Alien Crash Site Invades Complexity: Tamara van der Does on Sci-Fi Science, with Guest Co-host Caitlin McShea

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By Santa Fe Institute and Michael Garfield. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

The consequence of living in a complex world: one tiny tweak can lead to massive transformation. Set the stage a slightly different way, and the entire play might unfold differently. This path-dependency shows up in both the science fiction premise and the hypothesis of scientific research: What can we learn about the hidden order of our cosmos by adjusting just a single variable?

Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and every other week we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the deepest mysteries of the universe.

This week, Complexity Podcast becomes its own experiment after an invasion by our sister podcast, InterPlanetary Festival’s Alien Crash Site. SFI Miller Omega Program Manager Caitlin McShea joins as guest co-host for a conversation with SFI Program Postdoctoral Fellow Tamara van der Does (who models belief change using techniques inspired by statistical physics) for a three-headed conversation totally befitting the subject matter: a work of speculative “sci-fi science” produced by SFI’s postdoctoral researchers during a 72-hour lock-in complex systems charette. Their question: how might an extraterrestrial civilization much like our own work if their biology required three-parent families? We discuss the interplay between individual and society, the role of counterfactuals and speculation in both scientific research and sci-fi, and what technology she’d hope to find left in the wake of an alien visitation.

Tune in two weeks from now for a return to our regularly scheduled programming...

If you value our research and communication efforts, please consider making a donation at santafe.edu/give — and/or rating and reviewing us at Apple Podcasts. You can find numerous other ways to engage with us at santafe.edu/engage. Thank you for listening!

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Podcast theme music by Mitch Mignano.

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Go deeper with these additional resources:

• Tamara’s Website, Google Scholar Page & Twitter
InterPlanetary Festival Website
Alien Crash Site Podcast

In 72 hours of sci-fi, postdocs transmit parental model of alien civilization [video]
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69 episodes