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The Last Questions (part 2)
Author: Roger's Bacon
Roger’s Bacon is a writer, teacher, and co-founder of Seeds of Science. Check out his recent appearance on the DeSci Rising podcast where he discusses the founding of SoS and how we can promote greater creativity and diversity of thought in science.
Previous: The Last Questions (Part 1)
What might the last fully biological human's statement be at their last supper?
— Lorraine Justice
Are we smart enough to know when we’ve reached the limits of our ability to understand the universe?
— David Pizarro
How can an aggregation of trillions of selfish, myopic cells discover the unwitting teamwork that turns that dynamic clump into a person who can love, notice, wonder, and keep a promise?
— Daniel Dennett
What would the mind of a child raised in total isolation of other animals be like?
— Bruce Hood
What quirk of evolution caused us to develop the ability to do pure mathematics?
— William H. Press
When will "human being" cease to be a meaningful category to speak of?
— James J. O’Donnell
What cognitive capacities make humans so damn weird relative to all the other animals on the planet?
— Laurie R. Santos
What will be the use of 99% of humanity for the 1%?
— David Haig
Will we pass our audition as planetary managers?
— David Christian
Given the nature of life, the purposeless indifference of the universe, and our complete lack of free will, how is it that most people avoid ever being clinically depressed?
— Robert Sapolsky
Can an increasingly powerful species survive (and overcome) the actions of its most extreme individuals?
— Bruce Schneier
Are accurate mathematical theories of individual human behavior possible?
— Emanuel Derman
Will a comprehensive mathematics of human behavior ever be created?
— John Gottman
Can we develop a procedure that, in principle, would tell us whether or not our universe is a simulation (analogous to the way the now proven Poincaré Conjecture can tell us the universe’s shape)?
— Keith Devlin
Are the ways qualia relate to computation, creativity to free will, risk to probability, morality to epistemology, all the same question?
— David Deutsch
Is the universe like an onion that will require science to keep peeling back new layers of reality and asking questions forever?
— Lawrence Krauss
Can general-purpose computers be constructed out of pure gravity?
— Alexander Wissner-Gross
Is the number of interesting questions finite or not?
— Chiara Marletto
Are there any phenomena for which it will never be possible to develop parsimonious theories?
— D.A. Wallach
Is there a design to the laws of physics, or are they the result of chance and the laws of large numbers?
— Leonard Susskind
Is there a single, evolved biological mechanism that can be tweaked to improve overall health, cognitive abilities, and slow aging?
— David C. Geary
Can a single underlying process explain the emergence of structure at the physical, biological, cognitive, and machine levels?
— Robert Provine
Messing with Minds
What kinds of minds could solve the mind-body problem?
— Susan Blackmore
Can we create new senses for humans—not just touch, taste, vision, hearing, smell, but totally novel qualia for which we don't yet have words?
— David Eagleman
Can we program a computer to find a 10,000-bit string that encodes more actionable wisdom than any human has ever expressed?
— Scott Aaronson
Is the brain a computer or an antenna?
— Dave Morin
Will it ever be possible to download the information stored in the human brain?
— Mario Livio
What does the conscious mind do that is impossible for the unconscious mind?
— Richard Nisbett
Technology and Society
What will courtship, mate selection, length of marriages, and family composition and networks be like when we are all living over 150 years?
— Helen Fisher
What will it take to end war once and for all?
— John Horgan
When will we replace governments with algorithms?
— Cesar Hidalgo
Would you like to live 1,000 years?
— Michael Shermer
Will we soon cease to care whether we are experiencing normal, augmented, or virtual reality?
— Andy Clark
Will the appearance of new species of talented computational intelligences result in improving the moral behavior of persons and societies?
— Mahzarin Banaji
Why is religion still around in the twenty-first century?
— Elaine Pagels
Can we ever wean humans off their addiction to religion?
— Christopher Stringer
Can wild animals that are large and dangerous be made averse to threatening humans?
— Stewart Brand
Why are there no trees in the ocean?
— George Dyson
Back to the Future
What will be obvious to us in a generation that we have an inkling of today?
— Evan Williams
Was agriculture a wrong turn for civilization?
— Douglas Rushkoff
What knowledge and know-how are our descendants at risk of forgetting as our species passes through future evolutionary bottlenecks?
— William Grassie
Will the creation of a super-human class from a combination of genome editing and direct biological-machine interfaces lead to the collapse of civilization?
— J. Craig Ventner
Will AI make the Luddites (mostly) right?
— Alan S. Blinder
What will we do as an encore once we manage to develop technological solutions to infection, aging, poverty, asteroids, and heat death of the universe?
— George Church
What future progressive norms would most forward-thinking people today dismiss as too transgressive?
— Kate Darling
What is the most intelligent and efficient way to minimize the overall amount of conscious suffering in the universe?
— Thomas Metzinger
Is it ultimately possible for life to bend the shape of the universe to fit life's purposes, as we are now bending the shape of our environment here on earth?
— Freeman Dyson
Why is the world so beautiful?
— Nicholas Humphrey
Is the actual all that is possible?
— Sam Harris
Where were the laws of physics written before the universe was born?
— Andrei Linde
Which questions should we not ask and not try to answer?
— Nick Bostrom
How will we know if we achieve universal happiness?
— P. Murali Doraiswamy
— Frank Wilczek