DEAN GIBBONS AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF DEATH
SYNOPSIS: Based on the claims of evolutionary psychology and set amidst the twin threats of ‘peak oil’ and climate change, this darkly comic show combines performance-lecture, physical theatre and a range of puppet styles in a provocative work of social-science-fiction. A large gauze suspended mid-stage is used to overlay animated films onto live action and puppetry, creating a cartoon style other world behind. By conveying current research within a compelling and humorous fictional narrative, the show engages a varied public with fresh perspectives on the nature of our predicament.
Material from this show has also been presented in shorter, cabaret formats, (and in a variety of different accents!) - for example in the videos below:
EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY: This a comparatively new understanding of human motivation that claims our common psychological traits are evolved adaptations resulting from the processes of natural and sexual selection. It suggests that since biological evolution is a far slower process than cultural and technological change, we retain the drives and desires adapted to a hunter-gatherer society we have long-since left behind. As a result, in many ways we are psychologically ill-suited to modern social environments.
This is from a series of scientific explanations of various themes related to evolution by an extremely dry bloke who explains things very well.
Fantastic virtual reality simulation of evolved ‘creatures’ from Karl Sims; strangely moving:
This TED talk by Robert Wright, author of excellent book on Evolutionary Pscyhology, ‘The Moral Animal’:
This TED talk on the Bonobo introduces ‘Kanzi’:
What makes us Happy?
PEAK OIL: Since almost all scientists hold the view that oil is a finite resource produced during a particular period of earth’s history, it is generally accepted that it will eventually run out. In 1953 K.M. Hubbert discovered that production from all oil fields follows a bell curve – increasing to a peak and then entering accelerating decline. ‘Peak Oil' theory predicts that since the economies of all industrialised nations are based on oil use (for plastics, pesticides, transport, electricity generation etc.), when global oil production enters irreversible decline beyond the peak we are in for a very bumpy ride. Hubbert predicted the global peak would occur in 2000. Many scientists believe it is very close at hand, if it has not already occurred.
The wonderful congressman Roscoe Bartlett gives his presentation to US House of representatives – first of a series:
This 10 minute video gives a good introduction:
and another one:
This is the first of a series giving more in depth detail:
Also... very good Websites on Peak oil
TECHNOLOGICAL SINGULARITY: The chief exponent of this theory is scientist and inventor, Ray Kurzweil. Through plotting the major technological developments throughout human history, he identifies a consistent rate of acceleration and predicts that Artificial Intelligence (or technologically enhanced trans-human intelligence) will exceed human intelligence in the near future. Beyond this point (the Singularity) technological evolution will not be constrained by the limitations of human intelligence, since this new intelligence will subsequently improve upon itself in a rapid succession of future generations.
This TED talk predicts the future use of technology to direct human evolution:
This TED talk by Ray Kurtweil, scientist and author who investigates the idea of ‘The Singularity’.
THE FUTURE OF ROBOTICS
The amazing ‘Big Dog’ from Boston Dynamics: