Anyone who follows the computing industry knows that Moore's Law, the observation that computing power doubles every couple of years, has been sputtering in recent years. This isn't unexpected. Gordon Moore himself predicted that eventually the laws of physics would become a constraint. One of the technological hopes for a revival is quantum computing. Quantum … Continue reading The promise of quantum computing?
Sean Carroll recently did a podcast interview of futurist John Danaher on the issue of increasing automation, and what it might mean for future society. Danaher sees automation taking away jobs, jobs that won't come back. In this common view, we're heading for a post work society, where the machines do everything, and we need … Continue reading Our coming automated utopia?
Or at least, that's the conclusion of a paper which models the population changes and other factors involved. New model to study hominin interactions in time-varying climate environment. Neanderthals experienced rapid population decline due to competitive exclusion. Interbreeding only minor contributor to Neanderthal extinction. Abrupt Climate Change not major cause for demise of Neanderthals. Of … Continue reading Maybe we wiped Neanderthals out after all
Joel Frohlich has an interesting article up at Aeon on the possibility of detecting consciousness. He begins with striking neurological case studies, such as the one of a woman born without a cerebellum, yet fully conscious, indicating that the cerebellum is not necessary for consciousness. He works his way to the sobering cases of consciousness … Continue reading Building a consciousness-detector
Occasionally Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal captures an important insight, in this case, people's attitudes toward the social sciences. My attitude toward the social sciences is that they are quite capable of being scientific. They're not always, but then even the "hard" sciences have their lapses. On the one hand, what social scientists are studying exists … Continue reading SMBC: Social Science
A few weeks ago, I started having a problem with comments showing up on the blog. I consulted with WordPress support, and was informed that it was a bug with my old trusty Twenty Ten theme, which I was also informed is no longer supported. To fix the issue, I'd have to change to a … Continue reading Site issues, and a question for mobile users
I've often noted here the importance of predictions, both in terms of our primal understanding of reality, such as how to get to the refrigerator in your house, or in terms of scientific theories. In truth, every understanding of reality involves predictions. Arguably a fundamental aspect of consciousness is prediction. Of course, not every notion … Continue reading Predictions and retrodictions
(Warning: neuroscience weeds) Recently I noted that one of the current debates in cognitive science is between those who see phenomenal and access consciousness as separate things, and those who see them as different aspects of the same thing. Closely related, perhaps actually identical, is the debate between local and global theories of consciousness. Local … Continue reading Postdictive perception and the consciousness finish line
A week ago I received at COVID-19 vaccine injection as a part of a Phase 1 clinical trial.
Basically this is same vaccine and trial described here except the trial has expanded to include an older age group. I am in a group receiving the highest dose 250 mcg. In a week I will be tested to antibodies. In a few weeks, I am supposed to receive a booster shot. The vaccine is called mRNA-1273 and has messenger RNA that is used by the virus to build the spikes it uses to attach to cells. There is no live or dead virus itself in the vaccine so there should be no danger of actually getting COVID-19. This is a Phase 1 trial. That means the objective is to determine if the vaccine is safe and has few or no side effects. It is not to determine the effectiveness of the…
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One of the current debates in consciousness research is whether phenomenal consciousness is something separate and apart from access consciousness. Access consciousness (A-consciousness) is generally defined as perceptions being accessible for reasoning, action decisions, and communication. Phenomenal consciousness (P-consciousness) is seen as raw experience, the "something it is like" aspect of consciousness. Most researchers accept … Continue reading Subjective report doesn’t support the idea that phenomenal consciousness is separate from access consciousness