Author Archives: SelfAwarePatterns

Neanderthals and the beginnings of us

The Smithsonian has an interesting article up on what we currently know about Neanderthals.  The article details some of the internecine battles that always seems to be a part of the paleoanthropology field, in this case focusing on the capabilities … Continue reading

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Frans de Waal on animal consciousness

Frans de Waal is a well known proponent of animals being much more like us than many people are comfortable admitting.  In this short two minute video, he gives his reason for concluding that at least some non-human animals are … Continue reading

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Recommendation: Edges (Inverted Frontier Book 1)

A few weeks ago I recommended Linda Nagata’s novel, Vast, the final book of her Nanotech Succession series.  Edges is both a sequel to that book, and the first episode in a new series, Inverted Frontier. As in Vast, this … Continue reading

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The brain is a computer, but what is a computer?

Kevin Lande has an article up at Aeon which is one of the best discussions of the brain as a computational system that I’ve seen in a while.  For an idea of the spirit of the piece: The claim that … Continue reading

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Is superintelligence possible?

Daniel Dennett and David Chalmers sat down to “debate” the possibility of superintelligence.  I quoted “debate” because this was a pretty congenial discussion. (Note: there’s a transcript of this video on the Edge site, which might be more time efficient … Continue reading

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SMBC on what separates humans from machines

Source: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (Click through for full sized version and the red button caption.) My own take on this is that what separates humans from machines is our survival instinct.  We intensely desire to survive, and procreate.  Machines, … Continue reading

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David Chalmers on the meta-problem of consciousness

David Chalmers is famous as the philosopher who coined the hard problem of consciousness, the idea that how and why consciousness is produced from a physical system, how phenomenal experience arises from such a system, is an intractably difficult issue.  … Continue reading

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Recommendation: Tiamat’s Wrath (The Expanse Book 8)

Tiamat’s Wrath is the eighth book of The Expanse series.  This is definitely a series you want to read in order, so if you’re just starting, I’d recommend beginning with the first book, Leviathan Wakes. This is the penultimate book … Continue reading

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Recommendation: Vast

I have a bad habit of buying ebooks and then letting them sit in my Kindle account unread, sometimes for years.  I’m sorry to say that the book that was in this state the longest was Linda Nagata’s Vast.  I … Continue reading

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Malcolm MacIver on imagination and consciousness

Sean Carroll’s latest episode of his podcast, Mindscape, features an interview with neuroscientist Malcom MacIver, one that is well worth checking out for anyone interested in consciousness. Consciousness has many aspects, from experience to wakefulness to self-awareness. One aspect is … Continue reading

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