Científicos y delincuentes utilizan caminos paralelos para alcanzar el éxito – gracias a @cooking_ideas


*Extracto (…)

La creatividad se puede desarrollar en muy diversas áreas: uno puede ser un gran músico, como Charles Mingus, un científico innovador, como Rodolfo Llinás, o un narcotraficante audaz, como Frank Lucas (que interpretó Denzel Washington en el biopic “American Gangster”), quien introdujo grandes cantidades de heroína en Estados Unidos utilizando los ataúdes de los soldados fallecidos en Vietnam.

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“Ambos ámbitos están ocupados sobre todo por hombres jóvenes que empiezan a formarse ya de adolescentes, que se introducen en organizaciones más amplias a partir de los 20 años, que viajan a cierta distancia para convertirse en los mejores en su trabajo y que cuentan con mentores que les guían”, según resume Susan Pinker en su libro “La paradoja sexual”.

Pinker, hermana del asombroso Steven Pinker, basa su afirmación en el insólito estudio “The crime-genius connection” [.pdf], que realizó en 2003 el psicólogo Satoshi Kanazawa a partir de las biografías de 280 científicos y que luego cotejó con las biografías de notables delincuentes. Kanawaza descubrió que la mayoría de los grandes hallazgos de los científicos (y de las mejores obras de los artistas) se producen antes de los 25 años de edad, para luego decaer y, en su gran mayoría, vivir de las rentas. Como dice el psicólogo en el prólogo de su estudio,

Paul MacCartney no ha escrito un éxito de ventas en años y se pasa la vida pintando. J. D. Salinger ahora vive en reclusión social y no ha publicado nada en 30 años. Orson Welles no tenía más que 26 años cuando escribió, produjo, dirigió y protagonizó “Ciudadano Kane”, que muchos consideran su mejor película. La relación entre la edad y el genio parece ser la misma en el ámbito científico”.

La explicación que da Kanawaza a esta explosión precoz seguida de una lenta decadencia se llama testosterona, la hormona que define en gran medida la masculinidad:

“Los delincuentes y los genios evolucionan son altamente competitivos en la primera edad adulta pero “se apagan” cuando se casan y tienen hijos. Los fluctuantes niveles de testosterona, que descienden cuando los hombres se casan y tienen hijos, pueden ofrecer la microfundación bioquímica para este mecanismo psicológico”.

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The Economist and the Human Potential

If TED is about “Ideas Worth Spreading,” then the Economist’s Ideas Economy conference series is – as the title would suggest – about ideas worth monetizing. It’s the Economist, stupid! The venerable publication, a notorious late adopter, has realized that despite solid market standing it must reinvent itself to survive, both through a suite of new digital products and by branching out into the conference business. The focus on Innovation (as in “a commercialized original idea,” as the excellent moderator Vijay Vaitheeswaran defined it in his opening remarks) is a natural fit: The Economist has always stood for liberal economic policies and liberal social values – which is typically the kind of fabric that innovation thrives in.


By Tim Leberecht – //designmind.frogdesign.com

If TED is about “Ideas Worth Spreading,” then the Economist’s Ideas Economy conference series is – as the title would suggest – about ideas worth monetizing. It’s the Economist, stupid! The venerable publication, a notorious late adopter, has realized that despite solid market standing it must reinvent itself to survive, both through a suite of new digital products and by branching out into the conference business. The focus on Innovation (as in “a commercialized original idea,” as the excellent moderator Vijay Vaitheeswaran defined it in his opening remarks) is a natural fit: The Economist has always stood for liberal economic policies and liberal social values – which is typically the kind of fabric that innovation thrives in.

The most recent event of the series (full disclosure: frog design was a sponsor) took place last week in New York: With the theme “Human Potential,” 250 business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, and academics discussed for two days how to foster and tap into the creativity and intellect of their employees, stakeholders, peers, and students. The cynic could object and ask “Do we indeed have potential?,” inferring that the term “potential” implies progress and betterment – but are we, humans, even good? And if so, can we get better?

According to Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, the answer is a clear yes. He presented a “history of violence,” arguing that violence is on the decline, which, as he readily admitted, appears to be somewhat counter-intuitive, knowing that there has not been a single day without war in the history of mankind. Attribute this to a recording bias: The magnifying effect of mass media makes violence more visible than ever before. Yet, Pinker cited empirical studies showing that the amount of actions which cause physical harm has steadily decreased over the past centuries. Despite the many atrocities it saw, the 20th century was not the most violent century in terms of absolute numbers (compared to the total world population), and acts of terrorism, Pinker pointed out, can only be described as (statistically) “insignificant.” Clearly, Pinker commented, the US overreacted in response to the 9/11 attacks. Before you cheer about the rise of human enlightenment and moral reasoning, however, consider that the way violence is committed may have become more subliminal, and that, more pressingly, weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a few rogue individuals (or states) can arguably do more harm nowadays – that is, cause ‘ultimate violence’ – than ever before. Additionally, it remains difficult to project future trends based on historical data so that an overly optimistic, non-violent concept of human potential might be flawed because of a bias of retrospective. In fact, the Rational Optimist‘s great blind spot is that it cannot look into the “heart of darkness,” that it has no means to explain or forecast truly irrational behavior.

On top of that, it is, of course, particularly hard to assess the human potential when you are human. Is human potential limited to humans? Can humans really fully unleash their own potential or will it take artificial intelligence to do so? Were the attendees in New York able to realize human potential or rather its impediment? The conference, for the most part, stayed away from such provocations. Notwithstanding the occasional excursion into macro-economic or philosophical debate, most of the program was devoted to more pragmatic topics such as employee motivation, knowledge management, institutional and non-institutional learning, and creative thinking. Leer más “The Economist and the Human Potential”