Are we too specialized (professionally, ideologically, culturally)?

Much lip service has been paid to "specialization" in the professional sphere in recent years. This term is often couched in professional terms, referencing in-depth knowledge of a particular field, such as logistics, or finance, or retail sales. And one of the most common ways to define one's self professionally is through "lingo," terms of art used within an industry which are unknown to those outside that profession.

Yet specialization appears to be creeping into other facets of life. We find ourselves oftentimes unable to communicate effectively with those of a different religion, a different political party, a different culture. We might think, "I am a Christian, so a Muslim cannot understand me and I cannot understand him." Terms and concepts increasingly do not translate across the ideological divide any better than they do between various professions.

We need a new renaissance in that people take interests outside their own discreet specialty and assume broader roles in their communities. Skill sets of critical thinking, ethical behavior, and pursuit of the common good translate across this divide. We ought to be reminded of our commonalities, rather than our differences.

Russia sends its first android to space

The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.

Photos by TASS\TASS via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Russia launched a spacecraft carrying FEDOR, a humanoid robot.
  • Its mission is to help astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
  • Such androids can eventually help with dangerous missions likes spacewalks.
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Human extinction! Don't panic; think about it like a philosopher.

Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
  • The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
  • The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
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this incredibly rich machinery – with Antonio Damasio

Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
  • "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"

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