Evolutionary theory meets artificial intelligence and the management of algorithms.
I use the phrase “Evolving the Future” a lot nowadays. It’s the title of a major scientific review article (“Evolving the Future: Toward a Science of Intentional Change”) and part of the subtitle of my next book (“This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution and Evolving the Future”), which will be published by Pantheon Press in 2019. For me, the phrase represents the maturation of evolutionary theory to the point where it can be used to improve the quality of life at all scales, from individuals to the planet.
I recently discovered a soul mate in Tim O’Reilly, whose cleverly titled WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Uscovers the same ground from a very different starting point. O’Reilly is one of the pioneers of the Internet, whose publishing business began with technical computer manuals and expanded into O’Reilly Media, which serves as a catalyst for evolving the future of the Information Age. As a polymath trained in the Classics, O’Reilly has absorbed some of my world of evolutionary science–especially genetic algorithms and their fitness functions-–but uses key words such as “evolution” and “adapt” in the vernacular for the most part. Nevertheless, his vision of what we must do to ensure a bright future is strikingly convergent with mine and there is uncanny overlap in the people and examples that we draw upon to make our respective arguments.
I have Evonomics.com to thank for bringing O’Reilly to my attention. He wrote a complimentary tweet about my conversation with the economist Robert Frank, prompting Editor-in-Chief Robert Kadar to make a connection. Although Tim has already written for Evonomics.com, it is only fitting that we have our own conversation to explore the merging of our two worlds.