My Father and Me. A Memoir. For Mayer Spivack (1936 – 2011)

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

Nowism — A Theme for the New Era?

DRAFT 1 — A Work in Progress

Introduction

Here’s an idea I’ve been thinking about: it’s a concept for a new philosophy, or perhaps just a name for a grassroots philosophy that seems to be emerging on its own. It’s called “Nowism.” The view that now is what’s most important, because now is where one’s life actually happens.… Read More

Video: My Talk on the Evolution of the Global Brain at the Singularity Summit

If you are interested in collective intelligence, consciousness, the global brain and the evolution of artificial intelligence and superhuman intelligence, you may want to see my talk at the 2008 Singularity Summit. The videos from the Summit have just come online.… Read More

A Universal Classification of Intelligence

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

Artificial Stupidity: The Next Big Thing

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

Virtual Out of Body Experiences

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

Chinese Authorities Make it Illegal to Reincarnate Without a Permit

This just in. The Chinese Government, in their ongoing campaign against the Dalai Lama and Buddhism in Tibet, have announced a new law making it illegal for a Buddha to reincarnate without a state permit. This law is designed effectively to put an end to the form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet within one generation.… Read More

New Findings Overturn our Understanding of How Neurons Communicate

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

Must-Know Terms for the 21st Century Intellectual

Read this fun article that lists and defines some of the key concepts that every post-singularity transhumanist meta-intellectual should know! (via Kurzweil)

Minding The Planet — The Meaning and Future of the Semantic Web

NOTES

  • Master Copy can be found at this URL or http://tinyurl.com/yynb93
  • Last Update: Tuesday, November 7, 2006, 10:17AM PST
  • License — This article is distributed under the Creative Commons Deed. If you would like to distribute a version of thisarticle, please link back to http://www.mindingtheplanet.net from yourversion, thanks.
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Is Moral Judgement Hard-Wired Into the Brain?

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 There Room for The Soul? – Good Article on Cognitive Science

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.

Why Machines Will Never be Conscious

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).”

Spivack’s Argument:

(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

New Study: TV May Cause Autism

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

A Proposal to Make the Media (and Society) Better

I am concerned by what I’m viewing in our national media lately. Viewed from
outside (and also from wihtin the USA), it would appear that our nation
is obsessed with, and plagued by, an increasing spree of horrible crimes and
abuses of human rights.… Read More

Dolphins are Smarter Than We Think

This is an interesting article about recent evidence of deep thinking by dolphins:

At the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi, Kelly the
dolphin has built up quite a reputation. All the dolphins at the
institute are trained to hold onto any litter that falls into their
pools until they see a trainer, when they can trade the litter for
fish.

Read More

Breakthrough in Finding Patterns in Complex Data Such as Sound

A new mathematical technique provides a dramatically better way to
analyze data, such as audio data, radar, sonar, or any other form of
time-frequency data
.

Humans have 200 million light receptors in their eyes,
10 to 20 million receptors devoted to smell, but only 8,000 dedicated
to sound.

Read More

Study Discovers Whale Song Syntax

New research into the mathematical properties of whale songs reveals that they have a complex language:

The songs of the humpback whale are among the most complex in the
animal kingdom. Researchers have now mathematically confirmed that
whales have their own syntax that uses sound units to build phrases
that can be combined to form songs that last for hours.

Read More

Quantum Evolution — A Radical Theory

The theory of quantum evolution is a radical new take on how mutations
in DNA occur. Basically the theory postulates that DNA molecules are in
fact macroscopic quantum objects that undergo quantum interference. It
is spearheaded by Johnjoe McFadden, a professor in the UK and makes for an interesting
read.… Read More

Collective Intelligence 2.0

Introduction:

This article proposes the creation of a new open, nonprofit service on the Web that will provide something akin to “collective self-awareness” back to the Web. This service is like a “Google Zeitgeist” on steroids, but with a lot more real-time, interactive, participatory data, technology and features init.… Read More

Big Thinkers' Most Dangerous Ideas

The Edge has published mini-essays by 119 "big thinkers" on their "most dangerous ideas" — fun reading.

The history of science is replete with discoveries
that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally
dangerous in their time; the Copernican and
Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious.

Read More

A New Kind of Memory Aid

I recently read a report of new neuroscience research in which researchers are able to predict what a person will recall by analyzing their brainstate. You can read a summary here.

This reminds me of an idea I had a while back for using biofeedback to guide brainstates, in order to improve memory.… Read More

Mathematical Model of Surprise

A group of computer scientists have come up with a mathematical
technique
to detect surprising features in dense information streams.
They tested their method by comparing it to what human’s considered
surprising, and the results were… surprisingly good! A mathematical
model of surprise could be very useful in next-generation information
systems, user-interfaces, situation rooms, and even fighter jet
cockpits, for filtering signal from noise and helping to focus
attention on what’s most important at a given time.… Read More