The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence -Jill Tarter
The most interesting bit of information was this tradeoff of human vs. robot space travel. Obviously, we need humans in order to troubleshoot and set up various missions on these space expeditions but our fragile bodies make it very difficult and dangerous. As Jill says, this limits space exploration to a few humans that're often accompanied by various types of robots or machines. It reminds me of the movie Interstellar where the team is accompanied by two human-sized robots. It makes you wonder how these dynamics will continue to change as we make technological breakthroughs and can more heavily rely on robots to do our high-risk missions.
Prediction in Astrophysics -Avi Loeb
One question I would've asked is how can we fix the current scientific research/discovery system in order to better align incentives? I think this is very important because ultimately incentives drive everything. If people are more concerned with their self-image, they're less likely to put forth research that may not be perfect. However, as we saw with the path to Newon, past work is incredibly important to make true breakthroughs and it doesn't matter if that work is completely right. By publishing research instead of waiting for perfection, it allows the collection of human minds to work together and more efficiently make discoveries.
Thanks Henry. I particularly recommend that you read The Knowledge Machine by Michael Strevens if you are interested in the difference between formal scholarly communication, that tends to be quite conservative, and back room scholarly discussion, which is much less so