Edging into the future

At Edge (in this context, “The World Question Center,” not “an Irish guitarist with a distinctive style” ), a host of notable scientists and other intellectuals were recently asked, “What will change everything?” and more specifically, “What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?”
The 20-year-old foundation–the mandate of which is “to promote inquiry into and discussion of intellectual, philosophical, artistic, and literary issues, as well as to work for the intellectual and social achievement of society”–sought answers to this question from the approximately 150 people on its roster, among them Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Stephen Pinker, and, well, about 147 others.
What’s interesting about this exercise is that it in many cases sheds light on the kinds of inquiries those we may know chiefly as skeptics and popular-press authors are making in their professional lives. Harris, for example, is working on a doctorate in neuroscience at UCLA and is heavily involved in fractional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as a means of getting at the fundamental nature of people’s beliefs.

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  1. #1 by Markk on January 2, 2009 - 8:52 am

    “Fractional” MRI? That does sound like a game changer. I wonder about Functional MRI claims as well though. ;-)

  2. #2 by Kevin Beck on January 2, 2009 - 4:28 pm

    Zounds!
    And I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling commenters!

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