Simplicity, Complexity, and The Future of The Web

The web is an intricately integrated system of extraordinary complexity, enabling developers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to work together, expressing a vast array of styles and visions in creating user experiences that profoundly impact our daily lives.

But is the inherent power and pervasive influence of the web due only to its ever-increasing complexity? Is there no unity or simplicity operating beneath the surface of this complexity, allowing for all the parts to function as an integrated whole? What are some of the theoretical and practical implications of recognizing how the web stack is embedded within the ‘science stack’, and is itself governed and made possible by the laws of physics?

Join us for this groundbreaking presentation that explores some of the interconnections between simplicity and complexity, and what these new insights may mean for the future of the web.


Juan Francisco Tellez
Co-founder, Param Media
Digital Communications, UBC Faculty of Medicine

After receiving his computer science degree from Dalhousie University, Juan went on to co-found Param Media, a publishing, media production, and web design company based in Vancouver that strives tirelessly to produce works that embody the highest metaphysical ideas. He also helps manage web strategies for the UBC Faculty of Medicine.

Juan envisions a more simplistic, powerful, and unified web. His partnerships with academics and entrepreneurs allow him to explore the abstract theories underpinning science and technology, with a focus on translating that knowledge into practical business applications.


John H Spencer, PhD
Author

John was awarded his PhD from the University of Liverpool in 2008, specializing in the Philosophical Foundations of Quantum Physics, where he had the rare opportunity of being supervised and examined in both the Department of Physics and the Department of Philosophy.

Combining the highest levels of abstract thought with powerful personal experience and extensive scholarly research, John makes his discoveries accessible to a wide-ranging audience.

John is the author of the forthcoming book, ‘The Eternal Law: Ancient Greek Philosophy, Modern Physics, and Ultimate Reality’, which makes accessible to a non-specialist audience some of the deepest and most fascinating ancient philosophical ideas underpinning modern physics.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Very interesting talk! Exceptionally different from what we, as developers, are used to. Mind opening!

    June 2, 2012

  • Juan Francisco T.

    It was a very enjoyable evening, and everyone helped to make it a successful presentation. For those who are interested in exploring these ideas further, John’s book The Eternal Law (http://TheEternalLaw.com) will be available by the end of June, and we are joining several other presenters at The Beacon of Mind event, July 8, 2012, Chan Centre, UBC (http://BeaconOfMind.com). Please feel free to send us your comments or questions; <[masked]>; <[masked]>

    May 31, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    @Stuart. I once attempted to read a short book for undergraduates that I fondly recall as "Hegel for Dummies". I must say even this version of Hegel-for-dummies was very difficult to follow. But Hegel was also a devout Lutheran. So his monumental philosophy, perhaps, restates his monotheistic faith in the existence of something All-Powerful and that history is linear. Quite fascinating to consider Western science and philosophy as a reaction to the psychological power of Christian monotheism

    May 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    @Stuart. One of the truly memorable remarks I've heard was by a Cambridge academic on the BBC. IIRC, the quest for a unified theory is really a phenomenon that finds its roots in Eurocentric monotheism. Science is extraordinarily powerful. It has lead to, for example, the creation of atomic weapons. But there are cultures that have not sought to discover the "ultimate power" of the universe. But rather, for example --- harmony and balance --- referring here to Taoist philosophy in China

    May 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    @Stuart. Yes, facts trump "fuzzy logic" :)

    May 26, 2012

  • Stuart

    @Anne. These are are all open to our interpretation, but some aspects are beyond the realm of scientific enquiry. Those that we can test can indeed be clouded by our own judgements and suppositions. If the facts disagree with the picture of the universe we have painted for ourselves, we still cannot change the facts. Wonder at the beauty and the poetry of the real world, but don't rely upon human emotion to tell you how it came to be.

    May 26, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    @stuart.

    But would a genuine discourse on what "good / truth / beauty / poetry / unity / harmony" means cloud the "objectivity" of science.?

    The problem historically is certain expressions of every religion / metaphysical system have claimed exclusive knowlege of "Truth" thus contributing to untold centuries of human misery and war.

    May 26, 2012

  • Stuart

    The colourful and poetic language used by the award-winning scientists that were discussed, lets us see the world through their eyes and appreciate their perspective on the universe. We let them beat a path through the scientific method, push through the logic and pull apart the numbers, so we can stand at the precipice with them and witness the beauty of the universe.

    The pitfall we must avoid, is to allow our human desire to always seek deeper meaning to cloud the scientific process. Science

    May 26, 2012

  • Stuart

    This was a great evening and sparked a lot of interesting discussion.

    May 26, 2012

  • Arne O.

    This link shows a deeper faith in the gist: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Erwin_Schr%C3%B6dinger
    My favourite is :
    Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth, with certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you ... For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.

    May 25, 2012

  • Arne O.

    This link is about an agreement that was made regarding what could and could not reasonably be talked about, pending further revelation/findings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_interpretation

    May 25, 2012

  • John T.

    Epic talk.

    May 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    According to Dr. John Spencer: IIUC ... unity, harmony, simplicity, truth, beauty, poetry ... are common themes underlying contemporary physics. As if the physics of our time is rejoining with the ancient Greek philosophers. The only thing missing from the formula (and I did not get to ask Dr. Spencer why it was excluded) is goodness.

    May 25, 2012

  • Anton K

    Indeed. Would be nice to skim throuhg the slides once more.

    May 25, 2012

  • Vladimir I.

    Very unorthodox approach to the subject. I expected something completely different, but counting that I was thinking about what was presented whole night result is: I like it.

    Ps. Can we get slides from presentation?

    May 25, 2012

  • Ali T.

    I am wondering if we get a copy of the slides?

    May 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wonderful, inspiring and thought provoking presentation.

    May 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    It feels like this talk could be the beginning of a series of talks exploring the themes presented. One such theme being the relationship between intuition and logic in the creative process.

    May 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    One of the most interesting "take-aways" from the talk is that the great physicists (Newton, Einstein, Shrodinger, Frolich, Penrose, etc) all seem to have reached the understanding there are limitations to logic and physics, and they moved past these limitations into metaphysical theory and poetic language.

    May 25, 2012

  • Kat C.

    I thought John and Juan had a very creative approach to the topic. As a designer with a Mathematics background, I've always been living in these areas between science and emotion. I'm so glad that these connections are being exposed to a wider audience. Had a great time with my first Drupal meetup last night. Thanks!

    May 25, 2012

  • Mohamed A.

    Was a great meeting, it's the first time I hear a session about the connection between science, the web and emotions/feelings. Was great stuff and I met amazing people. Thanks everyone who made it happen.

    May 25, 2012

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