Author Archives: SelfAwarePatterns

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

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. The social sciences, such as sociology, but also psychology, economics, anthropology, and other similar fields get a lot of grief … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , , | 95 Comments

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. … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

What do scientific theories actually tell us about the world?

One of the things that’s exciting about learning new things, is that often a new understanding in one area sheds light on what might seem like a completely separate topic.  For me, information about how the brain works appears to have shed … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 75 Comments

Arrival, the shape of aliens, and bridging the communication barrier

This weekend, I watched the movie ‘Arrival‘.  It starts off with the now common scenario of several floating ships appearing in the skies around the world.  But unlike most movies in this mold, it focuses on humanity’s efforts to communicate with … Continue reading

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments