Challenges and problems can derail your creative process ... or they can make you more creative than ever. In the surprising story behind the best-selling solo piano album of all time, Tim Harford may just convince you of the advantages of having to work with a little mess.
Complexity Digest's insight:
"Just because you don't like it, it does not mean that it is not helpful"
Ever wondered why kids say they’re bored at school, or why they stop trying when the work gets harder? Educationalist Carol Dweck explains how the wrong kind of praise actually *harms* young people. This short video is essential viewing for EVERYONE – from teachers and education workers to relatives and friends - and will totally revolutionise the way you interact with children.
Today complex systems science is rapidly growing as a discipline, with relevance to many areas of science and as an approach to addressing a wide range of real world problems. Understanding the fundamental mathematical origins of complex systems science reveals its conceptual richness and ability to advance science and expand its application. I will review these origins, describe some current applications, and point to the opportunities of the future.
Complex Systems Science: Where Does It Come From and Where is It Going To? Yaneer Bar-Yam
Opening plenary address at the Conference on Complex Systems 2015, at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
Can we end hunger and poverty, halt climate change and achieve gender equality in the next 15 years? The governments of the world think we can. Meeting at the UN in September 2015, they agreed to a new set of Global Goals for the development of the world to 2030. Social progress expert Michael Green invites us to imagine how these goals and their vision for a better world can be achieved.
At his lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Vijay Kumar and his team have created autonomous aerial robots inspired by honeybees. Their latest breakthrough: Precision Farming, in which swarms of robots map, reconstruct and analyze every plant and piece of fruit in an orchard, providing vital information to farmers that can help improve yields and make water management smarter.
Human societies use complexity -- within their institutions and technologies -- to address their various problems, and they need high-quality energy to create and sustain this complexity. But now greater complexity is producing diminishing returns in wellbeing, while the energetic cost of key sources of energy is rising fast. Simultaneously, humankind's problems are becoming vastly harder, which requires societies to deliver yet more complexity and thus consume yet more energy. Resolving this paradox is the central challenge of the 21st century. Thomas Homer-Dixon holds the CIGI Chair of Global Systems at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada, and is a Professor at the University of Waterloo.
Seventy thousand years ago, our human ancestors were insignificant animals, just minding their own business in a corner of Africa with all the other animals. But now, few would disagree that humans dominate planet Earth; we've spread to every continent, and our actions determine the fate of other animals (and possibly Earth itself). How did we get from there to here? Historian Yuval Noah Harari suggests a surprising reason for the rise of humanity.
Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is ... or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us.
Liver cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect, but synthetic biologist Tal Danino had a left-field thought: What if we could create a probiotic, edible bacteria that was "programmed" to find liver tumors? His insight exploits something we're just beginning to understand about bacteria: their power of quorum sensing, or doing something together once they reach critical mass. Danino, a TED Fellow, explains how quorum sensing works — and how clever bacteria working together could someday change cancer treatment.
As the development of the Internet of Things is taking up speed, connected devices are producing staggering amounts of data. Estimates say that by 2020, there will be 26 times more connected things than people – devices which will produce 400 zettabytes of data per year (one zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes). Managing this flood of data is one of the biggest challenges facing policy, industry and civilian societies. The task of scientists is to test and propose rules, frameworks and technologies to support this process, reveal opportunities and prevent risks and abuse. Dirk Helbing is a physicist and professor of computational social science with a particular interest in modelling and simulating complex socio-economic systems and scenarios. With his team at ETH Zurich, he is researching how big data from connected devices can be fed into a so-called Planetary Nervous System, a transparent, open-access information system which can support real-time measurements of the world. A system like this could revolutionise many sectors, from urban planning and traffic control to the early detection of epidemics and earthquake prediction. In the wrong hands, however, big data can pose enormous risks to privacy and personal freedom. As opposed to corporate or state-owned data mining tools, Dirk proposes a citizen-owned participatory platform, with extensive features to protect users’ privacy and the ultimate goal to treat big data – and the information extracted from it – largely as public goods. At Falling Walls, he presents this model of a democratic data ecosystem as an alternative to gloomier “Big Brother” scenarios.
BREAKING THE WALL TO DIGITAL DEMOCRACY How Socio-Physics Shapes the Future of Smart Societies Dirk Helbing Professor of Computational Social Science, ETH Zurich
How does knowledge grow? Sometimes it begins with one insight and grows into many branches. Infographics expert Manuel Lima explores the thousand-year history of mapping data -- from languages to dynasties -- using trees of information. It's a fascinating history of visualizations, and a look into humanity's urge to map what we know.
César visits the RSA to present a new view of the relationship between individual and collective knowledge, linking information theory, economics and biology to explain the deep evolution of social and economic systems. In a radical rethink of what an economy is, one of WIRED magazine’s 50 People Who Could Change the World, César Hidalgo argues that it is the measure of a nation’s cultural complexity – the nexus of people, ideas and invention - rather than its GDP or per-capita income, that explains the success or failure of its economic performance. To understand the growth of economies, Hidalgo argues, we first need to understand the growth of order itself.
Statistically, the least reliable part of the car is ... the driver. Chris Urmson heads up Google's driverless car program, one of several efforts to remove humans from the driver's seat. He talks about where his program is right now, and shares fascinating footage that shows how the car sees the road and makes autonomous decisions about what to do next.
How do babies learn so much from so little so quickly? In a fun, experiment-filled talk, cognitive scientist Laura Schulz shows how our young ones make decisions with a surprisingly strong sense of logic, well before they can talk.
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