Luigi Anzivino: Science of Magic

 System Files Images Iftf Sr-1454A Futureofscience Mapside Onlymed1.Preview As I recently posted, my colleagues and I at Institute for the Future hosted a conference late last year where we presented our new map, titled A Multiverse of Exploration: The Future of Science 2021. The map focuses on six big stories of science that we think will play out over the next decade: Decrypting the Brain, Hacking Space, Massively Multiplayer Data, Sea the Future, Strange Matter, and Engineered Evolution. As we were conducting the research that informed the map, I was constantly reminded of Arthur C. Clark's famous quote, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." After all, we were exploring real science around invisibility cloaks, quantum consciousness, designer lifeforms -- I'd say those are pretty magical concepts. That's why we were delighted when Luigi Anzivino, scientific content developer at The Exploratorium and a prestidigitator, offered to speak at our conference about the intersection of magic and neuroscience! Check out his presentation above. More presentations to come from the IFTF Future of Science conference...


  1. I’m a little skeptical of the notion that we’re close to understanding consciousness, whether or not we know it has a “quantum” aspect. Learning to create or manipulate consciousness would probably be the most profound technological change since the rise of life in an ostensibly lifeless universe.

    This is the really big problem:

    Solving this problem would certainly mark the beginning of the Official Singularity(tm).

  2. I’ve always loved that quote’s malleability:

    “Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.”

    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.”

  3. Consciousness. It seems to me that as long as we can communicate about communication and make tools in order to make tools we are fully conscious as human beings. But that’s not it. The relationship between neurological, psychological and ideological linguistic processes is key. Our relative awareness of the relationship between these alters as part of a genetically determined evolutionary/historical process. Simply put it is the awareness that you maintain as an adult of the imaginary/philosophical mechanisms used in acquiring language that motivate you to ask different questions about possible worlds that creates ‘consciousness’. There are still evolutionary changes in this process to come. Of course our fundamental motivation is always sexual (with the possibility of love).

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