“This means that we are a people who now live in that shadow world of quasi-existence. What matters to us is not necessarily what is real, but what is possible given the state of things. This is a big change, and constitutes a fundamental shift in the way we understand the world.”
Goethe and Tagore, separated by time and contexts, but joined in their great felicity over the literary idiom, show similar quests in the understanding of the sciences. It is alluring to jump to the conclusion of a phony and fashionable unity; that science and arts are the same after all; and literature, music, mathematics, and the physical sciences are all manifestations of the common muse.
A startling achievement in a first novel, the work seems to have already touched a chord since it has taken Italy and Europe by storm and sold copies in the millions. It was undertaken by a young Italian physicist at age 27, who tells a haunting story. Better yet, he’s a natural, adept with characterization, knowing how to captivate and hold his readers.
“The Internet, of course, is a huge source of data. Every click and keystroke can be analyzed. Every movement we make with our cell phone produces data about our location, every call on the phone describes our circle of contacts. Credit cards paint our portraits as consumers. Growing numbers of security cameras track our movements in stores and city streets.”
Jonathon Keats’s article from Popular Science recounts the work of the guru of artificial intelligence, John Koza, an adjunct professor at Stanford University. He developed a system of linked computers that he calls an “invention machine.” The machine has been awarded a United States Patent (!), the “first intellectual property protections ever granted to a nonhuman designer.”
“The golden ratio is also quite ubiquitous in art and in architecture. We find it by placing a rectangle around the Parthenon (Athens, Greece) and the United Nations building (New York), as well as at the doors of the Cathedral of Chartres (France). Let’s not forget that the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. must contain the golden ratio as do all regular pentagons.”