Join us for our free monthly CommunityCation Luncheon on October 29th at 11:30am in Stage 2 and hear Bo Bernhard talk about “Why Las Vegas is Smart.” RSVP Here!
About Bo Bernhard
Bo Bernhard is a professor in both sociology and hotel administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He recently presented his speech, “Why Las Vegas Is Smart” at TEDx UNLV and was the keynote speaker for UNLV Research Week 2015. His presentation focuses on the following four key subjects:
1. An evolving science
Las Vegas is not often thought of as a “smart” place — and certainly, the rankings on conventional metrics such as education attainment support this belief. However, the “science of smart” is evolving, and one could even say that it is bending in the direction of Las Vegas. For instance, our scientific understanding of what it actually means to be “smart” is starting to incorporate subtler measures like “social intelligence,” which seems to be more important than IQ in many life and work situations.
2. Work the muscle
Through research, we are also learning that the brain is much like a muscle — it can continue to grow, change, and get stronger through life. This means that engaging in certain activities repeatedly can make our brain fire faster and more efficiently.
Given these new understandings of intelligence and the brain, Las Vegans, who constantly “exercise” their social intelligence by virtue of welcoming (and interacting with) more than 40 million visitors per year, end up looking smarter than you might think! While conventional metrics of intelligence are no doubt important, newer ways of measuring “smarts” supports the notion of a smart, socially intelligent Las Vegas.
3. Global reach
This is even true at the macro level. Today, Las Vegas is the Houston of the gaming industry – meaning that the city is the center of thought leadership for its chief industry in much the same way that Houston remains the intellectual capital of the global energy industry long after energy “moved abroad.” Decisions are made in Houston’s executive boardrooms and Las Vegas’ skyscrapers — decisions that drive global industries in energy or tourism. Now that tourism is upwards of 10 percent of the world’s economy, Las Vegas’ “visitor business” is nothing to scoff at worldwide.
4. Educational epicenter
Best of all, Las Vegas is conducting fascinating research on these topics at multiple levels of analysis — from the way the tiniest particles in our brains react to the most global and macroeconomic machinations of the industry. When it comes to gaming and hospitality research, the world turns to Las Vegas — and our research lessons are then taught not only to our students, but also to government, industry, and community audiences around the world.