Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side — and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.
Tagged with “mind” (10)
Ella Rhodes, journalist for The Psychologist magazine, delves into the growing body of research exploring aphantasia – a condition she has personal experience of. While most people can see images formed in their minds, people with aphantasia draw a blank – what might this mean for autobiographical memory, face perception and imagination?
Claude Shannon was a mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer known as “the father of information theory.” In the pantheon of cool people who made the modern information era possible, he’s right up there. Today, we’re going to talk about Shannon’s life with Jimmy Sony and Rob Goodman, authors of a great biography of the man called A Mind At Play, How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age. Especially you software engineers out there, if you don’t know who Claude Shannon was, get educated. You owe your livelihood to this man.
Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience — and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we’re all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it "reality." Join Seth for a delightfully disorienting talk that may leave you questioning the very nature of your existence.
"The actual path of a raindrop as it goes down the valley is unpredictable, but the general direction is inevitable," says digital visionary Kevin Kelly — and technology is much the same, driven by patterns that are surprising but inevitable. Over the next 20 years, he says, our penchant for making things smarter and smarter will have a profound impact on nearly everything we do. Kelly explores three trends in AI we need to understand in order to embrace it and steer its development. "The most popular AI product 20 years from now that everyone uses has not been invented yet," Kelly says. "That means that you’re not late."
Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is … or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us.
Recorded at the New York Public Library. Details, context, and transcript: www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014…ypl-interview/
As a student of the classics at Harvard in the 1970s, O’Reilly was impressed by a book titled The Discovery of the Mind: In Greek Philosophy and Literature, by Bruno Snell. In the four centuries between Homer and classical Athens, wrote Snell, the Greeks invented the modern human mind, with its sense of free will and agency. (In Homer, for example, no one makes a decision.) O’Reilly sees a parallel with the emerging of a global mind in this century.
Global consciousness was a recurrent idea in the 1970s—-from Teilhard de Chardin’s noosphere and Omega point (“the Singularity of its day”) to “New Age mumbo-jumbo” such as the Harmonic Convergence. O’Reilly noted that the term “singularity” for technology acceleration was first used in 1958 by John von Neumann. In 1960 J.C.R. Licklider wrote an influential paper titled “Human-computer Symbiosis.” O’Reilly predicted that “exploring the possibility space of human-computer symbiosis is one of the fascinating frontiers of the next decades and possibly century.”
Echoing Dale Dougherty, he says the Web has become the leading platform for harnessing collective intelligence. Wikipedia is a virtual city. Connected smart phones have become our “outboard brain.” Through device automation, Apple has imbued retail clerks with superpowers in its stores. Watson, the AI that beat human champions at “Jeopardy,” is now being deployed to advise doctors in real time, having read ALL the scientific papers. YouTube has mastered the attention economy. Humanity has a shared memory in the cloud. Data scientists rule.
The global mind is not an artificial intelligence. It’s us, connected and augmented.
What keeps driving it is the generosity and joy we take in creating and sharing. The global mind is built on the gift culture of every medium of connectedness since the invention of language. You gain status by what you give away, by the value you create, not the value you take.
— by Stewart Brand
From Are We Alone? Science radio for thinking species.
An ant … can’t … move a rubber tree plant… but the colony can. As a group, ants are an efficient, organized, can-do bunch. And a model for humans trying to manage complex systems.
Find out about the eerie collective intelligence of animals, and how an MIT researcher is hoping to put humans to work collaboratively to solve problems like climate change.
Also … hear how research into flocking behavior helps Hollywood film a herd of stampeding dinosaurs.
- Steve Strogatz – Applied mathematician at Cornell University and author of Sync: How Order Emerges From Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life
- Craig Reynolds – Senior researcher for Sony Computer Entertainment
- Thomas Malone – Director of the Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT
- Iain Couzin – Biologist at Princeton University
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.