Stewart Brand and Chris Anderson: Mammoths resurrected, geoengineering and other thoughts from a futurist
Stewart Brand - Environmentalist, futurist
Since the counterculture '60s, Stewart Brand has been creating our internet-worked world. Now, with biotech accelerating four times faster than digital technology, Stewart Brand has a bold new plan ... Full bio
Chris Anderson - TED Curator
After a long career in journalism and publishing, Chris Anderson became the curator of the TED Conference in 2002 and has developed it as a platform for identifying and disseminating ideas worth spreading. Full bio
you founded this magazine.
It's the original one.
that I was part of at the time,
of hippies and New Left.
at where the interesting flow is
as an army officer,
to find originalities:
else is looking,
the hippies were very romantic
it was a power device.
fold, or mutilate.
was kind of a counter-counterculture thing
Buckminster Fuller's idea
define the world in interesting ways.
disappeared one week,
and engineers disappeared one week,
about power to the people.
and Steve Wozniak
don't try to change human nature,
and it does not even bend,
if you want to make the world better
differently like the New Left was,
that go in the right direction.
this is one of the first images,
Earth from outer space.
that in the spring of '66,
on a rooftop in San Francisco,
something that Fuller talked about,
that the Earth is flat
in terms of its resources,
that it's a sphere
on my hundred micrograms
which were right in front of me
they were sort of fanned out like this.
they are on a curved surface.
I would see that even more clearly,
the circle of Earth from space.
in space for 10 years --
or looking at just parts of the Earth.
a photograph of the whole Earth yet?
and senators, secretaries got it,
in the Politburo got it,
Catalog came out,
lazy and ingenious
that you see --
Whole Earth banners and so on --
way to make the system go
the whole system around in a big way,
it will adjust to the tweak.
among many other things,
in the environmental movement,
taking on a lot of,
almost believe are heresies.
a couple of those.
and Arctic region, used to look like.
used to look like that.
and the Serengeti now,
throughout the world.
is to not only bring back those animals
stabilization system over the long run,
there in the background
a 200-year goal.
the extinction rate
in the background.
of bio-abundance will take longer,
should think of extinctions.
concerns right now
at a faster rate than ever in history.
of the Sixth Extinction
of the Sixth Extinction.
the de-extinction business,
with Revive & Restore,
going on with extinction.
set of data out there
indicated by the yellow triangles,
66 million years ago
for a paper I wrote,
75 percent of all the species
of five-and-a-half-million species,
one and a half million.
identified every year.
going on out there.
kind of used in strange ways.
in the New York Times,
Broad Studies Show."
and it mentions that since 1500,
have gone extinct in the oceans,
none in the last 50 years.
into the story, and it's saying,
are so overfishing the wild fishes,
the fish populations in the oceans
are probably going to go extinct.
"Oh my God, start panicking,
all the species in the oceans."
looking into in a little more detail,
that are considered threatened
for the Conservation of Nature, the IUCN.
surveying the loss of wildlife,
for more centuries and millennia,
of a sixth extinction.
a moral responsibility to,
the thing that they are looking at,
maybe no one listens.
moral this or moral that --
"precautionary principle" --
to basically say no to things.
fish extinction, animal extinction,
and there is losses going on.
are caused by agriculture,
and basically makes it more condensed,
vertical farms in town,
about how to grow pot in basements,
vegetables inside containers --
we can do for nature.
of a destruction of the landscape is good.
bringing back species, rewilding ...
What's the story with these guys?
at peak children being alive.
fewer and fewer children.
of human population,
maybe nine and a half billion,
but probably going down.
that plays out in Europe
of abandoned farmland now,
corridors in Europe.
so many of these farms are connected
reforested wildlife corridors,
in this case, to Spain.
to the Netherlands.
There's lynx coming back.
I had no idea such a thing existed.
to the rest of Europe.
which is kind of interesting.
They've been missed.
when you bring back the predators,
and large animals --
with sharp teeth and claws --
for a really rich ecosystem.
more dramatic rewilding project
these terrifying woolly mammoths?
are the closest relative
genetically very close.
in evolutionary history.
are closer to woolly mammoths
to African elephants
with George Church at Harvard,
for four major traits
genome of the woolly mammoth,
"ancient DNA analysis."
into living Asian elephant cell lines,
their proper place thanks to CRISPR.
like you did with genetic engineering.
basically, one allele,
of another allele.
Asian elephant germline cells
of the traits that you're going for
a surrogate mother,
by conservation biologists,
curly-trunked, Asian elephant
in the sub-Arctic.
to get them there?
they don't like snow, right?"
bigger than people.
you can start a little thing,
is tricky business, anyway.
the surrogate Asian elephant mothers?"
says, "That's all right.
and grow them that way."
next century, maybe,"
this week in Nature
in which they've grown a lamb
its gestation period.
want a world where --
thousands of these things
working on the woolly mammoth seriously:
we're kind of in the middle;
that are doing the genetics in the lab;
old scientist named Zimov
who has bought into the system,
Zimov have been, for 25 years,
of Siberia that is pure tundra.
of the animals on the landscape there
we saw lots of animals.
and then there's the boreal forest.
There's just a few animals there.
a lot of grazing animals:
they're bringing in some bison,
that they used to be.
the moss, back into grassland.
and releasing a lot of carbon dioxide
25 square miles,
very absorbent to sunlight,
when snow is on the ground.
around the North Pole --
around the North Pole --
biomes in the world,
Sergey Zimov and Nikita
they got for nothing,
"... and they make no dung!"
animals do, including mammoths.
what conservation biologists call
pandas in China or wherever --
of making life good for that animal
of creatures and plants,
of being self-managing,
can back off and say,
the destructive invasives,
that you're dreaming of de-extincting
like to move on to
how mammoths might help
you've thought about a lot.
is one of the most awful curses
to climate change.
this graph here, or this map.
that you get from headlines
calls "narrative violation."
is master of putting it out there --
of greenhouse gases, especially CO2,
but it's not the whole story,
than these fragmentary stories.
plus water via sunshine.
turn that into plant matter.
with satellites and other things,
over the last 33 years or so,
leaf action going on.
what ecologists call "primary production."
goes up with this.
that is sucking it down
and goes right back up,
of what you need to bear in mind,
and engineering climate
tweaking around with the system
see it's still getting better,
back off half a turn.
"Not all green is created equal."
the magnificence of the rainforest
or grass or something like that.
every form of plant is increasing.
left out of this study
in the oceans.
the most important thing.
that create the atmosphere
James Lovelock has been insisting;
especially of ocean life,
of too much CO2 in the atmosphere,
the ocean doing with that?
the sea level rise,
with more global warming.
to some of the coral reefs,
a lot of bleaching from overheating.
in our previous session on the main stage,
is worth experimenting with enough
in the warming aspect of all of this,
but usable research,
do more than tweak.
we're going to talk about
was just published by Yuval Harari.
of humans is to become as gods.
And you've probably finished the book.
completely remake ourselves
brand-new chapter of history.
likes provoking people.
I'm excited and nervous.
is trying hard to lean towards
part of me is saying,
be a little bit careful
isn't it, for TED?
a little bit schizophrenic.
statement that you made
Whole Earth Catalog,
and might as well get good at it."
you've upgraded that statement.
is that documentation
from somebody --
it hasn't forgiven me yet!
when somebody quoted it,
what you originally wrote
and might as well get used to it.'"
the stories we tell ourselves
and might as well get good at it,"
called "Whole Earth Discipline:
basically saying that we are as gods
and have to get good at it.
the psychological reaction
as you talk about geoengineering
is that humans should be gods --
narrative about hubris.
really sure of yourself,
cautionary tale to always have at hand.
I've kept for myself is:
I am dead wrong about.
with scientists these days,
looks pretty good,
of not only suspicions
away from fake news.
of this just for the environment:
is that, whether we like it or not,
of what happens on planets,
doing it intentionally.
getting good at being a god?
or systems we can nudge and play with?
to Buckminster Fuller
and anthropologist and biologist
basically look at themselves.
you want to always be looking at things.
approach to geoengineering
was talking about earlier --
see how it responds,
that people say, quite rightly,
how the climate system works.
you don't understand."
applies to the human body,
and we're kind of glad that it has."
that is so large and complex
an anti-hubristic approach.
and dialogue and all these other things
about earlier with Sebastian [Thrun].
is looking for social license,
that I think is a good one,
problematic, deep issues
paying close attention
as it's going forward,
as it's going forward --
which is fantastic --
that has worked pretty well so far.
and I are optimistic is we read
"The Better Angels of Our Nature,"
of: things are capable of getting better,
that happen and apply those further.
on that optimistic note,
are willing to challenge yourself
allowing yourself to be too certain
and inspiring, actually,
About the speakers:Stewart Brand - Environmentalist, futurist
Since the counterculture '60s, Stewart Brand has been creating our internet-worked world. Now, with biotech accelerating four times faster than digital technology, Stewart Brand has a bold new plan ...
Why you should listen
With biotech accelerating four times faster than digital technology, the revival of extinct species is becoming possible. Stewart Brand plans to not only bring species back but restore them to the wild.
Brand is already a legend in the tech industry for things he’s created: the Whole Earth Catalog, The WELL, the Global Business Network, the Long Now Foundation, and the notion that “information wants to be free.” Now Brand, a lifelong environmentalist, wants to re-create -- or “de-extinct” -- a few animals that’ve disappeared from the planet.
Granted, resurrecting the woolly mammoth using ancient DNA may sound like mad science. But Brand’s Revive and Restore project has an entirely rational goal: to learn what causes extinctions so we can protect currently endangered species, preserve genetic and biological diversity, repair depleted ecosystems, and essentially “undo harm that humans have caused in the past.”
His newest book is Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.
Stewart Brand | Speaker | TED.com
Chris Anderson - TED Curator
After a long career in journalism and publishing, Chris Anderson became the curator of the TED Conference in 2002 and has developed it as a platform for identifying and disseminating ideas worth spreading.
Why you should listen
Chris Anderson is the Curator of TED, a nonprofit devoted to sharing valuable ideas, primarily through the medium of 'TED Talks' -- short talks that are offered free online to a global audience.
Chris was born in a remote village in Pakistan in 1957. He spent his early years in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where his parents worked as medical missionaries, and he attended an American school in the Himalayas for his early education. After boarding school in Bath, England, he went on to Oxford University, graduating in 1978 with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics.
Chris then trained as a journalist, working in newspapers and radio, including two years producing a world news service in the Seychelles Islands.
Back in the UK in 1984, Chris was captivated by the personal computer revolution and became an editor at one of the UK's early computer magazines. A year later he founded Future Publishing with a $25,000 bank loan. The new company initially focused on specialist computer publications but eventually expanded into other areas such as cycling, music, video games, technology and design, doubling in size every year for seven years. In 1994, Chris moved to the United States where he built Imagine Media, publisher of Business 2.0 magazine and creator of the popular video game users website IGN. Chris eventually merged Imagine and Future, taking the combined entity public in London in 1999, under the Future name. At its peak, it published 150 magazines and websites and employed 2,000 people.
This success allowed Chris to create a private nonprofit organization, the Sapling Foundation, with the hope of finding new ways to tackle tough global issues through media, technology, entrepreneurship and, most of all, ideas. In 2001, the foundation acquired the TED Conference, then an annual meeting of luminaries in the fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design held in Monterey, California, and Chris left Future to work full time on TED.
He expanded the conference's remit to cover all topics, including science, business and key global issues, while adding a Fellows program, which now has some 300 alumni, and the TED Prize, which grants its recipients "one wish to change the world." The TED stage has become a place for thinkers and doers from all fields to share their ideas and their work, capturing imaginations, sparking conversation and encouraging discovery along the way.
In 2006, TED experimented with posting some of its talks on the Internet. Their viral success encouraged Chris to begin positioning the organization as a global media initiative devoted to 'ideas worth spreading,' part of a new era of information dissemination using the power of online video. In June 2015, the organization posted its 2,000th talk online. The talks are free to view, and they have been translated into more than 100 languages with the help of volunteers from around the world. Viewership has grown to approximately one billion views per year.
Continuing a strategy of 'radical openness,' in 2009 Chris introduced the TEDx initiative, allowing free licenses to local organizers who wished to organize their own TED-like events. More than 8,000 such events have been held, generating an archive of 60,000 TEDx talks. And three years later, the TED-Ed program was launched, offering free educational videos and tools to students and teachers.
Chris Anderson | Speaker | TED.com