Tag Archives: Evolution

The extraordinary low probability of intelligent life

Marc Defant gave a TEDx talk on the improbable events that had to happen in our planet’s history for us to eventually evolve, along with the implications for other intelligent life in the galaxy. I find a lot to agree … Continue reading

Posted in Space | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Arrival, the shape of aliens, and bridging the communication barrier

This weekend, I watched the movie ‘Arrival‘.  It starts off with the now common scenario of several floating ships appearing in the skies around the world.  But unlike most movies in this mold, it focuses on humanity’s efforts to communicate with … Continue reading

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 73 Comments

Daniel Wolpert: The real reason for brains

I came across this old TED talk today and decided to share it because it’s relevant to the previous post on consciousness and simulations.  Daniel Wolpert’s talk doesn’t address consciousness specifically, only the overall role of the simulations, but it’s … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Is consciousness a simulation engine, a prediction machine?

Back in September (which now seems like a million years ago), I did a series of posts on consciousness inspired by Todd Feinberg and Jon Mallatt’s recent book, ‘The Ancient Origins of Consciousness: How the Brain Created Experience‘.  In that series, … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 92 Comments

The necessity of dexterity for civilization

Today’s SMBC highlights something about humanity that is often overlooked, something that any extraterrestrial intelligence that builds a civilization would have to have. Click through for hover-text and red button caption. Source: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal – The Mammal Conspiracy … Continue reading

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

Predators and the rise of sensory consciousness

This is the second post in a series inspired by Todd Feinberg and Jon Mallatt’s new book, ‘The Ancient Origins of Consciousness: How the Brain Created Experience‘. The first post in the series was: What counts as consciousness? Life appears … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Let artificial intelligence evolve? Probably fruitless, possibly dangerous.

Michael Chorost has an article at Slate about artificial intelligence and any dangers it might present.  I find myself in complete agreement with the early portions of his piece, as he explains why an AI (artificial intelligence) would be unlikely to … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Fruit fly fear and AI sentience

I found this study interesting: Do flies have fear (or something like it)? — ScienceDaily. A fruit fly starts buzzing around food at a picnic, so you wave your hand over the insect and shoo it away. But when the insect … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Religion, the Axial Age, and theoretic culture

I recently read the late Robert Bellah’s ‘Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age.’  Although the title of the book seems to narrow it to just religion, in ancient societies, religion was just about everything, so … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

E.O. Wilson: Science, not philosophy, will explain the meaning of existence

Well, in remarks that I’m pretty sure are guaranteed to rile up philosophers, E.O. Wilson, who apparently has a new book out on the meaning of human existence, disses both philosophy and religion, saying that scientists will provide the meaning … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments