Davos to Edge

January 2014 kicks off with The World Economic Forum at Davos and a host of trend predictions from esteemed sources. Notable is WEF’s Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014. Highlights of the agenda are the Top 10 Trends, Regional Challenges, Future Agenda and a stand out for us, Network Thinking.

The entire report is recommended reading, however we urge you to spend some time with the interactive network of 80 councils. The list of councils alone is informative as well as how they cluster to address interdisciplinary complex issues.

Network thinking pushes us to look not only at clusters but edges – the lines in networks that connect or even take us to a periphery. Edge.org is an exemplar of reaching out and linking great minds.

Every year Edge asks it’s members to pose a question for all to answer. The 2014 question:

“WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Ideas change and the times we live in change. Perhaps the biggest change today is the rate of change. What established  scientific idea is ready to be moved aside so that science can advance?”

The 174 essay answers are sure to incite joy, displeasure, and perplexity. The overall theme suggests massive reevaluation is afoot without tossing out some of the fundamental scientific principles. A particularly insightful essay is Melanie Swan’sThe Scientific Method. She weaves good points to support the idea of multiple “scientific methods”. Based on the luxury we have today of colossal data sets, previously inaccessible before a connected and digigitized world, researchers can now utilize big data, crowdsourcing and synthetic biology to answer questions. The monniker – computational science.

Her closing statement sums well …

“Epistemologically, how ‘we know’ and the truth of the world and reality is changing. In some sense we may be in a current intermediary ‘dark ages node’ where the multiplicity of future science methods can pull us into a new era of enlightenment just as surely as the traditional scientific method pulled us into modernity.”

Pulling us into a new era is Ayasdi [ai-yaz-dee] that means “to seek” in Cherokee. This is a novel breed of data analysis company that flips our traditional mode of asking a specific question of data to instead mapping the data for insight revealing patterns.

Kick back and enjoy reading and watching what great minds see as our unfolding future … at the very least it will not be boring!