Author Archives: SelfAwarePatterns

Big societies came before big gods

Some years ago I reviewed a book by Ara Norenzayan called Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict.  Norenzayan’s thesis was that it was a belief in big gods, specifically cosmic gods that cared about human morality, that enabled … Continue reading

Posted in Religion | Tagged , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Kurzgesagt on the origin of consciousness

This video by Kurzgesagt is pretty interesting.  A word of warning; it’s funded by Templeton, which I know will bother some of you, but I found the content to be reasonably solid from a scientific perspective. The only real issues … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , | 82 Comments

Is cosmic inflation settled science?

Ethan Siegel at Starts With a Bang has a post up arguing that the multiverse must exist.  His reasoning has to do with cosmic inflation.  Inflation is the theory that the universe expanded at an exponential rate in the first … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Recommendation: Prador Moon

I’ve recommended Neal Asher’s books before.  This one is pretty much cut from the same pattern: superhuman AIs, fearsome aliens, exotic future technologies, and epic space battles covered in detail.  In terms of the chronology of his Polity future universe, … Continue reading

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

A neuroscience showdown on consciousness?

Apparently the Templeton Foundation is interested in seeing progress on consciousness science, and so is contemplating funding studies to test various theories.  The stated idea is to at least winnow the field through “structured adversarial collaborations”.  The first two theories … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , | 37 Comments

Captain Marvel

Last night I did something I rarely do anymore, saw a movie in theater right when it was released: Captain Marvel.  As Marvel movies go, it was typical: lots of action, special effects, heart warming moments, and laughs.  Marvel / … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Why we’ll know AI is conscious before it will

At Nautilus, Joel Frohlich posits how we’ll know when an AI is conscious.  He starts off by accepting David Chalmers’ concept of a philosophical zombie, but then makes this statement. But I have a slight problem with Chalmers’ zombies. Zombies are … Continue reading

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The sensorium, the motorium, and the planner

I’ve been reading Gerhard Roth’s The Long Evolution of Brains and Minds. This a technical and, unfortunately, expensive book, not one aimed at general audiences, but it has a lot of interesting concepts.  A couple that Roth mentions are the … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Probability is relative

At Aeon, Nevin Climenhaga makes some interesting points about probability.  After describing different interpretations of probability, one involving the frequency with which an event will occur, another involving its propensity to occur, and a third involving our confidence it will … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

AI and creativity

Someone asked for my thoughts on an argument by Sean Dorrance Kelly at MIT Technology Review that AI (artificial intelligence) cannot be creative, that creativity will always be a  human endeavor.  Kelly’s main contention appears to be that creativity lies … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , | 44 Comments