What should we be worried about? Real Scenarios that keep Scientists up at Night
Ed. John Brockman
HarperCollins Publishers, New York
Like each year Edge, a platform, which deals with forward-looking scientific and socio-political topics, defines one central question. In 2013 one ventured on the collective search of topics, about which one should think carefully or be worried about. 150 scientists, journalists and thought leaders dealt with this question and found each a very personal answer. Well-known names, such as Steven Pinker, Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, Daniel Goleman, Anton Zeilinger, Nassim Nicholas Taleb or Lisa Randall are among them.
It is about these topics, which are currently not talked about, however which we should put in the center of our societal and scientific discussions. The titles of specific contributions voice a clear message, e.g.: "Incompetent systems", "Data Disenfranchisement", "Are we becoming too connected?", "Illusions of Understanding and the Loss of Intellectual Humility", "The Complex, Consequential, Not-so-Easy Decisions about our Water Resources" or "Worrying about Children".
Scenarios of a substantial underpopulation, a "Global Greying" or of a world without growth are discussed. Naturally, specific solutions are often missing, nevertheless the often new approaches to the diverse themes are refreshing, sometimes, however, also shocking. In this regard please refer to the article of Susan Blackmore with the title "Losing our Hands", Noga Arikhas "Present-ism" or Anton Zeilingers "Losing Completeness".
This book offers a broad array of answers out of different scientific domains and philosophies of thinking. Specifically these different perspectives encourage a personal reflection on part of the reader. A reflection, which continues even after finishing this book and which seems to be intensifying over time.