Alter: "Humans are blind to many of the processes that shape their mental lives."
Wolpoff: "Garbage in, garbage out."
Hillis: "Think beyond cause and effect!"
Rucker: "The world is unpredictable."
Oxman: "It ain't necessarily so."
Harris: "We are lost in thought."
That is to say, I didn't find the 2011 question too inspiring. Predictably, a lot of the replies target science education. If only people would understand better probabilities (Paulos), possibilities (Hillis), uncertainty (Krauss), rspt the uselessness of certainty (Rovelli) and, gosh, if just everybody could learn to deal better with the unknown (Llyod), realized that a claim is scientific only to the extent that it can be disproved (Gardner), understood the virtue of negative results (Kelly), and knew the scientific concept (Tegmark), science (Randall), risk (Lisi), the use of controlled experiments (Hannay) and replicability (Knutson).
My answer to the question would have been along the same lines: "Finishing the Scientific Revolution." In a nutshell, as I've argued before, we're close to reaching a point where progress of our societies will stall unless the scientific method is used for applications of the social sciences (sociology, politics, economics). The previous mode of operation, trial and error, only gets you so far. When questions become increasingly complex, and there's not enough time to learn from mistakes, and errors are too devastating, more caution than trying and erring is necessary. When it comes to the systems that govern our lives this means we carefully need to disentangle questions of value that are a matter of opinion, and scientific questions about the working of the system. (This also applies to the academic system as we've discussed many times on this blog.)
Among the more amusing replies to the Edge 2011 question, there's psychologist Nicholas Humphrey who makes a case for the multiverse because it implies immortality, architect Stefano Boeri who reminds us that it's all about sex ("In every room, in every house, in every street, in every city, movements, relations and spaces are also defined with regards to logics of attraction-repulsion between the sexuality of individuals."), and Richard Thaler who suggests to use the term "Aether" for "convenient fictions able to "explain" some otherwise ornery facts" and name people who do so "Aetherists."
Scanning through the list, I see that German expressions are still en vogue among the intellectuals. Some suggestions for your cognitive toolkit are Umwelt (lit: "the world around," aka environment or sourrounding), Gedankenexperiment, and the Einstellung Effekt ("Einstellung" translates into "attitude," "hiring," or "adjustment.")
My prize for the most creative reply goes to Eric Weinstein. He suggests the concept of "Kayfabe," describing "an altered reality of layered falsehoods in which absolutely nothing can be assumed to be as it appears" and "a world in which fakery may reliably crowd out the genuine." This concept, so Weinstein argues, would allow us to understand much better what's happening on this planet, including what's going on in quantum gravity research:
"The decades old battle in theoretical physics over bragging rights between the "string" and "loop" camps would seem to be an even more significant example within the hard sciences of a collaborative intra-promotion rivalry given the apparent failure of both groups to produce a quantum theory of gravity."Ouch.
My favorite replies are Rushkoff's who reminds us that technologies have biases, and that we shouldn't accept them as given but shape them to suit our needs rather than shape us to suit their needs, and Anthony Aguirre's who suggests the concept of a paradox as a starting point for insight.