My father, Mayer Spivack, passed away on February 12, 2011, in the Kaplan Family House, a beautiful hospice outside of Boston. He passed away, at the young age of 74, after a difficult year and a half battle with colon cancer.… Read More “My Father and Me. A Memoir. For Mayer Spivack (1936 – 2011)”
I’ve been thinking lately about whether or not it is possible to formulate a scale of universal cognitive capabilities, such that any intelligent system — whether naturally occurring or synthetic — can be classified according to its cognitive capacity. Such a system would provide us with a normalized scientific basis by which to quantify and compare the relative cognitive capabilities of artificially intelligent systems, various species of intelligent life on Earth, and perhaps even intelligent lifeforms encountered on other planets.… Read More “A Universal Classification of Intelligence”
There has been a lot of hype about artificial intelligence over the years. And recently it seems there has been a resurgence in interest in this topic in the media. But artificial intelligence scares me. And frankly, I don’t need it.… Read More “Artificial Stupidity: The Next Big Thing”
A very cool experiment in virtual reality has shown it is possible to trick the mind into identifying with a virtual body:
Through these goggles, the volunteers could see a camera
view of their own back – a three-dimensional "virtual own body" that
appeared to be standing in front of them.
… Read More “Virtual Out of Body Experiences”
I just heard about a very interesting new discovery in neuroscience:. The basic gist is that it appears that axons process information. Until now it has been thought that only the cell body of neurons was the part that processed information.… Read More “Axons Process Information”
Here at Radar Networks we are working on practical ways to bring the Semantic Web to end-users. One of the interesting themes that has come up a lot, both internally, as well as in discussions with VC’s, is the coming plateau in the productivity of keyword search.… Read More “Diagram: Beyond Keyword (and Natural Language) Search”
Thanks to Bram for pointing me to this article about how new research indicates that communication in the brain is quite different than we thought. Essentially neurons may release neurotransmitters all along axons, not just within synapses. This may enable new forms of global communication or state changes within the brain, beyond the "circuit model" of neuronal signaling that has been the received view for the last 100 years.… Read More “New Findings Overturn our Understanding of How Neurons Communicate”
Another article of note on the subject of our evolving digital lives and what user-experience designers should be thinking about:
Our lives are becoming increasingly digitized—from the ways we
communicate, to our entertainment media, to our e-commerce
transactions, to our online research.
… Read More “Envisioning the Whole Digital Person”
Nice article in Scientific American about Gordon Bell’s work at Microsoft Research on the MyLifeBits project. MyLifeBits provides one perspective on the not-too-far-off future in which all our information, and even some of our memories and experiences, are recorded and made available to us (and possibly to others) for posterity.… Read More “Capturing Your Digital Life”
Check out this very impressive user-interface prototype for a desktop that works more like a real desk — a messy desk in fact. Very delightful design work that makes want to use it now!
Read this fun article that lists and defines some of the key concepts that every post-singularity transhumanist meta-intellectual should know! (via Kurzweil)
A Harvard University researcher believes that moral judgement is hard-wired into the brain:
The moral grammar now universal among people presumably evolved to its
final shape during the hunter-gatherer phase of the human past, before
the dispersal from the ancestral homeland in northeast Africa some
50,000 years ago.
… Read More “Is Moral Judgement Hard-Wired Into the Brain?”
New research seems to indicate that memory loss may be related to common viral infections that cross the blood-brain barrier and chip away at cognitive function. Over a person’s lifetime, after two or three of these infections a year, it starts to add up to significant memory loss.
This is a surprisingly good article on the nature of consciousness — providing a survey of the current state-of-the-art in cognitive science research. It covers the question from a number of perspectives and interviews many of the leading current researchers.
Below is the text of my bet on Long Bets. Go there to vote.
“By 2050 no synthetic computer nor machine intelligence will have become truly self-aware (ie. will become conscious).”
(This summary includes my argument, a method for judging the outcomeof this bet and some other thoughts on how to measure awareness…)
A.… Read More “Why Machines Will Never be Conscious”
This study is strange. But plausible.
Today, Cornell University researchers are reporting
what appears to be a statistically significant relationship between
autism rates and television watching by children under the age of 3.
The researchers studied autism incidence in California, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, and Washington state.
… Read More “New Study: TV May Cause Autism”
This article discusses an interesting fact — some women have extra color receptors enabling them to distinguish a vastly larger range of colors than everyone else. Instead of seeing in 3 colors, they see in 4 — enabling them to tell the difference between 100 million different colors.
This is a cool pair of images showing a striking similarity between the structure of neurons and that of our universe. I’ve often wondered whether the entire universe isn’t some kind of a mind or a brain in which we are like subatomic particles.