The World Question Center at Edge.org each year asks a broad based global scientific elite a single question. In years passed the questions have included “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?”, “WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INVENTION IN THE PAST TWO THOUSAND YEARS?” … AND “WHY?” and so on. This year, the question is “WHAT ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC ABOUT? WHY?”
There are 160 responses from some of the smartest (and occasionally controversial) folks out there. I’ve waded through the answers and have highlighted a small sampling to get you started. There’s more on the site than can be digested (or even skimmed) in a single seating, so I’ll likely come back to this subject.
What are you optimistic about?
DANIEL C. DENNETT, Philosopher; University Professor, Co-Director, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University; Author, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon: The Evaporation of the Powerful Mystique of Religion
JUAN ENRIQUEZ, CEO, Biotechonomy; Founding Director, Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences Project; Author, The Untied States of America: A Knowledge Driven Economy Allows Individuals to Lead Millions Out of Poverty In a Single Generation
LINDA STONE, Former VP, Microsoft & Co-Founder & Director, Microsoft’s Virtual Worlds Group/Social Computing Group: People Are Using Technology Effectively To Mediate Toward a Healthier Global Community
RAY KURZWEIL, Inventor and Technologist; Author, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology: I’m Confident About Energy, the Environment, Longevity, and Wealth; I’m Optimistic (But Not Necessarily Confident) Of the Avoideance Of Existential Downsides; And I’m Hopeful (But Not Necessarily Optimistic) About a Repeat Of 9-11 (Or Worse)