All Videos

IS LIFE ANALOG OR DIGITAL?

Conversation:
[3.13.01]
Topic:

"Silicon-based life and dust-based life are fiction and not fact. I use them as examples to illustrate an abstract argument. The examples are taken from science-fiction but the abstract argument is rigorous science. The abstract concepts are valid, whether or not the examples are real. The concepts are digital-life and analog-life. The concepts are based on a broad definition of life. For the purposes of this discussion, life is defined as a material system that can acquire, store, process, and use information to organize its activities. In this broad view, the essence of life is information, but information is not synonymous with life. To be alive, a system must not only hold information but process and use it. It is the active use of information, and not the passive storage, that constitutes life."

 

ONE HALF A MANIFESTO

Conversation:
[11.10.00]
Topic:

"For the last twenty years, I have found myself on the inside of a revolution, but on the outside of its resplendent dogma. Now that the revolution has not only hit the mainstream, but bludgeoned it into submission by taking over the economy, it's probably time for me to cry out my dissent more loudly than I have before."

 

TIME LOOPS

Conversation:
[11.1.00]
Topic:

"As providing an insight into the nature of reality, and the nature of the physical universe, this whole area is really fascinating. I've thought a lot about it over the years, and I'm still undecided as to whether nature could never permit such a crazy thing, or whether yes, these entities, these wormholes, or some other type of gravitational system do at least in principle exist, and in principle one could visit the past, and we have to find some way of avoiding the paradox. Maybe the way is to give up free will. Maybe that's an illusion. Maybe we can't go back and change the past freely."

 

HUBERT BURDA: GERMANY'S AGENT OF CHANGE

Conversation:
[10.3.00]
Topic:

"Burda has the discipline of Germany but he also has certain qualities that Powerful Germany may not have respected in the past. He is stirring the pot, bringing people together, searching for new ideas, making things happen. When he meets talented people he brings them into his network, combines them into his mix. This is his discipline. This is his power. In addition to new people, he attracts new ideas, brings fruitful chaos to a world of certainty, shakes things up, and makes a mess out of the old order, the old way of thinking. Science (and the technology that follows) does not have to be beautiful or pure. Things do not need to be symmetrical or deducible from first principles. That esthetic, a great motivating force in science since Plato, is over. The sciences of complexity, which are the hallmark of the third culture, can be very messy. Out of chaos comes creativity. Hubert Burda is Germany's agent of change."

 

GETTING HUMAN NATURE RIGHT

Conversation:
[8.29.00]
Topic:

"Certainly, human nature is fixed. It's universal and unchanging — common to every baby that's born, down through the history of our species. But human behavior — which is generated by that nature — is endlessly variable and diverse. After all, fixed rules can give rise to an inexhaustible range of outcomes. Natural selection equipped us with the fixed rules — the rules that constitute our human nature. And it designed those rules to generate behavior that's sensitive to the environment. So, the answer to 'genetic determinism' is simple. If you want to change behavior, just change the environment. And, of course, to know which changes would be appropriate and effective, you have to know those Darwinian rules. You need only to understand human nature, not to change it."

 

THE SECOND GLOBALIZATION DEBATE

Conversation:
[1.29.00]
Topic:

"The second globalization debate is now upon us, and it's no longer just an academic debate. It's in the streets, as we know since Seattle, since the meetings in Washington, since the carnival against capitalism in London, and similar kinds of events all over the world."

 

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