A1 .While von neumann’s importance to mathematicians and economists (eg beyond zero sum trading games) is often misunderstood, it’s his impact on technologies that changed the way every 21st c human being’s livelihood is shaped. One way to look at this is he turned the power of engines from 2 dimensions of energy and telecommunications with the 3rd dimension of engines as analytic machines soon to innovate what separate human brains cannot do. Coming from Hungary to America in 1929, the possibility of his interactions with Einstein at Princeton could have been amazing- but instead with the exponential rise of hitler from 1933, von neumann was increasingly required to leadamerica’s race to nuclear energy. In effect, he only got 12 years to mainly focus on fathering the programable computer and inspiring the birth of Artificial Intelligence(AI) researchers. Within 4 years of von neumann’s death, Kennedy had declared the moon race, within 6 years his alumn J.Mccarthy had started up twin AI labs- facing Atlantic at mit, facing pacific at Stanford, within 8 year’s intel’s Gordon Moore was declaring analytic power of programable computer chips would increase 100 fold per decade through to the 2020s by which computing analytic power would far exceed human brain power- another 7 years on and alumni of Moore launched the place brand silicon valley
A2 futureoflife.org those loving society and inspired by Neumann’s new technologies are changing life’s possibilities in ways that before the 2010s seemed to be pure science fiction.
Yet rewind the world to 1960: for the 70% of people who are Asian, at least two other system technologies had emerged whose foundations were integral to Asia rising out of poverty and impact the sustainability likelioods of our species- these are rural systems starting with Borlaug’s without which feeding 7.5 billion peoples of 2020 would not have been possible; and Deming’s quality of what engineers design and operate- the whole range of which first evolved out of japan from bullet trains to mechanical diggers, to containerization docking to microelectronic calculators and machine tools including robotics. Until 1995, one way to segment innovation foci of the far east versus the far west, is that Asian future designers focused on innovations that did not primarily depend on thinking or administrating in English language software. It would be culturally unimaginative to believe that thinking in 26 letter alphabets and many thousand character scripts like Japanese or Chinese leads to precisely the same consciousness of nature, or scientific purpose.
A3 Are smart devices primarily designed for government, personal or societal uses? It some times seems that von neumann alumni explore all 3 dimensions as win-wins whereas other research funding sometimes get siloised. In 2021 while sustainability will depend on the younger half of the world collaborating on borderless networks demanded by nature, health and above zero sum trading games- essential hubs to linkin additionally to ameruca’s original 2 ai locations include Geneva, Nordica, Dubai, Singapore, HK, Korea, Japan, various Chinese megacities. While we argued in 1984’s 2025report.com for a transformation in education so no child of the 2020s is excluded from humanisg AI, catlogues of where ai unicorns are being invested in implies that vast mahority of national governments don’t yet understand “sustainability goal” decisuons on societal data that will be taken unconsciously as more and more real time operating systems live decision making is. Other ways to map exciting ai hubs- look at membership clusters within futureoflife.org or who zooms into the virtual university of #aiforgood at the un itu in geneva
A4 von neumann’s education and parental support is reviewd in detail in norman macrae’s biography of von neumann. It took a very different customization odf xperiebntial learning flows of math geniuses that paets of central Europe at start of 20th century were good at- and which sad to say education in usa (and English speaking world) appears to have lost human confindence in
advance question - von neumann strongly gave monetary economists the thumbs down - can you explain why in terms of game theory?
eg1 those who play (issue ratings on) currency markets are by definition playing zero sum games - whereas improving the human lot of the next child born needs to be an above zero sum game if there is ever to be a sustainability generation
eg2 if those who society authorises to be the greatest decision makers of the 2020s ai decade - zero sum ai will lead to dehumanising work instead of enhancing skills with ai -more at futureoflife.org
we welcome more advanced Q&A to add here - email@example.com