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Hardcover | $29.95 Trade | £24.95 | 432 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 35 b&w illus. | May 2017 | ISBN: 9780262036016
Paperback | $19.95 Trade | £14.95 | 432 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 35 b&w illus. | March 2018 | ISBN: 9780262535250
eBook | $20.95 Trade | May 2017 | ISBN: 9780262339292
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Is the Universe a Hologram?

Scientists Answer the Most Provocative Questions
Foreword by Tim O'Reilly


Science today is more a process of collaboration than moments of individual “eurekas.” This book recreates that kind of synergy by offering a series of interconnected dialogues with leading scientists who are asked to reflect on key questions and concepts about the physical world, technology, and the mind. These thinkers offer both specific observations and broader comments about the intellectual traditions that inform these questions; doing so, they reveal a rich seam of interacting ideas.

The persistent paradox of our era is that in a world of unprecedented access to information, many of the most important questions remain unsolved. These conversations (conducted by a veteran science writer, Adolfo Plasencia) reflect this, with scientists addressing such issues as intelligence, consciousness, global warming, energy, technology, matter, the possibility of another earth, changing the past, and even the philosophical curveball, “is the universe a hologram?”

The dialogues discuss such fascinating aspects of the physical world as the function of the quantum bit, the primordial cosmology of the universe, and the wisdom of hewn stones. They offer optimistic but reasoned views of technology, considering convergence culture, algorithms, “Beauty ≠ Truth,” the hacker ethic, AI, and other topics. And they offer perspectives from a range of disciplines on intelligence, discussing subjects that include the neurophysiology of the brain, affective computing, collaborative innovation, and the wisdom of crowds.

Conversations with
Hal Abelson, Ricardo Baeza-Yates, John Perry Barlow, Javier Benedicto, José Bernabéu, Michail Bletsas, Jose M. Carmena, David Casacuberta, Yung Ho Chang, Ignacio Cirac, Gianluigi Colalucci, Avelino Corma, Bernardo Cuenca Grau, Javier Echeverria, José Hernández-Orallo, Hiroshi Ishii, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, Henry Jenkins, Anne Margulies, Mario J. Molina, Tim O’Reilly, John Ochsendorf, Paul Osterman, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Rosalind W. Picard, Howard Rheingold, Alejandro W. Rodriguez, Israel Ruiz, Sara Seager, Richard Stallman, Antonio Torralba, Bebo White, José María Yturralde

About the Author

Adolfo Plasencia, a blogger, writer, and columnist on science and technology, hosted the Spanish television program Tecnópolis for more than six years. With his colleague Douglas Morgenstern, he cofounded the MITUPV Exchange, a joint initiative of MIT and the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV).


“The biggest questions explored in a refreshing and engaging dialogue format by Plasencia with some of the best thinkers our times. Is the Universe a Hologram? provides insight into these questions in a multi-dimensional way and shows us that our future is the collective imagination of all of us together.”
Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab; author of Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future?