Friday, August 22, 2014

Essays on steering the future

FQXi has announced the winners of its 2014 essay contest. Here is an excerpt from the first-place winner:
We do not get anywhere with bemoaning that most people do not understand climate models or do not read information brochures about genetically modified crops. It is time to wake up. We’ve tried long enough to educate them. It doesn’t work. The idea of the educated and well-informed citizen is an utopia. It doesn’t work because education doesn’t please people. They don’t like to think. It is too costly and it’s not the information they want. What they want is to know how much an estimated risk conflict with their priorities, how much an estimated benefit agrees with their values. They tolerate risk and uncertainty, but they don’t tolerate science lectures. If a webpage takes more than 3 seconds to load it’ll lose 40% of visitors. Split-second looks at photos. That’s the realistic attention span. That’s what we have to work with.
I liked my essay better, of course.

1 comment:

  1. Roger, your essay obviously required a diatribe in order to win. If that long winded crap essay was worthy of first prize then here is mine for next year....nice and short:

    "The people are cattle. Pen them up in slums" The End.

    Oh wait. Thats already happening and its not anything newsworthy so disregard.