Alex Wright


Return of the Subjective

April 6, 2006

I was disappointed to miss Kevin Kelly's talk at the Long Now Foundation last month, but edge.org has posted a recap.

Kelly talks about his book-in-progress on the future of technology, discussing a series of projections about macro trends in scientific research, including what he calls the "return of the subjective":

Science came into its own when it managed to refuse the subjective and embrace the objective. The repeatability of an experiment by another, perhaps less enthusiastic, observer was instrumental in keeping science rational. But as science plunges into the outer limits of scale at the largest and smallest ends and confronts the weirdness of the fundamental principles of matter/energy/information such as that inherent in quantum effects, it may not be able to ignore the role of observer. Existence seems to be a paradox of self-causality, and any science exploring the origins of existence will eventually have to embrace the subjective, without become irrational. The tools for managing paradox are still undeveloped. All of which is not too far removed from what the Dalai Lama talks about in The Universe in a Single Atom.

> Kevin Kelly, Speculations on the Future of Science


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