Team Human: Nora Bateson on Complexity, Relationships, and “Warm Data”

Playing for Team Human today is systems thinker, writer, and filmmaker Nora Bateson. Nora will be telling us how to stop looking at things as objects and begin seeing the spaces and connections between them. It’s not too late to bring our species back from the brink! This conversation was recorded backstage in Palo Alto at the Institute For the Future’s (IFTF) 50th Anniversary Gala.

I first met at Nora Bateson at a general semantics conference where she was screening her then brand new film An Ecology of Mind about her father Gregory Bateson, one of the principle developers of cybernetic and systems theory. But as I got to know Nora and her work, particularly the book Small Arcs of Larger Circles, I realized she was taking what we think of as systems theory to a whole new and intrinsically human level. I ran into her again at the fiftieth anniversary conference of the Institute For the Future in Palo Alto where she gave an entirely optimistic yet grounded talk on how to bring an awareness of the liminal spaces between systems into account as we attempt to make our world more consonant with the values of life.

Douglas opens today’s show with a monologue on Universal Basic Income (UBI) and why, if the goal is economic justice, a universal “allowance” just won’t do.

“The vast transfer of wealth from the poor to rich may be complete, but now we can use UBI to funnel even more capital up to the already wealthy and keep the scheme going.”

To learn more about our guest, Nora Bateson, please visit

You can watch her film here:

If you liked this episode, check out Team Human Ep. 07 featuring IFTF executive director Marina Gorbis

On this episode you heard Fugazi’s “Foreman’s Dog” in the intro, Herkhimer Diamonds “Xmas Underwater” and our closing music is thanks to Mike Watt.

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