It's pretty nice to see Kurzgesagt finally continuing its "Big Questions of Life and the Universe" series. I shared the first part on consciousness over a year go. The series is funded by the Templeton Foundation, which I know many people have issues with, but so far the content has been reasonably scientific. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck4RGeoHFko As … Continue reading Kurzgesagt on intelligence, and prospects for engineered intelligence
This is an interesting video from Big Think. It features discussion from a variety of thinkers like Richard Dawkins, Peter Singer, Susan Schneider, and others, including a lot of intelligent remarks from someone I wasn't familiar with until now, Joanna Bryson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETVr_lpIMO0 Consciousness lies in the eye of the beholder. There is no universally agreed … Continue reading Does conscious AI deserve rights?
The Human is the third and final book in Neal Asher's most recent series, The Rise of the Jain, which I've discussed before. The series takes place in Asher's Polity universe, one where humans have expanded into an interstellar community ruled by AIs, and have interactions with numerous alien species. It's also a universe where … Continue reading The Human
How do we know whether any particular system is conscious? In humans, we typically know because most humans can talk about their conscious experience. Historically, if we can report on it, it's conscious; if we can't, it's in the unconscious. But this raises a difficulty for any entity that doesn't have language, including non-human animals, … Continue reading There is no phenomenality without access
I just finished reading Jim Baggott's new book Quantum Reality: The Quest for the Real Meaning of Quantum Mechanics - a Game of Theories. I was attracted to it due to this part of the description: Although the theory quite obviously works, it leaves us chasing ghosts and phantoms; particles that are waves and waves … Continue reading Quantum Reality
Keith Frankish has an interesting article at Psyche pondering what ability separates modern humanity from archaic humans (such as homo erectus). His vote is hypothetical thinking. From the article: The ability I mean is that of hypothetical thinking – the ability to detach one’s mind from the here and now, and consciously think about other … Continue reading Communication and hypothetical thinking
Infant consciousness seems like a difficult question. It's one people often react to with outrage that it's even being asked. Of course they're conscious, is the sentiment. Aren't they human, and don't we see them crying, showing facial expressions, and exhibiting other behaviors? Others conclude that there's no real way to know since they can't … Continue reading Are babies conscious?
A new analysis is getting some attention, one claiming to have refined the old Drake equation and produced firmer numbers, leading to this conclusion: Under the strictest set of assumptions – where, as on Earth, life forms between 4.5bn and 5.5bn years after star formation – there are likely between four and 211 civilisations in … Continue reading 36 civilizations in the galaxy?
Read any mainstream neuroscience book, and one of the things you'll typically see is an admission that while a lot is known about the operations of neurons and synapses, and a lot about high level signalling patterns in various brain regions, along with a good amount on how sensory processing happens in some regions (such … Continue reading Assembly Calculus: the missing link between mind and brain?
Aeon, in their weekend newsletter, highlighted an old article from Carolyn Dicey Jennings on attention and the self. I recall reading this article when it was published, but apparently didn't share or discuss it, I suspect because I had mixed feelings about it. I still do. Consciousness scientists have a tendency to look at attention … Continue reading Attention and what we should expect from theories of the mind