The Cormac McCarthy I Know
The president of the Santa Fe Institute shares his insights into the novelist, with whom he has discussed science, writers, and ideas for 20 years.
We Have to Talk About Doubt
How to tell the difference between scientific and conspiratorial skepticism.
Playing Go with Darwin
New research elevates evolution from a tactical process to one of strategic possibility.
The Typewriter’s Love of the Desert
Reflections on Sam Shepard’s time at the Santa Fe Institute I was first introduced to Sam by our mutual friend Valerie Plame Wilson. Sam had played Valerie’s father in the cinematic adaptation of her book, Fair Game. On the phone inviting Sam to SFI his first question to me was whether there would be sufficient desk […]
Will A.I. Harm Us? Better to Ask How We’ll Reckon With Our Hybrid Nature
Little Lewis, my son, I see some evidence that you have the ability to learn science, number and proportions, and I recognize your special desire to learn about the astrolabe…— Chaucer’s Astrolabe Treatise, 1391.At what point did we create an artificial intelligence? Was it when we first chiseled on rocks the memory of our debts? […]
Five Short Stories About the Life and Times of Ideas
A complexity theorist explores how science and culture co-evolve.