In a new opinion piece for Frontiers in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, SFI External Professor Jürgen Jost tours some of the major philosophical and scientific debates around consciousness, including whether a human or animal brain automatically becomes conscious when it crosses a certain threshold of complexity.
We at SFI are often asked for reading recommendations, so we feel it is time to make our responses more broadly available to the public. Beginning with this first installment, future issues of our newsletter, Parallax, will feature three new recommendations on a specific theme, each from a different member of our community.
In which SFI President David Krakauer contemplates the trade-offs inherent in exchanging ideas online vs in person.
In a commentary this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, SFI colleagues Simon DeDeo and Elizabeth Hobson* discuss the science of social hierarchy — what rank is, what it does, and where it comes from.
A BEYOND BORDERS column by David Krakauer, President of the Santa Fe Institute.
By all accounts Plato was a zealot for geometry. In The Republic he wrote: “We must order in the strongest possible terms that the men of your Ideal City shall in no way neglect geometry.” The source of Plato's advocacy relates to his use of geometry — in particular ideas bearing on the indivisibility of lines — as a metaphor for the parts and the whole that define Being. . . .
Jessika Trancik on how technology innovation gives government leverage to drive down emissions fast (The Conversation)
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised difficult questions about the institutions, principles, and practices that underlie our economic systems. We would do well to respond to these questions by taking a more direct look at how well our current economic models respond to the empirical realities we face, write SFI Professor Sam Bowles and External Professor Wendy Carlin in an op-ed for The Financial Express.
In an op-ed for The Conversation, SFI External Professor Seth Blumsack explains how the deregulated Texas power system actually combines deregulation and regulation.
Scientists must learn how effectively to enter the policy arena, argue SFI External Professor Manfred Laubichler and colleagues in a recent perspective piece for Science & Diplomacy.
Rajiv Sethi and Brendan O’Flaherty argue that successful police reform begins when we grasp the complex systems that underly current departments, in their latest op-ed in The Bridge.
What does ecological thinking look like? For SFI Science Board Member Simon A. Levin, adopting an ecological perspective involves thinking about the interplay between interdependence and adaptation. His op-ed appears in the Winter 2020 issue of The Bridge.
Science is slowly shifting away from equations toward algorithms, writes W. Brian Arthur in an essay published by the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics. Thinking algorithmically, he says, gives researchers a way to study ideas like unpredictability and emergence.
In his quarterly column for the Parallax newsletter, SFI President David Krakauer reflects on games as "a microcosm for exploring analytical, aesthetic, moral, and practical matters."
If we understand city laws, SFI's Chris Kempes and Geoffrey West argue in their op-ed at The Bridge, they can help us navigate the pitfalls of our rapidly urbanizing world — including planning for pandemics like COVID-19.
When a great mathematician dies, we lose direct access to a rare and brilliant mind. In 2020, three great mathematicians died: John Conway, Ronald Graham, and Freeman Dyson. In a beautiful memorial published in The New Yorker, SFI External Professor Dan Rockmore helps us recollect the wonders of each man’s singular genius.