How Challenge Becomes Opportunity
As Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Not being burdened by the failures of the past or the incompetencies of the present, the students’ forward-looking approach transforms these challenges into great opportunities.
It was “Global Grand Challenges Week” at Singularity University, where 50 experts from all around the world visited us here at the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley to share their insights about the core problems that plague our world. Broken up into 8 different categories, the GGCs include: Global Health, Water, Energy, Environment, Food, Education, Security, and Poverty.
If you recall last week’s post, I wrote about how the first step in the GSP journey involves a shift in mindset; to start thinking boldly and intuit The Law of Accelerating Returns. This new perspective was crucial throughout the week; As Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Not being burdened by the failures of the past or the incompetencies of the present, the students’ forward-looking approach transforms these challenges into great opportunities.
So despite a dose of realism, optimism at Singularity U remains as high as ever. We know we have the potential, both in mind and in technology, to solve these problems. The key lies in focus and execution.
As the GSP rolls on, these GGCs will be the motivation for the ideas and inventions that arise from the Team Projects. All of the technologies we’re learning about are cool, but what’s really cool is when they can be applied to change the world. Whether it’s finding a better way to capture and store solar energy, or desalinate water and distribute it to people in need, the Singularity U education about what is possible tomorrow is rooted by what is needed today.
The final session of the week closed with one of the more kumbaya-like moments of the summer, as a group of Teaching Fellows and students got together to do a Singularity-inspired spin on John Lennon’s “Imagine” - you have to see it to believe it.
Research in plant neurobiology shows that plants have senses, intelligence and emotions.
- The field of plant neurobiology studies the complex behavior of plants.
- Plants were found to have 15-20 senses, including many like humans.
- Some argue that plants may have awareness and intelligence, while detractors persist.
E-cigarettes may be safer than traditional cigarettes, but they come with their own risks.
- A new study used an MRI machine to examine how vaping e-cigarettes affects users' cardiovascular systems immediately after inhalation.
- The results showed that vaping causes impaired circulation, stiffer arteries and less oxygen in their blood.
- The new study adds to a growing body of research showing that e-cigarettes – while likely safer than traditional cigarettes – are far from harmless.
Since the idea of locality is dead, space itself may not be an aloof vacuum: Something welds things together, even at great distances.
- Realists believe that there is an exactly understandable way the world is — one that describes processes independent of our intervention. Anti-realists, however, believe realism is too ambitious — too hard. They believe we pragmatically describe our interactions with nature — not truths that are independent of us.
- In nature, properties of Particle B may be depend on what we choose to measure or manipulate with Particle A, even at great distances.
- In quantum mechanics, there is no explanation for this. "It just comes out that way," says Smolin. Realists struggle with this because it would imply certain things can travel faster than light, which still seems improbable.