Intelligence, Stupidity, Outer-Space, and the Mysteries of the Puzzle

May 14, 2024Paradiso Noord (Tuinzaal) Amsterdam
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Doors open: 19:00
Start programme: 19:30
Paradiso Noord (Tuinzaal)
IJpromenade 2

Earthlings, this episode is about intelligence with superstar scientist David Krakauer, professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

Why has intelligence evolved on earth? What is the nature of collective intelligence and stupidity? What is the connection between a puzzle, mathematics, and expertise? How is machine intelligence different from human intelligence? How are secret codes and alien signals related?

What do communication with aliens, science, cryptology, and solving puzzles have in common? The answer is an effort to measure intelligence. Over the course of several millennia humanity has obsessed over its own intelligence and, in the process, achieved incredible levels of stupidity. At the core of our understanding of both intelligence and stupidity are the roles of facts, rules, and algorithms. In the last few years, the rise of machine learning, discoveries in the study of collective intelligence, and our understanding of nonhuman life, have led to a revolution in our understanding of cognition and a great divergence in the categories of sentient beings. I shall discuss recent ideas and discoveries in the science of intelligence as a complex system -- from tool use to the Rubik's cube - and report on new grounds for optimism and growing sources of despair.

Event held in English with the generous support of the Dutch Institute for Emergent Phenomena at the University of Amsterdam.


  • 19:30–   20:15
    Music TBA
  • 20:30–   21:30
    David Krakauer– 

Talk by

David Krakauer

David Krakauer is the President and William H. Miller Professor of Complex Systems at the Santa Fe Institute. His research explores the evolution of intelligence and stupidity on Earth. This includes studying the evolution of genetic, neural, linguistic, social, and cultural mechanisms supporting memory and information processing, and exploring their shared properties.

He served as the founding Director of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, the Co-Director of the Center for Complexity and Collective Computation, and Professor of Mathematical Genetics all at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Krakauer has been a visiting fellow at the Genomics Frontiers Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, a Sage Fellow at the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of Santa Barbara, a long-term Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and visiting Professor of Evolution at Princeton University. He was included in Wired Magazine’s 2012 Smart List as one of fifty people “who will change the world,” and Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2016 list of visionary leaders advancing global research and business.

Photo by Kate Joyce.

KRAKAUER Portrait by Kate Joyce FINAL
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