“Alex Huth, first author of our new paper, talks about how visual information about thousands of objects and actions are represented across human visual cortex. For more information, please visit our web site (gallantlab.org) or get the paper: Huth, A.G., S. Nishimoto, A.T. Vu & J.L. Gallant (2012). A continuous semantic space describes representation of thousands of object and action categories across the human brain. Neuron, December 20 2012.
For more information about this paper or our other work please visit our lab web page:
Forty years after the last flight to the Moon, human exploration of outer space seems to have stalled, although a number of options exist for new scientific and technological alternatives, both in goals and the means to achieve them. Public opinion polls fail to look deeply into popular conceptions, and they tend to reveal only weak enthusiasm.
Immaculate doll-face, globulous breasts, teeny waist, slender limbs, vacant ice-blue eyes, long platinum hair - Valeria Lukyanova of Odessa, Ukraine, has re-designed her physical form to resemble Barbie, the plastic Mattel toy. Is the result “beautiful”? Critics screech that she’s “creepy” and “lifeless” with an “uncanny valley” absence of sexuality, but… let’s not kid ourselves here.
I get to do something exciting today and answer a couple of questions that a reader sent me. I’d like to do this more in the future, so if you have a topic you’d like me to discuss, please let me know!
In science fiction novels like River of Gods by Ian McDonald , an artificial intelligence finds a way to boot-strap its own design into a growing super-intelligence. This cleverness singularity is sometimes referred to as FOOM . In this piece I will give an argument that a single instance of intelligence may be self-limiting and that FOOM collapses in a “MOOF.”
I recommend watching the one-hour film Knocking on Heaven’s Door, by George Carey, aired by the BBC in 2011, to all space enthusiasts interested in the history of the Russian space program and our future out there in the universe. The film zeroes in on the powerful role that religion can play in advancing radical scientific visions.
“Whether we like certain foods or not may be something we have no control over. Dr Eileen Gibney discusses how our genes can influence our food choices and how this may determine how healthy our diets really are.” - UCDAlumni1
Science is all about asking questions, exploring problems that confound or intrigue us. However, satisfactory answers can’t always be found in today’s media that far too often focuses on cases of technology gone awry, filling readers with more hopelessness than hope.
Could someone without a business degree become a marketing consultant? No? Then how is it that people without philosophy degrees are becoming ethics consultants?  Is it that people don’t know that Ethics is a branch of Philosophy just as Marketing is a branch of Business? Doubtful.
“Proponents of 3D printing say it has the potential to alter radically a number of industries. Peter Marsh, FT manufacturing editor, talks to one such supporter - Abe Reichental of US-based 3D Systems - to find out how it works and if it really is a ‘disruptive technology’” -FT
Growing old, and having lost hope of finding love again, I read about the Lifemates Co-op and was intrigued. “Mr or Ms Right doesn’t exist in nature. If you want someone that was made for you, come to us.” I made an appointment to visit their office and talk with a salesperson…
Transgendered people are often seen as courageous; they have the guts to take radical steps to become the people they really are. But I don’t see them as any different from people, mostly women, who get nip-and-tuck surgeries, botox, and breast enlargements. After all, they too take radical steps to become the people they feel they really are – youthful and sexually attractive.
“Business is struggling to cope with an avalanche of valuable information from ‘big data’. Ravi Mattu, FT business life editor, talks to eBay and the designer of the iPhone about using good design to persuade consumers to give up their data and the benefits that brings.” - FT
Pizzerias, chocolatiers, ice cream parlors and other vendors of high cal, high carb foods have been facing a quiet crisis that could reach epidemic proportions in next few years: More and more women are choosing not to have a monthly cycle.
Professor David Chalmers discusses the nature of consciousness on “through the wormhole” with Morgan Freeman. Topics include: awareness and higher-order consciousness; the science of consciousness and the relation of consciousness to the physical world; dualism and consciousness as a fundamental aspect of reality.
The recent Nature journal special edition is dedicated completely to the problem of aging. Among various articles covering topics from demographics to comparative biology and robots, there’s one about the interventions in the aging processes. It is a nice overview about the current successes in slowing down aging in mammals, however I found the last paragraph rather disappointing. It says….
“Sirius was founded in July 1990 by Martine Rothblatt as Satellite CD Radio, Inc.. In that month she also petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create a Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service in an underutilized portion of the 2300 MHz frequency band. Her vision was to adapt GPS patch antennas to a national, digital, radio service, for which she claimed in her Petition for Rulemaking that there was a large, unmet public need. Rothblatt first demonstrated the service via terrestrial emulators of a satellite to FCC officials in 1992 outside the offices of WPFW in Washington, DC. In that she resigned as Chairman & CEO to focus on finding a cure for her daughter’s illness. She selected David Margolese to succeed her, and he subsequently venture capitalized US$20 million over the next five years lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to allow satellite radio to be deployed.” - Wikipedia (Same thank you from Howard Stern (and the IEET to Martine!))
Our solar system orbits around the Milky Way roughly every 200-250 million years and researchers at Cardiff University suggest that periodically, in cycles estimated at every 37 million years or so, we encounter dangerous ‘speed bumps’ with life-extinction-causing asteroids.
Piracetam has been around since the 1960’s and is regarded as a pioneer “smart drug.” It enjoys a popular, international following, its record as a treatment for cognitive disorders is impressive, and scientific exams haven’t flagged any dangerous side effects. But is Piracetam truly the intelligence booster many of us eagerly want?
I came to Israel in 1967 following my two-year service in the American Army. I made a rule not to vote in American elections even though as a citizen with an honorable discharge I had every legal and moral right to do so. I thought it improper to vote for representatives and polices of a country I was not living in. In 2012 – after 45 years – I broke that rule. Why?
What can we expect when machines surpass humans in intelligence; a point in time that futurists predict could become reality by 2045. Though it’s impossible to forecast this far in advance with 100% accuracy, by combining predicted technology breakthroughs with present-day knowledge, we can make plausible guesses about how tomorrow’s super-intelligent machines might affect our lives.
Are we hurting our noggins? Internationally, are there social customs, diseases, pollutants, school policies, parental choices, drugs, diets and philosophies that cause, or are correlated with, decreased intelligence? Here are fourscore-and-a-trio of the mind-mangling menaces. A preponderance of the fearsome factors have undergone scientific scrutiny, with statistics filed in the massive archives of pubmed.gov.
I fell totally in love with Second Life one minute after joining in 2005. A few weeks later I left a very boring but very well paid senior management post in the public sector to became a technology entrepreneur.