Author Archives: SelfAwarePatterns

Recommendation: Dark Intelligence

I’ve been meaning to check out Neal Asher’s books for some time.  They keep coming up as recommendations on Amazon, Goodreads, and in various other venues, and they sound enticing, like the kind of fiction I’d enjoy.  Last week, I … Continue reading

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Steven Pinker: From neurons to consciousness

This lecture from Steven Pinker has been around for a while, but it seems to get at a question a few people have asked me recently: how does the information processing of neurons and synapses lead to conscious perception?  Pinker doesn’t answer this … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is consciousness only in the back of the brain?

There’s an interesting debate going on among some neuroscientists about which parts of the brain are involved in subjective experience.  On the one side are Christof Koch, Giuilio Tononi, and colleagues who argue that consciousness exists wholly in the back of … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The success of John Scalzi’s descriptive minimalism

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

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 , , , , , | 58 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 , , , , | 41 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 , , , , , , , | 98 Comments