The 15 Things the World’s Smartest People Are Afraid Of


Every year, the online magazine Edge–the questionable smartest web site within the world, helmed by science booker John Brockman–asks prime scientists, technologists, writers, and lecturers to weigh in on one question. This year, that question was “What ought to we Be distressed About?”, and also the plan was to spot new issues arising in science, tech, and culture that haven’t nonetheless been widely known.

This year’s respondents embrace former presidents of the Royal Society, Nobel prize-winners, known sci-fi authors, Nassem Nicholas Taleb, Brian Eno, and a bunch of prime theoretical physicists, psychologists, and biologists. and also the list is long. Like, book-length long. There are some one hundred fifty various things that worry 151 of the planet’s biggest brains. and that i examine all of them, thus you do not have to: here’s the Buzzfeedized version, with the cash quote, title, or outline of the worry force out of every essay. Obviously, go browse the remainder if any of the below get you fretting too.

1. Exploding stars, the eventual collapse of the Sun, and the problems with the human id that prevent us from dealing with them. — John Tooby, founder of the field of evolutionary psychology

2. “I’m worried that our technology is helping to bring the long, postwar consensus against fascism to an end.” –David Bodanis, writer, futurist

3. Data disenfranchisement. –David Rowan, editor, Wired UK

4. That the internet is ruining writing. – David Gelernter, Yale computer scientist

5. That smart people–like those who contribute to Edge–won’t do politics. –Brian Eno, musician

6. That we will continue to uphold taboos on bad words. –Benhamin Bergen, Associate Professor of Cognitive Science, UCS

7. The dearth of desirable mates is something we should worry about, for “it lies behind much human treachery and brutality.” –David M. Buss, professor of psychology at U of T

8. That there will be another supernova-like financial disaster. –Seth Lloyd, professor of Quantum Mechanical Engineering at MIT

9. That search engines will become arbiters of truth. –W. Daniel Hillis, physicist

10. Cultural extinction, and the fact that the works of an obscure writer from the Caribbean may not get enough attention. –Hans Ulrich Obrist. curator, Serptine Gallery

11. “I worry that as the problem-solving power of our technologies increases, our ability to distinguish between important and trivial or even non-existent problems diminishes.” –Evgeny Morozov, contributing editor, Foreign Policy

12. Catharsis is a transcendent joy that—can you repeat question? –Andrian Kreye, editor, German Daily Newspaper

13. Not much. I ride motorcycles without a helmet. –J. Craig Venter, genomic scientist

14. “We should be worried about the new era of Anthropocene—not only as a geological phenomenon, but also as a cultural frame.” –Jennifer Jacquet, clinical assistant professor of environmental studies, NYU

15. “I’ve given up asking questions. l merely float on a tsunami of acceptance of anything life throws at me… and marvel stupidly.” (complete answer)–Terry Gilliam