“I come here today because I am excited about data, but also because I am terrified. I am terrified that we are having progress without culture in the world of data.”

Jer Thorpwho has launched The Office For Creative Research, explores the boundaries between science, data, art, and culture. His work has appeared in the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. 

When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have changed over the years. But when we look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same, a team of psychologists said Thursday, describing research they conducted of people’s self-perceptions.

They called this phenomenon the “end of history illusion,” in which people tend to “underestimate how much they will change in the future.”


Why? Dr. Gilbert and his collaborators … had a few theories, starting with the well-documented tendency of people to overestimate their own wonderfulness.

“Believing that we just reached the peak of our personal evolution makes us feel good,” Dr. Quoidbach said. “The ‘I wish that I knew then what I know now’ experience might give us a sense of satisfaction and meaning, whereas realizing how transient our preferences and values are might lead us to doubt every decision and generate anxiety.”

Or maybe the explanation has more to do with mental energy: predicting the future requires more work than simply recalling the past. “People may confuse the difficulty of imagining personal change with the unlikelihood of change itself,” the authors wrote in Science.

New study led by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, author of the excellent Stumbling on Happiness, examines why you won’t stay the same (via explore-blog)

For more, join best-selling author Dan Gilbert (PopTech 2007) as he explores our capricious reaction to different threats—from tooth decay to anthrax to climate change on the PopTech stage.

Steve Lansing, a senior fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, is helping preserve the centuries-old water-temple system in Bali that distributes water from a volcanic lake to over two hundred farming villages. Lansing and landscape architect Julia Watson are working with the people of Bali to craft a plan to enable tourists to explore the area and preserve it. Watson says the idea is to protect “the most resilient system and the most bio-diverse agro ecosystem known to man.”


Studying abroad changes lives. Find an international exchange that’s right for you, with the U.S. Department of State: http://exchanges.state.gov

Where will international education take you? Expand your world.

Hear, hear! This a great resource with a plethora of opportunities and programs to explore. Here’s one more! In 2008, we heard from Social Innovation Fellow Abby Falik, the founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year (GCY), which aims to institutionalize a global service “gap year” for young Americans between high school and college – fundamentally transforming how they understand and act on their responsibilities as global citizens. Find out more

In honor of Veterans Day, here’s a talk given by PopTech Social Innovation Fellow Bryan Doerries about his project, the Theater of War. Through the theatrical readings of SophoclesAjax and Philoctetes to military and civilian communities, the Theater of War seeks to create a dialogue, foster community, and de-stigmatize the psychological injuries of war.

The Sound of Earth by Yuri Zuzuki is a spherical record, whose grooves represent the outlines of the geographic land masses. Each country on the disc is engraved with a different sound, and as the needle passes over, it plays field recordings collected by Yuri Suzuki from around the world over the course of four years; traditional folk music, national anthems, popular music and spoken word broadcasts. 

Culture as a type of technology


Korean pop music or K-pop has been steadily gaining popularity outside of Korea the last several years, and most of the artists share the trait of having been developed in a music factory. John Seabrook in the New Yorker looks at what the head of the first of these factories calls “cultural technology.” There’s a lot of fascinating stuff in this article.

In effect, Lee combined his ambitions as a music impresario with his training as an engineer to create the blueprint for what became the K-pop idol assembly line. His stars would be made, not born, according to a sophisticated system of artistic development that would make the star factory that Berry Gordy created at Motown look like a mom-and-pop operation. Lee called his system “cultural technology.” In a 2011 address at Stanford Business School, he explained, “I coined this term about fourteen years ago, when S.M. decided to launch its artists and cultural content throughout Asia. The age of information technology had dominated most of the nineties, and I predicted that the age of cultural technology would come next.” He went on, “S.M. Entertainment and I see culture as a type of technology. But cultural technology is much more exquisite and complex than information technology.”


Lee and his colleagues produced a manual of cultural technology—it’s known around S.M. as C.T.—that catalogued the steps necessary to popularize K-pop artists in different Asian countries. The manual, which all S.M. employees are instructed to learn, explains when to bring in foreign composers, producers, and choreographers; what chord progressions to use in what country; the precise color of eyeshadow a performer should wear in a particular country; the exact hand gestures he or she should make; and the camera angles to be used in the videos (a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree group shot to open the video, followed by a montage of individual closeups).

Artists are the interface between revolutions and life. Artists bring in the human factor to revolutions that get their start in technology and science. We’re used to thinking that progress comes from the technology, science, and financial sectors. Culture brings, in truth, a slower, more sustainable, more holistic and trustworthy kind of progress.

Newly minted director of R&D (and former senior curator of architecture and design) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Paola Antonelli muses in an interview with Architect magazine about what she’ll be getting up to in her new role. I love this insight above… As my colleague Larry Keeley likes to say, actively trying to change culture is like trying to stick a pin in a cloud, but it certainly happens, and being conscious about how such changes are being driven is a noble endeavor.

[Story via Allison Arieff.]

(via thoughtyoushouldseethis)

We’ll need two adjustments to get to the Ecozoic – not just well-being of man, but the well-being of all life. We are all in this together.
John Thackara (PopTech Iceland)

The Science of Procrastination - And How To Manage It (by AsapSCIENCE)

(via Brainpickings)