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Discuss the Introduction of The Runaway Species

Discuss the January 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month, The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt.
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Discuss the Introduction of The Runaway Species

Post by Scott » January 1st, 2019, 11:32 am

This topic is for discussing the introduction to the January 2019 Book of the Month, The Runaway Species. Please do not post in this topic if you not yet read the introduction of the book.

How do you feel about the introduction? Did you like the introduction? Did the introduction you make excited to read the rest of the book?

Did you agree with most or all of the premises or assumptions in the introduction?

How well do you think the Introduction fit with the rest of the book?

Here are some of my highlights from the Introduction:
The human brain doesn't passively take in experience like a recorder; instead; it constantly works over the sensory data it recieves - and the fruit of that mental labor is new versions of the world.
An evolutionary tweak in the algorithms running in human brains has allowed us to absorb the world and create what-if versions of it.
Synthetic biologist, app developer, self-driving car designer, quantum computer designer, multimedia engineer--these are positions that didn't exist when most of us were in school, and they represent the vanguard of what's coming.
Only one thing allows us to face these accelerating changes: cognitive flexibility. We absorb the raw materials of experience and manipulate them to form something new. Because of our capacity to reach beyond the facts we've learned, we open our eyes to the world around us but envision other possible worlds. We learn facts and generate fictions. We master what is, and envisage what-ifs.
A recent poll found that most Americans want children to have respect for elders over independence, good manners over curiosity, and woudl prefer them to be well behaved rather than creative.
Those are just some of my highlights from my notes taken while reading. Of course, they say a lot more than what I have highlighted in the intro. Do you agree with the premises I've quoted here and the others? If you disagree with anything in the introduction, what is it and why?
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Re: Discuss the Introduction of The Runaway Species

Post by calm-realm » January 15th, 2019, 5:55 pm

The introduction is very exciting in my opinion. The two extremely different examples show how creativity can "create value" or "be useful" on those extremes making one wonder what other situations are in the between where it also plays a main role.

I agree with the quotes posted by Scott and also would like to highlight this one, because I belive it will be an important observation for what is to come:
An evolutionary tweak in the algorithms running in human brains has allowed us to absorb the world and create what-if versions of it.
And here are my quotes. The first one I agree with the author:
But, just like the massive computer programs running silently in the circuitry of our laptops, our inventiveness typically runs in the background, outside of our direct awareness
This seems very correct and be the reason why to improve/strengthen creativity may not be a simple process

But this one I find a bit strange:
In recent decades, the world has found itself transitioning from a manufacturing economy to an information economy. But that is not where this road ends. As computers become better at digesting mountains of data, people are being freed up to work on other tasks. We're already seeing the first glimpses of this new model: the creativity economy
I understand the point, but in my perception the number of 'data analysists' and 'IT managers' seems to be growing faster than 'self-driving car designers'. The information-numbers are very important to the companies and they are high maintainance. Do you guys agree or have a different view?

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