Monday, June 1, 2015

@3QD: On the Future of the Human Sciences

A couple of months ago Frank Wilczek published an essay in which he speculated about what physics would accomplish in the next 100 years. Most of it was beyond me, because, you know, the math. Seven of his predictions took the form of unifications among this or that bodies of knowledge and the rest was speculation about what new things we’d be able to build, such as a quantum computer.

What Wilczek said about the quantum computer of the future seemed a bit like what I think about the human brain of the past, present, and future. So I decided to comment about that. Building on a failed prognostication of my own from 40 years ago I also suggested that a change in modes of thought – a cultural singularity – might intervene between now and Wilczek’s predictions. But I had no objections to his seventh unification, mind and matter; after all, people are already sniffing around the edges of that one in new and potentially fruitful ways.

I’ve taken these thoughts, and a few others (on the internal unification of linguistics and prevalence of evolution as a theme in the human sciences), and packed them into a long blog post over a 3 Quarks Daily: The Next 100 Years in the Human Sciences, a Reply to Frank Wilczek’s Remarks about Physics.

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