Your brain does not process information and it is not a computer. No matter how hard they try, brain scientists and cognitive psychologists will never find a copy of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in the brain – or copies of words, pictures, grammatical rules or any other kinds of environmental stimuli.
There's No Such Thing as Free Will. For centuries, philosophers and theologians have almost unanimously held that civilization as we know it depends on a widespread belief in free will—and that losing this belief could be calamitous.
Our codes of ethics, for example, assume that we can freely choose between right and wrong. In the Christian tradition, this is known as “moral liberty”—the capacity to discern and pursue the good, instead of merely being compelled by appetites and desires. The great Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant reaffirmed this link between freedom and goodness. The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality. As we go about our daily lives, we tend to assume that our perceptions — sights, sounds, textures, tastes — are an accurate portrayal of the real world.
Sure, when we stop and think about it — or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion — we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Still, we bank on the fact that our simulation is a reasonably decent one.
If it wasn’t, wouldn’t evolution have weeded us out by now? The true reality might be forever beyond our reach, but surely our senses give us at least an inkling of what it’s really like. In Praise of Idleness By Bertrand Russell. The Hunt for the Algorithms That Drive Life on Earth. To the computer scientist Leslie Valiant, “machine learning” is redundant.
In his opinion, a toddler fumbling with a rubber ball and a deep-learning network classifying cat photos are both learning; calling the latter system a “machine” is a distinction without a difference. Valiant, a computer scientist at Harvard University, is hardly the only scientist to assume a fundamental equivalence between the capabilities of brains and computers. 3-D Printed Garment Shape-Shifts Based on an Onlooker's Gaze. When a porcupine feels threatened, its quills bristle.
In humans, the same anatomical reflex is responsible for goose bumps. Neither response is voluntary, and both typically occur in response to external stimuli. But the porcupine’s reaction is considerably more dramatic, its prominent spines undulating as the skin to which the rigid quills attach moves, pliably, atop muscle and bone. Time Entanglement Raises Quantum Mysteries. In November, construction workers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came across a time capsule 942 years too soon.
Buried in 1957 and intended for 2957, the capsule was a glass cylinder filled with inert gas to preserve its contents; it was even laced with carbon-14 so that future researchers could confirm the year of burial, the way they would date a fossil. MIT administrators plan to repair, reseal and rebury it. But is it possible to make it absolutely certain that a message to the future won’t be read before its time? Quantum physics offers a way. Japan’s plan to supply all the world’s energy from a giant solar power plant on the moon. Shimizu, a Japanese architectural and engineering firm, has a solution for the climate crisis: Simply build a band of solar panels 400 kilometers (249 miles) wide (pdf) running all the way around the Moon’s 11,000-kilometer (6,835 mile) equator and beam the carbon-free energy back to Earth in the form of microwaves, which are converted into electricity at ground stations.
That means mining construction materials on the Moon and setting up factories to make the solar panels. “Robots will perform various tasks on the lunar surface, including ground leveling and excavation of hard bottom strata,” according to Shimizu, which is known for a series of far-fetched “dream projects” including pyramid cities and a space hotel. Why we should all ask our elders about how best to l... Ten years ago, I reached a point in my career that felt either like a dead-end or a turning point – I wasn’t sure which.
By then, I had spent 25 years as a gerontologist, professionally occupied with everything to do with ageing. I conducted research using longitudinal data sets and sophisticated statistical analyses. I developed and evaluated programmes to improve older people’s lives. I taught courses and gave lectures on ageing. I opined on policy issues affecting our ageing society. How the Brain Perceives Color Could Help Explain Consciousness.
When Isaac Newton was 17 years old, he performed a series of experiments with prisms and light beams.
Within weeks he discovered the scientific explanation for color, invented the reflecting telescope, proposed the particle theory of light, and deduced that the human eye contained three receptor types corresponding to the three primary colors. Not bad for a teen. Newton’s insights were not easily accepted. At the time, the prevailing theory of color was metaphysical. White light was thought to be pure, heavenly, and scrubbed of all contaminants, whereas colored light was contaminated by the worldly surfaces it touched.
Brain waves may be spread by weak electrical field: Mechanism tied to waves associated with epilepsy. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University may have found a new way information is communicated throughout the brain.
Their discovery could lead to identifying possible new targets to investigate brain waves associated with memory and epilepsy and better understand healthy physiology. They recorded neural spikes traveling at a speed too slow for known mechanisms to circulate throughout the brain. The only explanation, the scientists say, is the wave is spread by a mild electrical field they could detect. Computer modeling and in-vitro testing support their theory. The Silk Road's Dark-Web Dream Is Dead. Not so long ago, the Silk Road was not only a bustling black market for drugs but a living representation of every cryptoanarchist’s dream: a trusted trading ground on the Internet where neither the government’s laws nor the Drug War they’ve spawned could reach. Today, that illicit narco-utopia is long gone, its once-secret server in an evidence storage room and its creator Ross Ulbricht fighting a last ditch appeal to escape life in prison.
Biologically powered chip created: System combines biological ion channels with solid-state transistors to create a new kind of electronics. Columbia Engineering researchers have, for the first time, harnessed the molecular machinery of living systems to power an integrated circuit from adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of life. They achieved this by integrating a conventional solid-state complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuit with an artificial lipid bilayer membrane containing ATP-powered ion pumps, opening the door to creating entirely new artificial systems that contain both biological and solid-state components.
The study, led by Ken Shepard, Lau Family Professor of Electrical Engineering and professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, is published online Dec. 7 in Nature Communications. Turkkaya Ataov. How Burgers and Fries Are Killing Your Microbial Balance. For the microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg, that career-defining moment—the discovery that changed the trajectory of his research, inspiring him to study how diet and native microbes shape our risk for disease—came from a village in the African hinterlands.
A group of Italian microbiologists had compared the intestinal microbes of young villagers in Burkina Faso with those of children in Florence, Italy. The villagers, who subsisted on a diet of mostly millet and sorghum, harbored far more microbial diversity than the Florentines, who ate a variant of the refined, Western diet. Where the Florentine microbial community was adapted to protein, fats, and simple sugars, the Burkina Faso microbiome was oriented toward degrading the complex plant carbohydrates we call fiber. “It was the most different human microbiota composition we’d ever seen,” Sonnenburg told me.
Earlier this year I visited Sonnenburg at Stanford University, where he has a lab. Why FBI and the Pentagon are afraid of gene drives. The powerful new genetic technology could eliminate scourges such as malaria and rid entire countries of destructive invasive species. But officials from the FBI to the Pentagon to the United Nations bioweapons office, STAT has learned, are concerned about the potential of “gene drives” to alter evolution in ways scientists can’t imagine, and even offer a devastating new tool to bioterrorists. Whole Brain Emulation: Reverse Engineering a Mind. (Transcript of the speech presented at Lincoln Center, New York, at the conference Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution.)
I am going to discuss whole brain emulation, about what it takes to reverse engineer a mind. Sugarcar. Global Nomads: Techno and New Age as Transnational Countercultures in Ibiza ... - Anthony D'Andrea. How Google Aims To Dominate Artificial Intelligence. The AI Revolution: Road to Superintelligence. Thirty Theses. You Call this Progress? Free_will_debate_what_does_free_will_mean_and_how_did_it_evolve.single. Legendary Inventor Inks Deal to Test 'Personal' Cell Networks. Hossein Moiin first heard about pCell more than a year ago, when ex-Apple CEO John Sculley mentioned it during a private conference in San Francisco. And pCell—an experimental means of providing what is essentially a super-high-speed bubble of wireless signal that can follow smartphones from place to place—played right into Moiin’s line of work. He’s the executive vice president and chief technology officer at Nokia Networks, the Finnish company that helps build cellular networks for the likes of Verizon, AT&T, and other wireless carriers across the globe.
Live Long and Die Out. Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. How Cheap Can Energy Storage Get? Pretty Darn Cheap. This is part 3 of a series looking at the economic trends of new energy technologies. Part 1 looked at how cheap solar can get (very cheap indeed). Part 2 looked at the declining cost and rising reliability of wind power. Bueller? Anyone? I have resisted characterizing humans as "stupid" on this blog because it's a catch-all term that doesn't tell us anything profound about our favorite subject (Homo sapiens).
But now, Balazs Aczel, a professor at the Institute of Psychology at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, has teased out what people generally mean when they call human behavior "stupid". And it turns out that humans generally are indeed stupid in the most common meanings of the term. The Physical Origin of Universal Computing. Roadmap to Alpha Centauri - Issue 3: In Transit. Scientists have figured out how to store memory with light. Proprioception.
The Age of Infection. The Future Of Coding Is Here, And It Threatens To Wipe Out Everything In Its Path. Watch a video of this crazy device that makes virtual reality feel real. Optogenetics: Controlling the brain with light. Man fitted with robotic hand wired directly into his brain can 'feel' again. Giant Stroke Artifical Muscles.mp4. Artificial Muscle Fibre. Can robots be creative? (Official Movie) THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take? The Limits of Memory: We Can Only Remember Four Things at a Time. Robot controlled remotely with thoughts: Multi-year research project aims to give a measure of independence to paralyzed people.
Easy DNA Editing Will Remake the World. Buckle Up. How a bunch of government space geeks at NASA won the internet.