Reinventing Intelligence: Why collective learning makes humans so different
Speaker: David Christian, Macquarie University
Introduced by: Brent Schlender
David Christian, WCU visiting professor at seoul
Understanding humans : like ants on elephants
Scholarship of humanity – we do not have a whole view.
Failed attempts to define and understand humanity
1964 – humans as tool users (Louis and Merry Leaky)
Jane Goodall (showed chimps and Gorillas, crows using tools)
Man the Hunter?
Many other primates hunt
Humans have a rich emotional life ?
Yes but so do animals
Only humans have language. Again primates and other species have some language
Humans are exceptionally brainy ? But homo florens and homo erectus were brainy too.
what the ant needs is helicopter Get farther back for perspective with less detail but more correctness. there is the view of earth from space. Astronauts - initial they point at their home country, then in two days at their continent and then they are only aware of one earth.
Big History Universe 13.7 billion years ago EArth 4.5 billions years first living organisms 3.8 billion years first multi cells 600 million dinosaurs dead 67 million compress it by a billion the earth at night. With lights Human energy use now is 230,000 calories per person per day. Early industrial 100,000 calories per person per day
A new epoch, One species now controls and influences the biosphere
What happened, what is going on
He fears the exponential growth of human population. Calls it a terrifying spike.
250,000 years ago in a section africa and then expand across Africa and then over Asia. Then big moves 60,000 years ago across water to Australia and then into Siberia and then to the Americas.
What is the source of our creativity ? Collective Learning
Crossed a threshold in communication efficiency.
Enable collective learning. Skills and learning do not die with the one who learned or discovered it.
Generation upon generation knowledge accumulates.
Need to grow without increasing biosphere load
As we got richer did we get happier ?
happiness increases up a very low income threshold then stays flat.
Reduce our footprint but keep everyone happy.