45 episodes

Far-reaching conversations with a worldwide network of scientists and mathematicians, philosophers and artists developing new frameworks to explain our universe's deepest mysteries. Join host Michael Garfield at the Santa Fe Institute each week to learn about your world and the people who have dedicated their lives to exploring its emergent order: their stories, research, and insights…

COMPLEXITY Santa Fe Institute, Michael Garfield

    • Life Sciences
    • 4.8 • 95 Ratings

Far-reaching conversations with a worldwide network of scientists and mathematicians, philosophers and artists developing new frameworks to explain our universe's deepest mysteries. Join host Michael Garfield at the Santa Fe Institute each week to learn about your world and the people who have dedicated their lives to exploring its emergent order: their stories, research, and insights…

    David Wolpert on The No Free Lunch Theorems and Why They Undermine The Scientific Method

    David Wolpert on The No Free Lunch Theorems and Why They Undermine The Scientific Method

    On the one hand, we have math: a world of forms and patterns, a priori logic, timeless and consistent. On the other, we have physics: messy and embodied interactions, context-dependent and contingent on a changing world. And yet, many people get the two confused, including physicists and mathematicians. Where the two meet, and the nature of the boundary between them, is a matter of debate — one of the greatest puzzles known to science and philosophy — but some things can be said for sure about what can and cannot be accomplished in the search for ever-better models of our world. One is that every model must contain assumptions, and that there’s no way to prove a given strategy will outperform all others in all possible scenarios. This insight, captured in the legendary No Free Lunch theorems by SFI’s David Wolpert and William Macready, has enormous implications for the way think about intelligence, computers, and the living world.  In the twenty-plus years since its publication, No Free Lunch has sparked intense debate about the kinds of claims we are, and are not, justified in making…
    Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and every other week we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the deepest mysteries of the universe. This week we speak with SFI Professor David Wolpert about the No Free Lunch Theorems and what they mean for life, the universe, and everything…
     
    Dive into David Wolpert’s website:
    https://davidwolpert.weebly.com/

    and Google Scholar page:
    https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=PRjgI8kAAAAJ&hl=en
     
    If you value our research and communication efforts, please consider making a donation at santafe.edu/give — and/or rating and reviewing us at Apple Podcasts. You can find numerous other ways to engage with us at santafe.edu/engage. Thank you for listening!
     
    Join our Facebook discussion group to meet like minds and talk about each episode.
     
    Podcast theme music by Mitch Mignano.
     
    Follow us on social media: Twitter • YouTube • Facebook • Instagram • LinkedIn

    • 52 min
    Introducing Alien Crash Site, a new SFI Podcast with host Caitlin McShea

    Introducing Alien Crash Site, a new SFI Podcast with host Caitlin McShea

    Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and every other week we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the deepest mysteries of the universe.
    This week we present something different: SFI’s InterPlanetary Project is excited to announce a new podcast, Alien Crash Site, in which we ask some of the most interesting people we know — scientists, artists, authors, and athletes — what strange technologies they might hope to find in a “Zone” like the alien visitation area from the Strugatsky brothers’ novel, Roadside Picnic (adapted to film as Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky).
    In this special teaser episode, we present clips from the first three episodes of Alien Crash Site, hosted by IPFest Director Caitlin McShea, with guests:
    David Krakauer, SFI President, evolutionary biologist, and William H. Miller Professor of Complexity;
    Kate Greene, former laser physicist turned science journalist, essayist, and human guinea pig on the HI SEAS Mars mission simulation;
    and Ashton Eaton, two-time Olympic gold medalist decathlete now working with Intel to design human performance tracking technology.
    Go deeper into the Zone after listening with the following papers, articles, and videos:
    “The physical limits of communication or Why any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from noise” by Michael Lachmann et al.
    https://aapt.scitation.org/doi/10.1119/1.1773578
    “The Information Theory of Individuality” by David Krakauer et al.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12064-020-00313-7
    "Agnostic Approaches to Extant Life Detection" by Natalie Grefenstette et al.
    https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lifeonmars2019/pdf/5026.pdf
    Complexity Episode 41: Agnostic Biosignature Detection with Natalie Grefenstette
    https://complexity.simplecast.com/episodes/41
    Complexity Episode 2: The Origins of Life with David Krakauer, Sarah Maurer, and Chris Kempes
    https://complexity.simplecast.com/episodes/2
    SFI’s InterPlanetary Project & Festival YouTube Playlist:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYzOPIgwqUk&list=PLZlVBTf7N6GrzcLkqil5vyJQQd6JA-H3a
    “Alien Nations: Why Life on Other Planets Will Resemble Ours” by Steve LeVine at OneZero on Medium
    https://onezero.medium.com/alien-nations-why-life-on-other-planets-will-resemble-ours-15fb4ede6fe7
    For show notes, research links, transcripts, and more, visit complexity.simplecast.com.
    If you value our research and communication efforts, please consider making a donation at santafe.edu/give — and/or rating and reviewing us at Apple Podcasts. You can find numerous other ways to engage with us at santafe.edu/engage. Thank you for listening!
    Join our Facebook discussion group to meet like minds and talk about each episode.
    Podcast theme music by Mitch Mignano. 
    Interstitial music from “Martian Arts” by Michael Garfield.
    Follow us on social media:
    Twitter • YouTube • Facebook • Instagram • LinkedIn

    • 20 min
    Vicky Yang & Henrik Olsson on Political Polling & Polarization: How We Make Decisions & Identities

    Vicky Yang & Henrik Olsson on Political Polling & Polarization: How We Make Decisions & Identities

    Whether you live in the USA or have just been watching the circus from afar, chances are that you agree: “polarization” dominates descriptions of the social landscape. Judging from the news alone, one might think the States have never been so painfully divided…yet nuanced public polls, and new behavioral models, suggest another narrative: the United States is largely moderate, and people have much more in common with each other than they think. There’s no denying our predicament: cognitive biases lead us to “out-group” one another even when we might be allies, and the game of politics drives a two-party system into ever-more-intense division, until something has to give. But the same evidence from social science offers hope, that we might find a way to harness our collective thinking processes for the sake of everyone and row together toward a future big enough to hold our disagreements.
    Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and every other week we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the deepest mysteries of the universe.
    In this episode we talk to SFI External Professor Henrik Olsson and SFI Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow, Omidyar Fellow, and Baird Hurst Scholar Vicky C. Yang about their work on social cognition and political identity. In a conversation that couldn’t be more timely, we ask: How can we leverage an understanding of networks for better political polling and prediction? What are the meaningful differences between one’s values and one’s affiliations? And is the American two-party system working for or against a cohesive republic?
    If you value our research and communication efforts, please consider making a donation at santafe.edu/give — and/or rating and reviewing us at Apple Podcasts. You can find numerous other ways to engage with us at santafe.edu/engage. Thank you for listening!
    Henrik’s Google Scholar Page
    Vicky’s Google Scholar Page
    Research we discuss in this episode:
    Falling Through the Cracks: A Dynamical Model for the Formation of In-Groups and Out-Groups
    A Sampling Model of Social Judgment
    Harvesting the wisdom of crowds for election predictions using the Bayesian Truth Serum
    Why are U.S. Parties So Polarized? A "Satisficing" Dynamical Model
    Do two parties represent the US? Clustering analysis of US public ideology survey
    Project Page for the SFI-USC Dornslife Polling Research Collaboration
    For more on social cognition and collective decision-making, listen to COMPLEXITY episodes 9 with Mirta Galesic and 20 with Albert Kao.
    Follow us on social media:
    Twitter • YouTube • Facebook • Instagram • LinkedIn
    Join our Facebook discussion group to meet like minds and talk about each episode
    Podcast Theme Music by Mitch Mignano

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Carl Bergstrom & Jevin West on Calling B******t: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World

    Carl Bergstrom & Jevin West on Calling B******t: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World

    Now, maybe more than ever before, it is time to learn the art of skepticism.  Amidst compounded complex crises, humankind must also navigate a swelling tidal wave of outright lies, clever misdirections, and well-meant but dangerous mistaken claims….in other words, b******t. Why is the 21st Century such a hotbed of fake news? How can we structure our networks and their incentives to mitigate disinformation and encourage speaking truth to power? And whose responsibility is it to inform the public and other experts about scientific research, when those insights require training to understand?
    Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and in each episode we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the deepest mysteries of the universe.
    This week, we talk to Former SFI External Professor Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West, both at the University of Washington, who recently translated their landmark undergraduate course on Calling B******t into an eminently readable and illuminating book from Penguin Random House. In this episode, we discuss their backgrounds and ongoing work in the evolutionary dynamics and information theory of communication, how to stage a strong defense against disinformation, and the role of scientists and laypeople alike to help restore the reasoned discourse we all so desperately need.
    If you value our research and communication efforts, please consider making a recurring monthly donation at santafe.edu/give, or joining our Applied Complexity Network at santafe.edu/action. Also, please consider rating and reviewing us at Apple Podcasts. Thank you for listening!
     
    Related Links & Resources:
    CallingBullshit.org
    Carl Bergstrom’s Website & Twitter.
    Jevin West’s Website & Twitter.
    Cost and conflict in animal signals and human language
    by Michael Lachmann, Szabolcs Számadó, and Carl T. Bergstrom at PNAS
    The physical limits of communication or Why any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from noise
    by Michael Lachmann, M.E.J. Newman, Cris Moore in The American Journal of Physics
    Deepfakes and the Epistemic Backstop
    by Regina Rini at Philosopher’s Imprint
    Hunger Game: Is Honesty Between Animals Always the Best Policy?
    by Natalie Wolchover at Scientific American
    Public Editor by Goodly Labs
    Visit our website for more information or to support our science and communication efforts.
    Join our Facebook discussion group to meet like minds and talk about each episode.
    Podcast Theme Music by Mitch Mignano.
    Follow us on social media:
    Twitter • YouTube • Facebook • Instagram • LinkedIn

    • 58 min
    Natalie Grefenstette on Agnostic Biosignature Detection

    Natalie Grefenstette on Agnostic Biosignature Detection

    Is there life on Mars? Or Titan? What are we even looking for? Without a formal definition, inquiries into the stars just echo noise. But then, perhaps, the noise contains a signal… To find life elsewhere in the universe requires us to wager a defined biology, to come to terms with what it means to be alive. Looking out is looking in, to ask the hardest question ever: How do we find something we might not recognize as what we’re seeking?
    Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and each week we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the deepest mysteries of the universe.
    This week we talk to SFI Program Postdoctoral Fellow Natalie Grefenstette, who works with SFI Professor Chris Kempes (whom we spoke to on Episode 17) on the multi-institution, NASA-funded Agnostic Biosignatures Project. Over the next hour we discuss how new approaches to astrobiological research may help science finally define the nature of living systems, and where and how to find them in the cosmos.
    For show notes, research links, transcripts, and more, visit complexity.simplecast.com.
    If you value our research and communication efforts, please consider making a recurring monthly donation at santafe.edu/give, or joining our Applied Complexity Network at santafe.edu/action. Also, please consider rating and reviewing us at Apple Podcasts. Thank you for listening!

    Natalie’s website:
    https://nataliegref.weebly.com/

    Natalie’s Google Scholar page:
    https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=fbHyA3IAAAAJ&view_op=list_works&sortby=pubdate
    "Adaptive properties of the genetically encoded amino acid alphabet are inherited from its subsets"
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-47574-x.pdf
    "Agnostic Approaches to Extant Life Detection"
    https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lifeonmars2019/pdf/5026.pdf
    "Agnostic Polymer Detection Using Mass Spectrometry for Astrobiological Samples"
    https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2020/pdf/2706.pdf
    "Mars Extant Life: What's Next? Conference Report"
    https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/ast.2020.2237
    Join our Facebook discussion group to meet like minds and talk about each episode.
    Podcast Theme Music by Mitch Mignano.
    Follow us on social media:
    Twitter • YouTube • Facebook • Instagram • LinkedIn

    • 56 min
    The Information Theory of Biology & Origins of Life with Sara Imari Walker (Big Biology Podcast Crossover)

    The Information Theory of Biology & Origins of Life with Sara Imari Walker (Big Biology Podcast Crossover)

    One of the defining characteristics of complex systems science is the shift in emphasis from objects to relationships and processes. How is information related to matter and energy, and how do the distinct formulations of different scientific lineages braid together in a unifying pattern? This search for a more fundamental understanding drives directly into some of the biggest questions science has to ask about the living world — namely, what is life, what is alive, and when did life begin? The Santa Fe Institute has drawn from the deep wells of these questions since the 1980s. In our second episode, Complexity Podcast dove in to explore the origins of life, but even that in-depth conversation left a lot unsaid.
    Welcome to Complexity, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield. While we continue our short summer hiatus, here’s a superb interview with the Santa Fe Institute’s newly announced External Professor, Sara Imari Walker of Arizona State University, by Marty Martin and Art Woods, the hosts of the Big Biology Podcast. In this rapid-fire rap from their ninth episode, Sara talks about how physics — and in particular information theory — refocuses the lens through which researchers ask about the nature of living systems and look for signs of life elsewhere in the cosmos. We hope that you enjoy and — after subscribing to Complexity and Big Biology wherever you go for podcasts — follow up with their equally illuminating conversation with SFI External Professor Andy Dobson on disease ecology.
    Visit our website for more information or to support our science and communication efforts.
    Sara Walker’s Website
    Sara Walker's Google Scholar Page
    Complexity Podcast Episode 2 on The Origins of Life at InterPlanetary Festival
    Big Biology Podcast Website
    Join our Facebook discussion group to meet like minds and talk about each episode.
    Podcast Theme Music by Mitch Mignano.
    Follow us on social media:
    Twitter • YouTube • Facebook • Instagram • LinkedIn

    • 1 hr 6 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
95 Ratings

95 Ratings

MAJTHERAJ ,

Food for thought

I got into this podcast heavily during their COVID-19 Transmission series. Excellent conversations addressing some really fascinating topics. Some of the science and complex systems talk is a bit it is over my head, but I always look forward to these podcasts!

Jed-I jester ,

Episode 37: Aerobatics of mind-play

Laurence Gonzales makes a great conversation partner with Michael Garfield, playfully exploring the wild blue yonder of minds, brains, and the worlds which shape them. Great fun!

kevinpurnell ,

Intellectually Stimulating

Originally found out about Santa Fe listening to the Making Sense podcast episode with David K. and have no looked back. They discus a wide range of different disciplines from the micro to the macro level, all while making it digestible. It’s this reason why I’m pursuing this topic at the professional level.

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