One of the categories here on the blog is Science Fiction, mainly because I read and watch a lot of it. Occasionally, someone wanting to get into the literary version of the genre asks me for recommendations on good initial books to start with. My recommendation often depends on the person, but I frequently suggest they try … Continue reading The success of John Scalzi’s descriptive minimalism
Month: March 2017
Why fears of an AI apocalypse are misguided
In this Big Think video, Steven Pinker makes a point I've made before, that fear of artificial intelligence comes with a deep misunderstanding about the relationship between intelligence and motivation. Human minds come with survival instincts, programmatic goals hammered out by hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Artificial intelligence isn't going to have those … Continue reading Why fears of an AI apocalypse are misguided
Are the social sciences “real” science?
YouTube channel Crash Course is starting a new series on what is perhaps the most social of social sciences: Sociology. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnCJU6PaCio The social sciences, such as sociology, but also psychology, economics, anthropology, and other similar fields get a lot of grief from people about not being "real" science. This criticism is typically justified by noting … Continue reading Are the social sciences “real” science?
What about subjective experience implies anything non-physical?
Mary's room is a classic philosophical thought experiment about consciousness. The Wikipedia article on what's called the knowledge argument quotes Frank Jackson, the originator of the argument, as follows: Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white … Continue reading What about subjective experience implies anything non-physical?
Kindle Oasis: a quick review
I read a lot of books, and as I've posted about before, the lion share of those books these days are Kindle e-books. E-books aren't for everyone, but for the last several years they've been my preferred way to consume a book. I love the way I can buy a book and immediately start reading it, the … Continue reading Kindle Oasis: a quick review
Recommendation: The Stars Are Legion
Occasionally on this blog, when pondering the far future, I've pushed back on the idea that the long term fate of civilization is to be machine robotic type life, instead noting that a truly advanced civilization would instead be engineered life, that it would make a lot more sense for its "machines" to be biological systems. Admittedly, … Continue reading Recommendation: The Stars Are Legion