Steven Johnson in conversation with Brian Eno

Two of our happy mutants: the science writer Stephen Johnson and the oblique strategist Brian Eno on the nature of art, literature, and science.

Eno spoke at length about his definition of art and culture, and its continued importance in an era increasingly focused on STEM values, where it can sometimes feel as though the goal of our education leaders and politicians is simply to train a new generation of C++ programmers. I listened to it, appropriately enough, driving up the 280 through Silicon Valley after a visit to the Computer History Museum, and it struck me that Eno had made an essential point about the role of art in both creating and making sense of social transformation.

"We're going to be in a world of ultrafast change," he says. "It's really accelerating at the moment and will continue to. And we're going to have to somehow stay coherent. What are we going to be doing? I think we're going to be even more full-time artists than we are now."

In Conversation With Brian Eno [How We Get to Next]