This is to continue feeding into the YASMIN discussion on whether we need to redesign science itself as part of our STEM to STEAM ideas.

here is my original post:

Where I begin to argue that we have been backing into the future with STEM to STEAM and the emphasis on how to integrate art/design/humanities “into” science engineering and medecine. I want to argue that we are entering a second scientific revolution where science itself is being redesigned fundamentally, and that the ways of knowing captured by the arts, design and humanities have a key design role to play. I argued that Paul Fishwick’s “aesthetic computing’ was one generative approach and Paul had posted a follow up to the discussion.

Here are some other thoughts:

a) Architect and designer Anne Pendleton-Julian with John Seeley Brown argue that we can redesign the human imagination. We normally take curiosity as innate. Blue sky curiosity driven research is embedded in the nature of human curiosity ( see Sundar Sarukkai on the Ethics of Curiosity.

Pragmatic Imagination Paperback by Ann Pendleton-Jullian  (Author), John Seely Brown 

b) In a special section of the July 7 Issue of Science Magazine, researchers argue that AI is getting to the point where it can conduct research ( ).  John Bohannan calls this ‘ the cyberscientist’ and states boldly : “for interpreting data, generating hypotheses and planning experiments, the ultimate goal is to get rid of human intuition”. Whoa. The article ends with a discussion on including AI systems as co authors, because many of the ideas and conclusions were generated by the cyberscientist not by the human, but in collaboration.

So we need artists, designers and humanities researchers, expert in AI, to be part of redesigning science in this area. One example is Fox Harrell, a true hybrid ( BFA arts, Master’s degree in Interactive Telecommunication from New York University, Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science ) has outlined an ambitious agenda in his Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression (MIT Press, 2013).  Harrell discusses, “among other topics, the phantasm as an orienting perspective for developers; expressive epistemologies, or data structures based on subjective human worldviews; morphic semiotics (building on the computer scientist Joseph Goguen’s theory of algebraic semiotics”.


I have argued elsewhere that we assume that the universe is ‘understandable’ using methologies developed using the human brain. What if it isnt ( yeah everything  that matters is dark to the human senses)

c) Finally here is a third line of thought. Many of us thought that neuroaesthetics had come to a dead end ( in spite of the work of Zeki and Changeux and colleagues). But there is a remarkable resurgence in ideas :

There is an emerging community of practice which has begun meeting at Brain on Art( I prefer Art on the Brain version !) conferences. The next one is in Valencia Spain this fall.

If you cant attend, join:  where this community of practice is sharing ideas.

“brings together thought leaders, practitioners and innovators working at the intersection of the arts, sciences, engineering, technology, medicine, and education and developing trans-disciplinary approaches to the study of brain dynamics in action and context, innovation, creativity, aesthetic experiences, emergence of intent and emotional intelligence, emotional buildings and sensing spaces, art therapy, STEAM education, as well as the latest wearable high-definition brain-body technologies.”

We know ( eg see Eric Kandel) about the moment in the history of ideas in 19th century Vienna there was cross fertilisation between leading artists and medical researchers ( including Freud). It changed the history of science.

With Bronac Ferran we have been talking about ‘cognitive extraction’, or the way data mining is now capturing not only human activity but also human thought and phantasies- The art on the brain community is digging deep into this area. And the cyberscientists are beginning to attend.

Roger Malina