Archive

Applying Algorithms to Minimize Risk

The United States plants more than 170 mil­lion acres of corn and soy­beans a year, more than any coun­try in the world. And the pri­ma­ry mech­a­nism in the US that we use to sub­si­dize agri­cul­ture is actu­al­ly called the Federal Crop Insurance Program. So, the crop insur­ance pro­gram in the US is also the largest such pro­gram glob­al­ly, with over $100 bil­lion in lia­bil­i­ties annu­al­ly. So it’s a very big pro­gram.

Mapping the Intricacies of Evolving Food Systems

In many coun­tries, the very abil­i­ty to eat a food like avo­ca­do is a direct ben­e­fit of inter­na­tion­al trade. We are eat­ing on an inter­con­nect­ed plan­et. Food trade now shapes land use world­wide and is reshap­ing the food sup­plies of many nations.

The Conversation #27 — Patrick Crouch

My think­ing is how do we design sys­tems that pro­vide for every aspect of our human­i­ty? How do we design a city that cares for all of our needs? You know it’s not just think­ing about shel­ter, but it’s think­ing about our food and our air and so, obvi­ous­ly the types of indus­try we have are very dif­fer­ent, because we have to make sure that our air and our water is clean. And that our food is read­i­ly avail­able, and that we have spaces for con­tem­pla­tion and reflec­tion. And that we have places for com­muning with each oth­er.

The Conversation #25 — Frances Whitehead

Some of my artist friends think what I’m doing isn’t art, and I’ve giv­en up on art. It’ll take care of itself. You know. I mean it’s always been there, it will always be there, and we always know that new art nev­er looks like art at first, ever. So why should this be any dif­fer­ent? We just have to trust the process. And I would say that must be true for every oth­er dis­ci­pline.

The Conversation #22 — Wes Jackson

You’re deal­ing with timescales that are beyond humans’ inter­est. I mean, it’s sor­ta like glob­al warm­ing. The heat that we have now built up, that car­bon was burned thir­ty years ago. It’s going to take a while for the cor­rec­tion process. So, if you have the ele­ments of the phos­pho­rus, the potas­si­um, the man­ganese, and so on, it can be built back pret­ty fast. But a short­hand way of putting it is that soil is as much of a non-renewable resource as oil. And, more impor­tant than oil. I mean, we’re talk­ing about stuff we’re made of. So that’s why I’ve said that the plow­share has destroyed more options for future gen­er­a­tions than the sword.

The Conversation #19 — Joseph Tainter

I see a set of con­straints fac­ing us in the future, and they’re all going to be very expen­sive. First is fund­ing retire­ments for the Baby Boom gen­er­a­tion. Second is con­tin­u­ing increas­es in the costs of health­care. The third is replac­ing decay­ing infra­struc­ture. The fourth is adapt­ing to cli­mate change and repair­ing envi­ron­men­tal dam­age. The fifth is devel­op­ing new sources of ener­gy. The sixth is what I see as in all like­li­hood con­tin­u­ing high mil­i­tary costs. The sev­enth is the costs of inno­va­tion.

Where to From Here?

Although we haven’t reached peak sur­veil­lance, we’ve reached peak indif­fer­ence to sur­veil­lance. There will nev­er be anoth­er day in which few­er peo­ple give a shit about this because there’ll nev­er be a day in which few­er people’s lives have been ruined by this.

Collusion episode 2: Water

Throughout the colonies of the var­i­ous European pow­ers, water engi­neers used dams, ditch­es, and sluices to con­trol the flow of water. They claimed that their approach to water man­age­ment was more ratio­nal and effi­cient than exist­ing indige­nous approach­es.

Agri-tech and the Arts: From Barns to D-Space

I’m going to be talk­ing about how the arts engage eth­i­cal­ly and polit­i­cal­ly with the tech­niza­tion of the food chain, the chain or flow of sus­te­nance from field to din­ner plate. This is an inter-disciplinary talk but don’t wor­ry, I won’t be claim­ing quite that poems and paint­ings are com­pu­ta­tion­al machines for work­ing out social pol­i­cy, because that would be crazy. But if I’m not will­ful­ly mis­un­der­stand­ing Joscha’s excel­lent talk on the com­pu­ta­tion­al uni­verse, it seems that a like­ly can­di­date for the sub­strate of con­scious­ness is the numi­nal, the realm of ideas, and that’s pre­cise­ly where art and lit­er­a­ture lives. So it’s the ide­al place for deep pro­cess­ing of eth­i­cal issues, the big issues like food and tech.

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