Blog

We Can Never Have Enough Power

Power corrupts, so they say. Greed has undoubtedly lead to many societal ills and environmental damage. Yet, like so many other facets of the human condition, there is a positive component to this desire for power—innovation and wellbeing have increased in dramatic fashion over time. Of course, we don’t settle for this, and our constant […]

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Why We Need To Get Comfortable With Confusion

Certainty and assuredness are highly regarded in most circles. Confidence in our beliefs and a sense of control over what lay ahead helps ease our minds. As important as these qualities are, their opposite might also need some time in the spotlight. In Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing, Jamie Holmes explores the problematic side-effect […]

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Awareness Is Information That You’re Not Aware Of

“In introspecting, in asking yourself whether you have an awareness of something, and in making the decision that you have it, what you are deciding on, what you are assessing, the actual stuff your decision engine is collecting, weighing, and concluding that you have, is information. Strictly speaking, the neuronal machinery is deciding that certain […]

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How Will Our Relationship with Robots Evolve?

“The ancient Shinto religion, practiced by 80 percent of Japanese, includes a belief in animism, which holds that both objects and human beings have spirits. As a result, Japanese culture tends to be more accepting of robot companions as actual companions than is Western culture, which views robots as soulless machines. In a culture where […]

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Consciousness in Plants, Animals, and Man

“In attempting to understand the elements out of which mental phenomena are compounded, it is of the greatest importance to remember that from the protozoa to man there is nowhere a very wide gap either in structure or in behaviour. From this fact it is a highly probable inference that there is also nowhere a […]

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Information and Disruption in the Future

“Everywhere, newly empowered citizens and networks of citizens are challenging the established order in ways never before imaginable—from building new business models to challenging old autocracies.” Alec Ross explores the current changes and future possibilities regarding our lives and the industries that populate the globe. “The near future will see robot suits that allow paraplegics […]

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How Cognition Relies on Patterns

“Reciting the alphabet backward should be a simple task, as it involves exactly the same information as reciting it forward, yet we are generally unable to do it.” […] “…our memories are sequential and in order. They can be accessed in the order that they are remembered.” Memories are stored in the brain in ways […]

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Creativity and the Trouble with Incubation

For some time people have broken creativity into four stages. The preparation stage involves accumulating knowledge; the Incubation stage involves letting that knowledge sit in the back of your mind while you do something else; the Illumination stage consists of a flash of insight; the Validation stage is where you consider the idea critically. Stories abound of a-ha moments in the shower and […]

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The Three Laws of Robotics

Intelligent machines are not far off. The phone in your pocket is already more powerful than many older super computers. As things progress and self-learning algorithms become smarter, it becomes essential to safeguard ourselves from possible harm at the hand—erm, robotic limbs—of the machines. Isaac Asimov, the great sci-fi writer and witty cultural critic laid […]

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The Problem With Old School Economics

“The core premise of economic theory is that people choose by optimizing. Of all the goods and services a family could buy, the family chooses the best one that it can afford. Furthermore, the beliefs upon which Econs make choices are assumed to be unbiased. That is, we choose on the basis of what economists […]

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