATION: PROPHECY AND POLITICS
Elaine Pagels

Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion, Princeton University; Author, Revelations

Why is religion still alive? Why are people still engaged in old folk takes and mythological stories — even those without rational and ethical foundations.

 


EDGE CONVERSATION

INSIGHT
A Conversation with Gary Klein

Cognitive Psychologist; Author, Sources of Power; Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for Keys to Adaptive Decision Making

Judgments based on intuition seem mysterious because intuition doesn't involve explicit knowledge. It doesn't involve declarative knowledge about facts. Therefore, we can't explicitly trace the origins of our intuitive judgments. They come from other parts of our knowing. They come from our tacit knowledge and so they feel magical. Intuitions sometimes feel like we have ESP, but it isn't magical, it's really a consequence of the experience we've built up.

 


EDGE CONVERSATION

WHY CITIES KEEP GROWING, CORPORATIONS AND PEOPLE ALWAYS DIE, AND LIFE GETS FASTER
A Conversation With Geoffrey West 

Distinguished Professor and Past President, Santa Fe Institute

The question is, as a scientist, can we take these ideas and do what we did in biology, at least based on networks and other ideas, and put this into a quantitative, mathematizable, predictive theory, so that we can understand the birth and death of companies, how that stimulates the economy?

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

EDGE CONVERSATION

THE SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL NARRATIVE—OR—WHAT IS SOCIAL OSYCHOLOGY, ANYWAY?
A Conversation with Timothy Wilson 

Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia; Co-author, Social Psychology; Author, Strangers to Ourselves; Redirect

One of the basic assumptions of the field is that it's not the objective environment that influences people, but their constructs of the world. You have to get inside people's heads and see the world the way they do. You have to look at the kinds of narratives and stories people tell themselves as to why they're doing what they're doing. What can get people into trouble sometimes in their personal lives, or for more societal problems, is that these stories go wrong. People end up with narratives that are dysfunctional in some way. 

 


EDGE CONVERSATION

THE ARGUMENTATIVE THEORY
A Conversation with Hugo Mercier

Postdoc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics program at the University of Pennsylvania

 



EDGE CONVERSATION

WHO IS THE GREATEST BIOLOGIST OF ALL TIME?
A Talk With Armand Marie Leroi 

Professor of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Imperial College; Author, Mutants

"Okay, but who is the real top dog? For me, the answer is absolutely clear. It's Aristotle. And it's a surprising answer because even though I suppose some biologists might know, should they happen to remember their first year textbooks, that Aristotle was the Father of Biology, they would still say, "well, yes, but he got everything wrong." And that, I think, is a canard. The thing about Aristotle - and this is why I love him - is that his thought was is so systematic, so penetrating, so vast, so strange—and yet he's undeniably a scientist."

 


EDGE CONVERSATION

A SENSE OF CLEANLINESS
A Talk with Simone Schnall 

Director, Cambridge Embodied Cognition and Emotion Laboratory; University Lecturer, Department of Social and Developmental Psychology Cambridge

As far as morality goes, disgust has received a lot of attention, and there has been a lot of work on it. The flip side of it is cleanliness, or being tidy, proper, clean, pure, which has been considered the absence of disgust, or contamination. But there is actually more to being clean, and having things in order. On some level even cleanliness, or the desire to feel clean and pure has a social origin in the sens that primates show social grooming: Monkeys tend to get really close to each other, they pick insects off each other's fur, and it's not just useful in terms of keeping themselves clean, but it has an important social function in terms of bonding them together


EDGE@DLD: AN EDGE CONVERSATION IN MUNICH

BACK TO ANALOG
A Talk by George Dyson

Science Historian; Author, Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe; Darwin Among the Machines

Where is this whole digital world going?  And I'm going to risk being thrown out of here by saying... not that digital is over, but that we've already moved into a new phase, that people just are not recognizing yet: back to analog. We're taking that cathode ray tube back the other way.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

EDGE SEMINAR

THE NEW SCIENCE OF MORALITY 
A Presentation by Jonathan Haidt

Professor of Social Psychology, University of Virginia; Author, The Righteous Mind

I'm all in favor of reductionism, as long as it's paired with emergentism. You've got to be able to go down to the low level, but then also up to the level of institutions and cultural traditions and, all kinds of local factors. A dictum of cultural psychology is that "culture and psyche make each other up." We psychologists are specialists in the psyche. What are the gears turning in the mind? But those gears turn, and they evolved to turn, in various ecological and economic contexts.  

 


EDGE SEMINAR

THE NEW SCENCE OF MORALITY, PART 5
A Presentation By Paul Bloom

Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology, Yale University; Author, How Pleasure Works

What I want to do today is talk about some ideas I've been exploring concerning the origin of human kindness. And I'll begin with a story that Sarah Hrdy tells at the beginning of her excellent new book, "Mothers And Others." She describes herself flying on an airplane. It’s a crowded airplane, and she's flying coach. She's waits in line to get to her seat; later in the flight, food is going around, but she's not the first person to be served; other people are getting their meals ahead of her. And there's a crying baby. The mother's soothing the baby, the person next to them is trying to hide his annoyance, other people are coo-cooing the baby, and so on.

As Hrdy points out, this is entirely unexceptional. Billions of people fly each year, and this is how most flights are. But she then imagines what would happen if every individual on the plane was transformed into a chimp. Chaos would reign. By the time the plane landed, there'd be body parts all over the aisles, and the baby would be lucky to make it out alive.

The point here is that people are nicer than chimps.


EDGE SEMINAR

THE NEW SCIENCE OF MORALITY, PART 6
A Presentation By David Pizarro 

Psychologist, Cornell University

What I want to talk about is piggybacking off of the end of Paul's talk, where he started to speak a little bit about the debate that we've had in moral psychology and in philosophy, on the role of reason and emotion in moral judgment. I'm going to keep my claim simple, but I want to argue against a view that probably nobody here has, (because we're all very sophisticated), but it's often spoken of emotion and reason as being at odds with each other — in a sense that to the extent that emotion is active, reason is not active, and to the extent that reason is active, emotion is not active. (By emotion here, I mean, broadly speaking, affective influences).

I think that this view is mistaken (although it is certainly the case sometimes). The interaction between these two is much more interesting. So I'm going to talk a bit about some studies that we've done. Some of them have been published, and a couple of them haven't (because they're probably too inappropriate to publish anywhere, but not too inappropriate to speak to this audience). They are on the role of emotive forces in shaping our moral judgment. I use the term "emotive," because they are about motivation and how motivation affects the reasoning process when it comes to moral judgment.


EDGE SEMINAR

THE SCIENCE OF MORALITY, PART 7
A Presentation By Elizabeth Phelps 

Neuroscientist; Silver Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University

In spite of these beliefs I do think about decisions as reasoned or instinctual when I'm thinking about them for myself. And this has obviously been a very powerful way of thinking about how we do things because it goes back to earliest written thoughts. We have reason, we have emotion, and these two things can compete. And some are unique to humans and others are shared with other species.

And economists, when thinking about decisions, have also adopted what we call a dual system approach. This is obviously a different dual system approach and here I'm focusing mostly on Kahneman's System 1 and System 2. As probably everybody in this room knows Kahneman and Tversky showed that there were a number of ways in which we make decisions that didn't seem to be completely consistent with classical economic theory and easy to explain. And they proposed Prospect Theory and suggested that we actually have two systems we use when making decisions, one of which we call reason, one of which we call intuition.

Kahneman didn't say emotion. He didn't equate emotion with intuition.


EDGE MASTER CLASS

CLASS 1: LISTENING IN ON THE BODY'S PROTEOMIC CONVERSATION (PART I) 
W. Daniel Hillis

Physicist, Computer Scientist, Chairman of Applied Minds, Inc.; author, The Pattern on the Stone

Right now, I am asking a lot of questions about cancer, but I probably should explain how I got to that point, why somebody who's mostly interested in complexity, and computers, and designing machines, and engineering, should be interested in cancer. I'll tell you a little bit about cancer, but before I tell you about that, I'm going to tell you about proteomics, and before I tell you about proteomics, I want to get you to think about genomics differently because people have heard a lot about genes, and genomics in the last few years, and it's probably given them a misleading idea about what's important, how diseases work, and so on.

 


EDGE MASTER CLASS

CLASS 2: LISTENING IN ON THE BODY'S PROTEOMIC CONVERSATION (PART II) 
W. Daniel Hillis

Physicist, Computer Scientist, Chairman of Applied Minds, Inc.; author, The Pattern on the Stone

What I've been talking about here is more analysis than construction. The genome is used to construct things, and I'm claiming it's not the best place for analysis of what's going on. Certainly there are times it is useful, but I don't think that's where most of the information is. In fact, in some sense, it is literally true that the information that's in proteomics tells you everything that was in the genome, everything useful that was in the genome. In a sense, the genome is redundant if you have the proteomics, that's theoretical though, because the genome is digital, and we actually have it. In many ways it's enabled proteomics.
 


EDGE CONVERSATION

EAT ME BEFORE I EAT YOU! A NEW FOE FOR BAD BUGS
Kary Mullis 

Nobel Prize winner, Chemistry 1993; author, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field

Now we are starting to work with organisms that are more likely to appear in a hospital, like staph and influenza, and we have our sights on Clostridia difficile, Pneumococcus aeruginosa, Acetinobacter baumanii and an alarming number of other bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. We are also working on influenza, which has a convenient little feature called M2e. 

 

 


EDGE CONVERSATION

DON'T DISAPPEAR INTO A DREAM
Richard Foreman  

Playwright & Director; Founder, The Ontological-Hysteric Theater

"I believe that people, en masse, always have a reaction that is lower and less interesting than any individual person that you can confront and have a relationship with." 


EDGE CONVERSATION

TOXO
Robert Sapolsky  

Neuroscientist, Stanford University; Author, Monkeyluv

"The parasite my lab is beginning to focus on is one in the world of mammals, where parasites are changing mammalian behavior. It's got to do with this parasite, this protozoan called Toxoplasma."

 

 

 

 

 

SIGNATURES OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Stanislas Dehaene  

DEHAENE Neuroscientist; Collège de France, Paris; Author, The Number Sense; Reading In the Brain

"For the past twelve years my research team has been using all the brain research tools at its disposal, from functional MRI to electro- and magneto-encephalography and even electrodes inserted deep in the human brain, to shed light on the brain mechanisms of consciousness." 

 

 

 


EDGE MASTER CLASS

THE IRONY OF POVERTY (CLASS 5)
A Talk By Sendhil Mullainathan

Professor of Economics at Harvard

I want to close a loop, which I'm calling "The Irony of Poverty." On the one hand, lack of slack tells us the poor must make higher quality decisions because they don't have slack to help buffer them with things. But even though they have to supply higher quality decisions, they're in a worse position to supply them because they