I'm Samuel Arbesman, a scientist and writer.
I spend my time trying to catalyze the adjacent possible. I think a lot about the science of complex systems and the eldritch technologies that surround us, and love to find unexpected collisions between disparate ideas.
I’m the author of Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension and The Half-Life of Facts. My writing has been called "delightfully nerdy" by the Wall Street Journal.
I’m Scientist in Residence at Lux Capital. I'm also a Senior Fellow of the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Boulder and Research Fellow at the Long Now Foundation.
In my spare time, I build tools for creative thought and serendipity, such as Blink Microscope and Digital Humanism.
I also compile catalogs of ideas and trends, such as the Overedge Catalog and Enlightenment 2.0 (for a complete collection, check out the list of my lists).
Sign up for my newsletter, where you can stay on top of my writing and projects, and also follow along as I work out the ideas I’m currently thinking about. Be prepared for science + technology + wonder.
Want to share something interesting? You can reach me via email at [email protected]
- Long-term thinking in the world of software Cabinet of Wonders
- Constructing Signposts in the Memescape Cabinet of Wonders
- We need to create and foster new types of scientific organizations "Securities"
- In Praise of Glitches Cabinet of Wonders
- The Technological Parentheses of Our Lives Cabinet of Wonders
- The Way-Forward Machine Tablet
- Everything Is Overcomplicated: An internet outage exposes the gap between how we think technology might work and how it actually does The Atlantic
- I Love Reading 1980s Computer Magazines, and So Should You Wired
- The intriguing maps that reveal alternate histories BBC
- The forgotten software that inspired the internet BBC
- Constant Decay: A Short Story
- The Human Body Is Too Complex for Easy Fixes The Atlantic
- Lessons About the iPhone, Courtesy of a Depression-Era Children’s Book The Atlantic
- Why Technologists Should Think Like Biologists Harvard Business Review
- What Kind of Sorcery Is This? Why code is so often compared to magic. The Atlantic
- Get under the hood: Computers are so easy that we’ve forgotten how to create Aeon
- Why Our Genome and Technology Are Both Riddled With “Crawling Horrors” Nautilus
- Let’s Bring The Polymath–and the Dabblers–Back Wired Opinion
My Erdos number is 4, due to my coauthorship with Jon Kleinberg, and my Bacon number is 1, due to my appearance as an extra in the documentary Connected: The Power of Six Degrees, which features Kevin Bacon. This means my Erdos-Bacon number is 5, one of the lower such numbers in the world of science.
On the side, I have coined a new word, named an asteroid, and created an eponymous constant. I am also responsible for the Milky Way Transit Authority subway map.
I’m a product of HyperCard, Martin Gardner, science fiction, and LEGO.