Noema Magazine

Noema Magazine

Issue 1 - Spring 2020
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Noema is a magazine exploring the transformations sweeping our world. We publish essays, interviews, reportage, videos and art on the overlapping realms of philosophy, governance, geopolitics, economics, technology and culture. In doing so, our unique approach is to get out of the usual lanes and cross disciplines, social silos and cultural boundaries. From artificial intelligence and the climate crisis to the future of democracy and capitalism, Noema Magazine seeks a deeper understanding of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.

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United States
Berggruen Institute
NOK 166.08

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1 min.
anicka yi

Born in 1971 in Seoul, South Korea, Anicka Yi is a conceptual artist whose work lies at the intersection of fragrance, cuisine and science. She is known for installations that engage the senses, especially the sense of smell, and for her collaborations with biologists and chemists. Noema is a magazine exploring the transformations sweeping our world. From artificial intelligence and the climate crisis to the future of democracy and capitalism, we seek a deeper understanding of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century. Published by the Berggruen Institute, Noema produces thoughtful, rigorous, adventurous pieces by voices from both inside and outside the institute. While committed to using journalism to help build a more sustainable and equitable world, we do not promote any particular set of national, economic or partisan interests.…

6 min.
the great acceleration

With this first issue of Noema Magazine, the Berggruen Institute is launching its own publication after several years of partnerships, first with HuffPost and later The Washington Post, through our WorldPost platform. In ancient Greek, the word noēma means “thinking” or “the object of thought.” And that is our intention: to delve deeper into the issues, at greater length and with more historical and social context, in order to illuminate pathways of thought that are not possible to pursue through the immediacy of daily media. Published online throughout the year and with an annual print edition, Noema will cover the range of our institute’s concerns, from art and philosophy to renovating democratic governance, digital capitalism, geopolitics and what it means to be human in the age of AI and biotechnology. Our…

25 min.
pandemic time: a distributed doomsday clock

Venkatesh Rao is a writer, management consultant and 2019–20 Berggruen Institute fellow. His work focuses on the intersection of technology trends, organization design and temporality. In early February 2020, as COVID-19 was spreading rapidly across the world, a far more dramatic phenomenon in absolute terms was playing out in the skies: the sudden dimming of the red supergiant star Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse is what is known as a variable star — a natural clock in the sky that exhibits a complex, imperfectly predictable pattern of dimming and brightening driven by multiple loosely related stellar phenomena, much like the seasonal flu here on Earth. Was the star’s dimming an anomalous phenomenon or a regular part of its variation, astronomers wondered? Was Betelgeuse perhaps about to go supernova, as theories of stellar physics predict it…

27 min.
from the anthropocene to the microbiocene

Tobias Rees is the founding director of the Berggruen Institute’s Transformations of the Human program, the Reid Hoffman professor of humanities at the New School for Social Research and a fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. “The pangolin is a quadruped brought forth alive and perfectly formed. … The pangolin has scales. … The scales of the pangolin are only fixed at one end, and capable of being erected like the quills of the porcupine, at pleasure. … The pangolin can roll itself into a ball, like the hedge hog, and present the points of its scales to the enemy, which effectually defend it. It is about three or four feet long, the tail as much more; has a small head, very long nose, short thick neck, long body, legs very…

18 min.
the long shadow of the future

Steven Weber is a professor at the school of information and the department of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. Nils Gilman is the deputy editor of Noema Magazine. We’re living through a real-time natural experiment on a global scale. The differential performance of countries, cities and regions in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic is a live test of the effectiveness, capacity and legitimacy of governments, leaders and social contracts. The progression of the initial outbreak in different countries followed three main patterns. Countries like Singapore and Taiwan represented Pattern A, where (despite many connections to the original source of the outbreak in China) vigilant government action effectively cut off community transmission, keeping total cases and deaths low. China and South Korea represented Pattern B: an initial uncontrolled outbreak…

16 min.
noema insights: how will covid-19 change the world?

We asked: Yuval Noah Harari, Elif Shafak, Eric Schmidt, Lorraine Daston, Patrick Soon-Shiong, Dambisa Moyo, John Gray, Davide Casaleggio, Onora O’Neill, Jared Diamond, Li Jinglin, Safiya Noble, Pascal Lamy, David Brin, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Bill Joy, Joseph Nye and Bing Song. Tel Aviv “In the next few months, politicians will remake the world. During these few months, the world is going to be fluid and malleable. We could choose to deal with the current crisis through global solidarity and cooperation, which will result in a more unified and harmonious world. We could also choose to deal with it through nationalistic isolation and competition, which will probably make the crisis far more acute and will result in a more fragmented and hostile world. We could choose to deal with the crisis by imposing totalitarian surveillance…