Category Archives: Zeitgeist

Viruses and the definition of “life”

One of the things we often debate here is the definition of “consciousness,” but consciousness is far from the only concept that is difficult to define.  Others include religion, democracy, free will, and biological life. Life has a number of … Continue reading

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All adults are vulnerable to COVID-19

The other day I urged you to take COVID-19 seriously.  But in that post, I said that if you were younger than 60 or didn’t have health problems, the virus probably wouldn’t do anything to you.  In retrospect, that was … Continue reading

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Take COVID-19 seriously

Just got back from getting a haircut and a run to the grocery store (which had an atmosphere very similar to the one down here when a hurricane is imminent), during which time I think I heard enough crazy rumors … Continue reading

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AI: An Exercise in Analytical Philosophy

Originally posted on Blogging to Share Knowledge:
The Question I recently attended a computing group in which the following question was asked: Can Software Achieve Human Level Intelligence? We covered this question over the course of 3 meetings (7-9 hours…

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An excellent explanation of quantum decoherence, and how it might lead to many worlds

Matt O’Dowd is a first class science communicator.  In this latest video, he does an excellent job explaining decoherence, and why the MWI (many worlds interpretation) ends up being so tempting when you see it through. Of course, this doesn’t … Continue reading

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Altered Carbon, season two

Netflix dropped the second season of Altered Carbon on Thursday, so naturally I had to binge through it.  This show is based on the novels by Richard K. Morgan.  While the first season (which I reviewed) broadly followed the plot … Continue reading

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Islands of awareness

(Warning: neuroscience weeds) An interesting paper by Tim Bayne, Anil Seth, and Marcello Massimi, which came up in my Twitter stream today, asks whether there can be islands of awareness. Ordinary consciousness involves ongoing interaction with the environment, receiving sensory … Continue reading

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Daniel Dennett on why phenomenal consciousness is access consciousness

This old talk by Daniel Dennett touches on a lot of topics we’ve discussed recently.  Dennett explains why it’s wrong to regard phenomenal consciousness (the “what it’s likeness” or “raw experience” version) as separate from access consciousness (the cognitive access … Continue reading

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Stimulating the central lateral thalamus produces consciousness

(Warning: neuroscience weeds) A couple of people have asked me about this study, described in numerous popular science articles (such as this one).  A monkey had electrodes installed in its brain that allowed scientists to stimulate parts of its thalamus, … Continue reading

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Alita: Battle Angel

I’m pretty late to the party on this one, but today I finally watched Alita: Battle Angel.  The movie is set in the 26th century and involves a society with a lot of cyborgs in it, including many whose entire … Continue reading

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