What Should We Be Worried About? Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night

What Should We Be Worried About? Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night

John Brockman / Sep 18, 2019

What Should We Be Worried About Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night 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 abo

  • Title: What Should We Be Worried About? Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night
  • Author: John Brockman
  • ISBN: 9780062296238
  • Page: 145
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 The world s smartest website The Guardian , posed to the planet s most influential minds He asked them to disDrawing 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 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 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 Black 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

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      Published :2018-012-17T08:40:20+00:00

    About "John Brockman"

      • John Brockman

        With a broad career spanning the fields of art, science, books, software and the Internet In 1960 he established the bases for intermedia kinetic environments in art, theatre and commerce, while consulting for clients such as General Electric, Columbia Pictures, The Pentagon, The White House In 1973 he formed his own literary and software agency He is founder of the Edge Foundation and editor of Edge, a highly acclaimed website where the most outstanding thinkers, leaders of what he has termed Third Culture , analyse cutting edge science.He is author and editor of several books, including The Third Culture 1995 The Greatest Inventions of the Past 2000 Years 2000 The Next Fifty Years 2002 and The New Humanists 2003.He has the distinction of being the only person to have been profiled on Page One of the Science Times 1997 and the Arts Leisure 1966 , both supplements of The New York Times.


    1. 150 short essays on issues scientists think should be of concern. After the first 100 pages, I thought I would never sleep again. By the time I finished it, I was a devoted follower of Alfred E. Neumann. I picked five things I'm never worrying about again and five legitimate concerns. I did enjoy the metaworry essays - we have nothing to worry about but worry itself.Worry about a world where no one is paying attention.Worry about whether the Internet is devaluing words.Worry that people who can [...]

    2. Oh, I completely misunderstood the concept for the book. Read blurbs more carefully, ems!!The format is 150 very short sections, almost always written by someone who has a book to flog, each raising a concern e.g. "living without the internet for a couple of weeks," (yes, this scares me, too), kids not learning about hardship and overcoming obstacles, the singularity, the eradication of human biological death, are we becoming too connected etc. The sections are once over, lightly. They don't dis [...]

    3. I loved the idea of this book. It took the opinions of over 120 scientists, educators, and journalists who discussed where we should point our attention towards in fields like neuroscience, economics, computer science, politics, philosophy, physics, social media, psychology, biology, etc. Who better else to ask "What should we be worried about" than some of the most influential minds of today? Almost every entry was interesting and caught my attention; so much so that I wanted more from each sub [...]

    4. One of the things I liked about this book is what was NOT in it. No right wing crackpots complaining about Obama taking away their guns or the UN taking over the world. No left wing crackpots complaining about America taking over the world or the evils of the NSA. Each commentator used logic and reason. Intelligence ruled. There were 153 brief essays from one to five pages each. I actually found it difficult to disagree with any of them, even those that expressed opposite viewpoints. Here are so [...]

    5. Mostly excellent with some notes out of tune. This is a compilation of short essays by leading thinkers in a wide range of fields, all in response to the editor's asking them the titular question.Their responses were mostly quite thoughtful and covered a range from potential wars, to the impacts on civil liberties of new technologies, to the growing crisis of access to drinkable water for the more than seven billion of us now living on Earth, and a slew of others that are cogently thought out an [...]

    6. Short essays on different topics scientists think should be of concern. And we should be worried. I thought at first that this was a dull collection, however, it was a good read in general. Of course, there's always the thing with essay collections that there are writers and topic you don't like or don't agree with.To sum up, yes we should be very worried about many things. Like the nuclear war, global warming, cosmology, internet, natural selection

    7. What happens when you get a couple hundred scientists together to write a page or two on what worries them? You get a laundry list of nightmare scenarios and seven ways to Sunday for the destruction of civilization and humanity. Here are few of the selections, nuclear war, climate change, a crashing internet, Massive solar flare knocking out the grid, hackers knocking out the grid, dwindling food supply, dwindling water, overpopulation, the end of science, the end of mathematics, declining cultu [...]

    8. What I liked the most about this book (or maybe I should point out that this is more of a compilation of short essays, as it seems, after reading some reviews, that some people were expecting something different), is that in two or three instances, I came across ideas that made me think twice and reconsider ideals that I already had. And in some cases, I found ideas or thoughts that I had already formed, written and expressed in a clearer way than I could've acheived. Now, this does make it soun [...]

    9. This is a collection of very brief essays by a wide variety of thinkers, all responding to the question-of-the-year posed by Edge. It makes for highly stimulating reading.I especially appreciated the brevity of the pieces. Good writers are capable of making very cogent arguments in just a few pages. (And in the case of the ridiculous pieces, I was grateful to be done with them quickly.)Now I'm quite curious to read more of the volumes in this series.

    10. Hard to give a star rating to this one. Some of the essays are extremely thought provoking, others seem to be circling around the same themes and in ways that are not unique. Worth a look.

    11. 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 quali [...]

    12. Edge should be renamed "The Edge of Physics but the Dark Ages of Biology"Brockman cannot keep claiming to be on the edge of anything if he continues to prioritize fossils like the technophobes, old gene jocks, and the like, while limiting actual progressive scientists from contributing. It's one thing to have 2 sides of a debate. It's another to clearly showcase the old guard who is increasing becoming obsolete, signaling to your younger audience that you, John Brockman, do not know how to keep [...]

    13. A few years ago I decided I didn't have as much time to live on edge like I'd like to so I stopped reading the site every day. I pretty much stopped altogether and try to fit into my too long reading list John Brockman's annual collections of answers to hisum, annual questions. Now that the Edge Question is a pageant, I get the impression reading this one that quite a few contributors think to themselves, "Crap! Another question. Well, I have to submit something or I won't be viable anymore!" An [...]

    14. As an editorial assistant in graduate school, I was sometimes asked to put together symposium papers in a logical way that made them seem as if they were planned to go together in a published volume. That is not an easy task, even when the papers are supposedly about the same topic. Brockman has done an admirable job of thematic sequencing in this compendium of brief essays in which a variety of "experts" attempt to answer the titular question. The essays are uneven in quality, as is to be expec [...]

    15. With over one hundred scientist/thinkers represented in these pages, a reader can't be blamed for picking and choosing among the potential disasters for mankind. Should I worry about some sub-atomic disaster -- or should I worry that scientists aren't studying (and governments aren't funding) sub-atomics more? Maybe I should worry about psycho-social issues. May I should just worry about worry in general.Each of these authors is highly specialized in their various fields of expertise, so natural [...]

    16. This is actually a very interesting book, and I'm only knocking off a star for me personally. Quite honestly, some of the essays were just a bit over my head, either mathematically or philosophically. Still, I would rate many of the individual essays as A or A+. John Brockman runs a website called edge, which is loaded with thought-provoking writings by some pretty impressive minds in a wide range of disciplines. Once a year, he invites these minds to answer a question, and he combines their ans [...]

    17. This is an EdgeBook comprising essays from prominent scientists from 3rd Culture, I'm usually defining as the Leading edge of civilisation in conducting endeavour in responding the 2013 Edge question: WHAT SHOULD WE BE WORRIED ABOUT?As state in Brockman's preface:"We worry because we are built to anticipate the future. Nothing can stop us from worrying, but science can teach us how to worry better, and when to stop worrying. The respondents to this year’s question were asked to tell us somethi [...]

    18. While I found this very good, it was less satisfying than most Brockman-curated efforts. The theme necessitated a lot of hand-wringing from the contributors, and some of them sounded far more crotchety than others. Still very interesting, but my least favorite Brockman collection out of all those I have read thus far.

    19. I wish i had accepted Jimmy's review and moved on to other books. It's hard to disagree with most of the essays, very few new ideas can be learned.

    20. I started this book in November of last year. The fact that it took me nine months to read isn’t due to the length, but because I got so bored I put it down and went off to read other things. I may not have picked it up again but I devised a strategy to get me over the line.In the end, I got this finished by looking at the titles and reading a few words of the remaining essays and listing the ones I felt were worthy of my time. I cut roughly 200 pages to about 54. That’s the sort of editing [...]

    21. I liked the idea of a collection of short essays by thought leaders about a provocative topic that could mean different things to different people. I knew the names of a number of the authors and have read and enjoyed some of their other works. But it was a giant disappointment -- there was not much in the way of new ideas and not enough space to fully develop the ideas that seemed interesting. I should have known better after having read and been disappointed last year by another Edge essay boo [...]

    22. The concept of this book is pretty cool. Each author gets a few pages or paragraphs to touch on what they perceive to be the biggest problem of our time.But every one of these authors is the type to go into a room and think they are the most intelligent person in that room. It is pretty interesting to see the individual perspectives and how greatly they vary (especially since 85% of these chapters provide the same solution for their very different takes on the world’s greatest problem: more fu [...]

    23. "The ability to reflect and be silent.""Suffering and sadness no longer being seen as part of a process of spiritual growth and resilience but rather an opportunity for Western pharmaceutical companies to market medication to the masses.""Children fearful of face to face conversation and the practice of dealing with other people as they grow up with screens.""Dramatic increase in the older generations with simultaneous decrease in births.""40 % of world's teenagers have no access to secondary ed [...]

    24. This is a good book because you are exposed to many concepts that you have never heard before. One of the most memorable concept discussed in the book is a study which concludes unmarried men over the age of 30 are more likely to take risks. That one kinda stuck with me due to my own lack of love life. Originally, I bought this book to explore ways to ruin humanity but alas, the book has ruined my own peace of mind. Ah well, karma bites really hard.

    25. Pretty cynical , but my biggest gripe is that it was very biased . Lots of 'scientific' and philosophical essays and discources from an athiestic point of reference . That would be fine if he balanced it with some of the extensive body of work by people of some faith or supernatural belief .

    26. I read the first few essays and then went out and bought the book. At my age (76) that's not something I do often these days. I hardly need add anything to that I think. Borrow it, or buy it but do read it. Plenty of food for much thought.

    27. I really enjoyed this as I learned a lot about what broader more important things to focus on than what I already do. It also went over things I never really thought about. Also I learned about things that I never even knew existed. I think it's a great book for worriers who like to think deeply.

    28. Mixed batch, this one, but that was to be expected in a collection of so many different opinions and topics. Overall really interesting read, though.

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