Henry Markram says the mysteries of the mind can be solved—soon. Mental illness, memory, perception: they’re made of neurons and electric signals, and he plans to find them with a supercomputer that models all the brain’s 100,000,000,000,000 synapses.
Why are SF and Fantasy so often grouped together? Obviously, because they share readership and so are placed together in bookstores. And… heck… some of us write both! Still, there are very real differences.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner‘s dead-tree forebear) opens with Deckard arguing with his wife about whether or not to alter her crummy attitude with the “mood organ.” She could, if she so desired, dial her mood so that she was happy and content.
Dr. J. chats with Erik Helzer (Dept of Psychology, Cornell University) co-author of the paper “Dirty Liberals!: Reminders of physical cleanliness influence moral and political attitudes” in Psychological Science. They discuss the growing literature on the ways that political attitudes are driven by disgust sensitivity, and by disgust priming such as bad smells and sticky hands. Listen also to the 2004 Changesurfer interview with Martha Nussbaum about her book Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame and the Law.
The second part of Dr. J.‘s chat with Thomas White about the defense of the rights of non-human persons in general, and dolphins in particular. Professor White teaches ethics at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, is author of In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier (indefenseofdolphins.com) and co-author of the Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans: Whales and Dolphins (cetaceanconservation.com.au/cetaceanrights). Part 2 of 2. Also includes a reading of Cory Doctorow’s short story “Other People’s Money.”
At the Institute for the Future‘s 2011 Ten Year Forecast event in late March, I presented a long talk on ways in which evolutionary and ecological metaphors could inform our understanding of systemic change. The head of the Ten Year Forecast team, IFTF Distinguished Fellow Kathi Vian, thought that the ideas it contained should get a wider viewing, and asked me to put the talk on my blog. Here it is. It’s lightly edited, and only contains a fraction of the slides I used; let me know what you think.
Richard Eskow appeared on Russia Today television’s “The Alyona Show” to talk about today’s job numbers, slow-rising wages vs. fast-rising CEO pay, and the fact that 25 hedge fund managers made $22 billion each.
In 2011, the world will emit more than 35 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Every day of the year, almost a hundred million tons will be released into the atmosphere. Every second more than a thousand tons - two million pounds - of carbon dioxide is emitted from power plants, cars, trucks, ships, planes, factories, and farms around the world.
Over at New Scientist, they’ve chosen five emerging technologies that may have a big impact on the future of humanity during the next 30 years and have asked their readers to choose which will be the most significant of all. I’d like to find out how our readers’ opinions would compare with theirs.
As a grad student, Cynthia Breazeal wondered why we were using robots on Mars, but not in our living rooms. The key, she realized: training robots to interact with people. Now she dreams up and builds robots that teach, learn—and play.
Part of the struggle in persuading people that some animals deserve to be recognized as persons is convincing them that the emotional responses, inner psychological life, and social bonds of these animals are similar to our own. Are there non-human animals who, for example, demonstrate human-like grief?
The 50th Anniversary of the Pill was last year. Lots and lots of people mentioned how good, bad, unimportant, or essential the Pill has been. Our society changed the way it thought about sex, about reproduction, even about love and relationships.
Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York and cofounder of string field theory, describes the revolutionary developments taking place in the fields of medicine, computers, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, energy, and astronautics. Appearing as a guest on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show, Kaku also tells who the winners and losers of the future will be, who will have jobs, and which nations will prosper.
“Envisioning technology” is a work in progress, researched and designed by technologist Michell Zappa. IEET Fellow Ramez Naam offers his opinions on the effort: where it seems accurate, where it might not be, and what it all means.
“Ode to the Brain” is the ninth episode in the Symphony of Science music video series. Through the powerful words of scientists Carl Sagan, Robert Winston, Vilayanur Ramachandran, Jill Bolte Taylor, Bill Nye, and Oliver Sacks, it covers different aspects the brain including its evolution, neuron networks, folding, and more. The material sampled for this video comes from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED Talk, Vilayanur Ramachandran’s TED Talk, Bill Nye’s Brain episode, BBC’s “The Human Body”, Oliver Sachs’ TED Talk, Discovery Channel’s “Human Body: Pushing the Limits”, and more.