Author Archives: SelfAwarePatterns

Doctor Who: The Woman Who Fell to Earth

I’ve noted before that I’m a long time fan of Doctor Who, so naturally I tuned in to watch the first episode of the new Doctor played by Jodie Whittaker.  I’ll be honest here, I wasn’t sure what to expect … Continue reading

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

SETI vs the possibility of interstellar exploration

Science News has a short article discussing a calculation someone has done showing how small the volume of space examined by SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is relative the overall size of the galaxy. With no luck so far in … Continue reading

Posted in Space | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

A qualified recommendation: The Murderbot Diaries

I’m generally not a fan of most depictions of AI (artificial intelligence) in science fiction.  They’re often highly anthropomorphic, assuming that engineered intelligences would innately have motivations and impulses similar to humans or other living systems, such as caring about … Continue reading

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Inflate and explode, or deflate and preserve?

Philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel has an interesting post up criticizing the arguments of illusionists, those who have concluded that phenomenal consciousness is an illusion. Here’s a way to deny the existence of things of Type X. Assume that things of Type … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged , , | 54 Comments

The prospects for a scientific understanding of consciousness

Michael Shermer has an article up at Scientific American asking if science will ever understand consciousness, free will, or God. I contend that not only consciousness but also free will and God are mysterian problems—not because we are not yet … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , , | 190 Comments

Recommendation: Children of Time

The Fermi Paradox is the observation that if intelligent life is pervasive in the universe, it should have arrived on Earth ages ago, but there is no evidence it ever did.  The solutions to the paradox include the possibilities that … Continue reading

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

The soul of the Roman Empire

According to tradition, in the early days of ancient Rome, King Numa Pompilius established a religious institution: the Vestal Virgins.  The Vestal Virgins were chaste priestesses of Vesta, the goddess of home and hearth.  Their duty was to maintain the … Continue reading

Posted in History | Tagged , , , , , | 41 Comments