Arts / Culture

Video Games Will Make Us Smarter

by robertrosenkranz on June 16, 2017

Robert Rosenkranz introduces the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate Video Games Will Make Us Smarter

Video games have long received blame in the media for promoting violence and desensitizing players to it, but in recent years, many video game creators have begun developing games that focus on critical social issues facing mankind, such as climate change, poverty and so on. The video game industry continues to experience considerable growth, but is this growth benefiting players and making them more in-tune with the modern social plights of humankind, or is this growth contributing to antisocial behavior among players while making them increasingly numb to extreme violence?

robertrosenkranzVideo Games Will Make Us Smarter

teamLab: Pioneering the Future of Art

by robertrosenkranz on January 4, 2017

In physics, spacetime is any mathematical model that combines space and time into a single interwoven continuum. As the digital domain rapidly expands the human relationship to both space and reality, not to mention dimensions of time, the idea of achieving a unified consciousness is hardly abstract. teamLab, a digital art collective based in Japan, is pioneering the intersection of space, time, reality and consciousness through immersive, interactive digital artworks.

teamLab is a collective of young Japanese creatives, drawn from fields as diverse as computer science, mathematics, graphics design, art history, and philosophy. Working collaboratively in a scruffy Tokyo office building, the vibe is of a tech start-up, with dozens of twenty some-things working at screens in cramped quarters. There are no private offices, and no indications of a hierarchy of any sort. All share equally in the profits. Large scale commercial projects for shopping malls and corporate promotions pay the rent, but clearly people are there because of their commitment to art and to the creative process. While artists have for centuries past employed armies of studio assistants, the collective, cross-disciplinary, tech-savvy approach TeamLab is pioneering might well represent the future. Founded by Toshiyuki Inoko, teamLab is breaking new ground in the art world to reveal new dimensions of art making and interactivity.

robertrosenkranzteamLab: Pioneering the Future of Art

Recommended Reading: Fractured Republic by Yuval Levin

by robertrosenkranz on November 4, 2016

Given the near-constant wave of controversy, name-calling and finger-pointing surrounding the upcoming presidential election, the polarization of the nation’s two primary political parties has perhaps never been more evident. Yuval Levin’s “Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism” looks to examine the root causes of the nation’s notable division, and it does so by discussing, at length, one of those root causes he believes is especially significant: nostalgia.


robertrosenkranzRecommended Reading: Fractured Republic by Yuval Levin

Debate Opening Remarks: Are Lifespans Long Enough?

by robertrosenkranz on March 23, 2016

What if human beings didn’t have to grow old and die?  That’s how we framed the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, “Lifespans Are Long Enough.”

Life expectancy has increased significantly in the last hundred years thanks to medical advancements, among other sociological changes.  As aging and biotechnology research rapidly progresses, new treatments have emerged that some believe can “cure” aging.  What are the ethical and sociological implications of increasing human lifespans from 78.8 years to 125 years to even 1,000 years, as our debater Aubrey de Grey has famously claimed is possible?

robertrosenkranzDebate Opening Remarks: Are Lifespans Long Enough?

Recommended Reading: A Troublesome Inheritance by Nicholas Wade

by robertrosenkranz on March 14, 2016

If scientists purport to serve society’s need to uncover answers that illuminate the nature of our world, why would they leave open questions unexplored?

Yet, in his 2014 book on modern evolution, science writer and former New York Times science editor Nicholas Wade suggests that the pressure of political correctness has forced us into exactly this predicament.

In A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, Wade argues that science seems to be ignoring rather concrete evidence that identifies genetic differences between human beings. Heads of researchers turn away from the subject, he writes, due to institutionalized fear of “being smeared with insinuations of racism” and jeopardized careers.

robertrosenkranzRecommended Reading: A Troublesome Inheritance by Nicholas Wade