Steven Pinker: From neurons to consciousness

This lecture from Steven Pinker has been around for a while, but it seems to get at a question a few people have asked me recently: how does the information processing of neurons and synapses lead to conscious perception?  Pinker doesn't answer this question comprehensively (that would require a vast series of lectures), but he answers facets of … Continue reading Steven Pinker: From neurons to consciousness

Why fears of an AI apocalypse are misguided

In this Big Think video, Steven Pinker makes a point I've made before, that fear of artificial intelligence comes with a deep misunderstanding about the relationship between intelligence and motivation.  Human minds come with survival instincts, programmatic goals hammered out by hundreds of millions of years of evolution.  Artificial intelligence isn't going to have those … Continue reading Why fears of an AI apocalypse are misguided

Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon

I listened to this Point of Inquiry podcast at lunch today, and thought many of you might find it interesting: Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon | Point of Inquiry. The English language is often treated as delicate and precious, and disagreements about what is “proper English” go back as far … Continue reading Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon

Human level AI is always 20 years in the future

Steven Pinker highlighted this study which tracks the predictions of when human level AI (artificial intelligence) will be achieved.  According to the paper, the predictions cluster around predicting that it will be achieved in 15-25 years, and they have been doing so for the last 60 or so years.  The paper also notes that expert predictions have fared … Continue reading Human level AI is always 20 years in the future

The War Photo No One Would Publish – The Atlantic

Stan Hummel called my attention to this article: The War Photo No One Would Publish - The Atlantic.  I didn't embed the specific image here.  If you want to see it, you can follow the link.  Warning: it may not be something many people want to see. The Iraqi soldier died attempting to pull himself up over … Continue reading The War Photo No One Would Publish – The Atlantic

The long reach of reason

A cool TED cartoon video of Rebecca Goldstein and Steven Pinker discussing reason and its effects on history. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk7gKixqVNU I've said it before, but just because reason is a means to an end, as they note Hume observed, doesn't take away its value.  Acknowledging it only gives us a healthy, and reasonable, awareness of its … Continue reading The long reach of reason