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Science AMA Series: I’m Sam Arbesman, a complexity scientist, Scientist in Residence at a venture capital firm, and the author of Overcomplicated, a book which examines technologies that are too complex to understand. AMA!
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Hi reddit! I’m Sam Arbesman, Scientist in Residence at Lux Capital, a venture capital firm investing in emerging science and technology startups, where I help explore what the future of science and tech holds, make sure our firm is at the forefront of these trends, and help the startups we invest in stay ahead of the curve. I’m the author of Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension, which is about how our technologies have become so complex that we don’t really understand them anymore (even if you are one of the experts who made them), and what that means for us as a society. I’m currently thinking a lot about this topic and how we can meet our technologies halfway, even if we can never fully understand them. I’m also the author of the Half-Life of Facts, which examines how knowledge changes over time. My training is in complexity science, computational biology, and applied mathematics (I have a PhD in computational biology), and I use the ideas of complex systems to examine how science and technology change over time and what this means for society. This involves both academic research as well as popular writing, the latter of which has appeared in such places as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Wired, where I was previously a contributing writer. I’ll be back at 11 am EST (8 am PST, 4 pm UTC) to answer your questions, ask me anything! Update: Hi everyone! I had a blast interacting with everyone here, answering questions, and just being part of this fantastic conversation. Thanks so much! Time for me to sign out, but I’ll try to check back and might be able to answer a few more.