A prodigy at the piano, Marc Yu wowed IdeaFestival audiences last year with his mastery of complex music. In this IdeaFestival Conversation, he says any child can be as good as he is as long as she is dedicated. But, he added, "the thing is, you have to love music."
Prodigious savant Daniel Tammet will offer his thoughts on thinking when the new and much improved IdeaFestival web site debuts in the next few days. Please watch for it and the simultaneous release of the speakers and agenda for IdeaFestival 2010!
Sometime in the next several days the IdeaFestival will release its 2010 agenda and presenters, and debut an attractive new, and much improved, web site.
The timing got me to thinking.
As an annual post-Derby event, public release of the IdeaFestival agenda could be the second act in a distinctly Louisville two-fer, a cognitive call to the post that follows the horses.
Like the infield goings-on, the mix of ideas and people at the IdeaFestival is a heady experience - it's impossible to know what you'll encounter. You'll leave, however, with a buzz, a new and unexpected thought, a flash of insight. In a world where everything but creativity has become a commodity, that's a payoff that could last a lifetime.
"Push" author Sapphire, co-producer of "Avatar," Jon Landau, and the man who committed the "artistic crime of the century," Philippe Petit, might be among the incredible and talented people who be on hand in Louisville this fall.
Louisville's Keith Robbins filmed this panel featuring philosopher Sandy Goldberg, architect Emiliano Gandolfi, game designer Jane McGonigal and the artistic director for Diavolo, Jacques Heim at the 2008 IdeaFestival discussing breakthroughs, the importance of failure and their sources of creativity. In addition to some great conversation, this ten minute video features a favorite quote of mine.
The IdeaFestival is excited to announce that Avatar co-producer Jon Landau will be a speaker at the 2010 IdeaFestival to explore the making of this film and "the next big thing" in movies. Avatar won three Oscars.
Sapphire, the author of Push, on which the Oscar winning film Precious was based, will also join IF as a presenter this year to talk about her book and the story behind it.
Watch for IdeaFestival tickets to go on sale in mid-April.
Meanwhile, stay connected with IF! Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Our minds are of course always processing environmental data and coming up with disproportionate responses - the coo of a swaddled baby often triggers those feelings and that sheltering embrace - so this method of taking external information and calculating a logical response is, to me, not unnatural. We've had a very, very long time to come to terms with environmental signals, and given the enormous flood of new data being created every day, the instinctive surface of our skin is as a good a place as any for appointing those previously hidden cues.
Niemeyer began by defining games as a "way for two or more participants to have a conversation in a fictional gamespace," and offered examples such as "Ring around the Rosey" that demonstrate our use of games in early learning.
Games are free, separate from reality, rules-based, limited in time and space. As distinguished from the game as a whole, game outcomes do not produce profit.
Fun, playfulness and the feeling of being in the moment, are powerful outcomes of game play. Like the willing suspension of disbelief while watching a movie, this momentary abandonment can lead to unexpected insight, because, unlike the experience of watching a movie or theatrical play, the game's outcome hangs in the balance and depends on participant interaction. Games are transformative. And yes, this phenomenal effect can be abused just like any other diversion.
Niemeyer has said that games will be the dominant 21st Century medium. If measured by the business revenue of screen-based games, they are ascendant today.
Games cut across many existing disciplines. For example, in anthropology, they might be thought of as "rule-based, participatory, systematic instances of culture." In medicine, the pair offered examples of games in a diagnostic or therapeutic setting.
Because they offer a safe space, games are often played when people are trying to process a societal change.
There were several exchanges on the use of games as a pedagogical device. Niemeyer said that games are not the only answer in learning, but they will reach some people that can't be reached otherwise. Traditional teaching and learning methods combined with games are better than traditional teaching methods alone. "This has been well established in the literature" on the subject, according to Niemeyer.
For a descriptive case study of one well known ARG, read '08 IdeaFestival presenter Jane McGonigal's paper on "I Love Bees" (PDF), in which she explores concepts like distributed intelligence in real world games.
The infamous example of HAL aside, how far should we trust our artificial assistants? A NewScientist column on innovation asks that question and a few others about a new phone app that can take spoken commands and reserve, for example, a table at that fabulous new restaurant with very little further input from you. One issue raised by the min-review of the artificial intelligence in "Siri" is trust. It depends on context and, in the example here, an ability to pick out meaning rather than just keywords.
For some industrial strength reasoning about trust, check out this Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry. Or simply read All's Well that Ends Well.
"James Cameron’s new movie Avatar depicts a gas giant with a habitable moon around it, and the MarketSaw editors are interested in whether such a planet could exist around one of the Centauri stars."
Posting parts of an interview with Yale astronomer Debra Fischer, Paul Gilster connects popular entertainment and the search for planets around our closest stellar neighbor. MarketSaw is a blog that reviews 3D motion pictures and recently interviewed Fischer. The stellar companions are of course the triple Centauri system, a mere four light years away from our star.