Juergen Jost on Information Theory and Consciousness

In a new opinion piece for Frontiers in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, SFI External Professor Jürgen Jost tours some of the major philosophical and scientific debates around consciousness, including whether a human or animal brain automatically becomes conscious when it crosses a certain threshold of complexity.

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What we're reading, July 2021

We at SFI are often asked for reading recommendations, so we feel it is time to make our responses more broadly available to the public. Beginning with this first installment, future issues of our newsletter, Parallax, will feature three new recommendations on a specific theme, each from a different member of our community.

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Beyond Borders: David Krakauer on fractal organizations and fractal faculty

A BEYOND BORDERS column by David Krakauer, President of the Santa Fe Institute.

By all accounts Plato was a zealot for geometry. In The Republic he wrote: “We must order in the strongest possible terms that the men of your Ideal City shall in no way neglect geometry.” The source of Plato's advocacy relates to his use of geometry — in particular ideas bearing on the indivisibility of lines — as a metaphor for the parts and the whole that define Being. . . . 

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Sam Bowles and Wendy Carlin on 'Rethinking economics during the pandemic'

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised difficult questions about the institutions, principles, and practices that underlie our economic systems. We would do well to respond to these questions by taking a more direct look at how well our current economic models respond to the empirical realities we face, write SFI Professor Sam Bowles and External Professor Wendy Carlin in an op-ed for The Financial Express.

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Simon Levin on 'Evolving an Ecological Perspective'

What does ecological thinking look like? For SFI Science Board Member Simon A. Levin, adopting an ecological perspective involves thinking about the interplay between interdependence and adaptation. His op-ed appears in the Winter 2020 issue of The Bridge.

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Susan Fitzpatrick on 'Complexity Blind Spots'

In the latest issue of The Bridge, SFI Science Board member Susan Fitzpatrick describes how efficiency can lead to fragility, and advocates for using complex systems thinking to inform our engineered social systems.

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Dan Rockmore: 'Three mathematicians we lost in 2020'

When a great mathematician dies, we lose direct access to a rare and brilliant mind. In 2020, three great mathematicians died: John Conway, Ronald Graham, and Freeman Dyson. In a beautiful memorial published in The New Yorker, SFI External Professor Dan Rockmore helps us recollect the wonders of each man’s singular genius.

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