With increasing access to the Internet and digital media, information has become raw and unfiltered, and spreads extremely quickly. The world seems to be an increasingly dangerous and violent place. But has violence actually increased, or are we just more aware of its existence?
Steven Pinker (1954, Canada), a professor of psychology at Harvard University – considered by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world today – will discuss the history and future of violence. Pinker will explain that human nature includes faculties that encourage violence: such as the desire for dominance or revenge; while other human faculties inhibit violence, such as self-control, empathy, or reason. In his view, the level of violence in any society depends on how its norms and institutions affect the balance between these different faculties. Contrary to the current notion that we live in extraordinarily violent times, levels of violence have actually declined throughout history. Does it make sense to expect a more violent future? In a conversation moderated by the historian and political commentator José Pacheco Pereira, Pinker will reflect on the historical changes that have reduced violence in the past, and whether they will continue in the future.