Cognitive scientist Joel Chan on metascience, scaling and automating innovation, collective intelligence, and tools for thought.

by fowlertm1 min read27th Aug 20213 comments

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We recently hosted Joel Chan on the Futurati Podcast, and it was a fantastic, thought-provoking conversation.

(Dr. Chan's website, and "Scaling up analogical innovation with crowds and AI")

He has spent years working on platforms which enable collective sensemaking and encourage creativity, and we picked his brain on these and related efforts. 

Some major themes:

  1. What prior attempts have been made to encourage creativity and crowdsourced innovation? Why did they fail?
  2. In academia and research it's typical to treat the 'paper' as the basic relevant unit, but might there be ways to represent individual concepts, arguments, and lines of evidence? If so, what kinds of emergent activity might that enable and encourage?
  3. Are there ways to structure scientific disciplines, so as to better notice gaps in understanding or potentially fertile new directions of inquiry?
  4. What is the role of analogy in cognition and understanding? How might this help us build tools like really advanced semantic search?
  5. Could it be possible to scale and automate large parts of the research and problem-solving process? If so, what does that look like?
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Hey! The podcast sounds exciting! A bit of feedback - it wasn't really trivial for me to find the rss feed to subscribe to the podcast though. It does not seem to be featured separately anywhere on the website?

My admin pointed out the RSS feed (which I assume is what you found) and he's going to see if there's a way to make subscribing easier. 

Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

Huh, let me ask about that! 

Thanks for your interest.