Our brains are filled with billions of neurons. Neuroscientist Sebastian Seung explains how mapping out the connections between those neurons might be the key to understanding the basis of things like personality, memory, perception, ideas and mental illness.
Tagged with “mind” (11)
Deepak Chopra and physicist Leonard Mlodinow join us to talk science and spirit.
America was built on science. America was rooted in religion. For 200 years, both thrived. In the last quarter-century, they’ve clashed. And the clash has been costly.
Can we settle this? Maybe. We’ve got two big figures with us today who have taken on the war of worldviews.
Man of spirit, Deepak Chopra. Man of science, Leonard Mlodinow. One a giant in the realm of spiritual guidance. One a Stephen Hawking-scale master of physics and the scientific way.
Both ready to hash it out.
Drawing on strange and thought-provoking case studies, eminent neurologist V. S. Ramachandran offers unprecedented insight into the evolution of the uniquely human brain in his new book, The Tell-Tale Brain.
In the new robot opera, “Death and the Powers,” humans are history. So is flesh and blood- as ‘so over’ as the dinosaurs.
The high-tech drama, composed by Tod Machover, tells the story of how one eccentric billionaire led the way, by refusing to die. He uploads himself – his mind – into the realm of digital immortality, and leaves his worldly body behind. Machover, known as “America’s most wired composer” and director of the Opera of the Future group at the MIT Media Lab, thinks of his character Simon Powers, as “a combination of Howard Hughes, Walt Disney and Bill Gates,” who rather than wanting to live forever, desired “to leave the world, but leave everything about himself here.”
What is consciousness? This primal question has occupied humanity since we gained the language to ask it. In his new book "Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain," Antonio Damasio investigates how new discoveries in neuroscience can shed light on the evolution and emergence of the conscious self.
Neurologist Oliver Sacks tells stories of people who manage to navigate the world and communicate, despite losing what many consider indispensable senses and abilities: the power of speech, the ability to recognize faces, the sense of three-dimensional space, the ability to read, and to see. In The Mind’s Eye he considers the fundamental questions: How do we see? How do we think?
Many animals, from fish to bees and ants, cannot survive alone. They need to live in groups, and these groups have a kind of collective intelligence. You might say the internet has developed its own "hive mind." In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge we’ll tell you how the modern science of complexity is unlocking the secrets of the hive mind. We’ll also hear from E.O. Wilson about the marvelous world of ants.
SEGMENT 1: Thomas Seeley is a professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University. He talks about the social organization of a bee colony with Steve Paulson. And intrepid TTBOOK intern John Pederson visits local bee keeper Mary Seeley as she’s setting up some new hives.
SEGMENT 2: Len Fisher is the author of "The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life." He talks with Anne Strainchamps about "swarm intelligence" and how it differs from "group think." Also, E.O. Wilson may know more about ants than anyone else on the planet. He and his colleague, Bert Holldobler, are the authors of "The Superorganism." It’s a book about the organization and communication among the millions of members of the colonies of certain species of ants. Wilson tells Steve Paulson they do it all with chemical signals secreted by their bodies.
SEGMENT 3: Jaron Lanier is a Silicon Valley visionary and a virtuoso musician and composer. His new book is "You Are Not A Gadget." The man who popularized "virtual reality" in the 80s tells Anne Strainchamps why he thinks Web 2.0 technology is erasing our sense of our own identity.
OK, OK, I admit, this is the weirdest show we’ve ever done. This is the kind of show Bill Curry yells at me about. But the minute — at one of our planning sessions — somebody said, "How do we know this is reality?" we knew we had to do a "How do we know this is reality show?"
At first, we didn’t even realize that’s something a lot of people talk about and think about. We knew Plato talked about it. Then Keanu Reeves. But we had no idea what a lively and ongoing debate was raging, especially about the possibilty that we live in some kind of digital simulation and that who ever is doing the simulation is either using elements of people like us who exist in some other place or time or just messing with us so we don’t know that we’re in the matrix.
You may think, right now, that it is all pretty hare-brained. But talk to us in an hour and ask yourself then. Can you completely rule it out?
MrMind, a humble chatbot, conducts The Blurring Test, a timely reversal of the Turing Test. Since 1998, he has challenged visitors to his site (www.mrmind.com) to convince him that they are human. So far, no one has.
MrMind’s creator, Peggy Weil, suggests that a new definition of human is in order: Who or what do we think we are in relation to our creations? Date: Wed, 23 Sep 2009 00:00:00 -0700 Location: Amsterdam, PICNIC 2009, PICNIC Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2009/09
Jonah Lehrer is editor-at-large for Seed Magazine and a contributing editor at NPR`S Radio Lab.
Since Plato, philosophers have described the decision-making process as either rational or emotional: we carefully deliberate or we blink and go with our gut. But as scientists break open the minds black box with the latest tools of neuroscience, theyre discovering this is not how the mind works.
Jonah Lehrer, author and editor-at-large for Seed Magazine, suggests that our best decisions are a finely tuned blend of both feeling and reason and the precise mix depends on the situation. The trick is to determine when to lean on which part of the brain, and to do this, we need to think harder (and smarter) about how we think.
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