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SciencePolicy > Neuroscience
Advanced Brain Science: Optogenetics and Expansion Microscopy Big Think

Despite library shelves sagging under the weight of neurology books, what we know about the brain so far is unfledged. MIT professor Edward Boyden explains how research teams are using expansion microscopy to map the densely packed neurons so we can understand how the brain is wired and apply that to human therapies.

Rights > HealthLongevity
Malaria: How Do You Eradicate an Infectious Disease With No Vaccine? Big Think

Nearly 500,000 people die every year from malaria – an awful amount, but one that has come down from one million deaths per year. Philip Eckhoff, Senior Director of Research at the Institute for Disease Modeling, explains what is involved in total global eradication of malaria and how interdisciplinary collaboration is the key to out-thinking and out-maneuvering this disease.

Technopolitics > Sociology > Philosophy
Memes 101 | How Cultural Evolution Works Big Think

We are what we are because of genes; we are who we are because of memes. Philosopher Daniel Dennett muses on an idea put forward by Richard Dawkins in 1976

Rights > CognitiveLiberty > Education
How a Math Algorithm Could Educate the Whole World — for Free Big Think

Po-Shen Loh is a Princeton-educated mathematician, Carnegie Mellon professor, the head coach of the U.S. International Math Olympiad team, and now he’s adding start-up entrepreneur to his knock-out resume.

Rights > Economic > Technological Unemployment
Can Universal Basic Income / Social Democracy Fix America’s Inequality? Big Think

Can’t the U.S. be a little more like Scandinavia in its ethos? Fixing inequality in America will take more than economic reform, it will also need a cultural shift. From a human rights and decency standard, everybody in a society should be able to meet their basic needs, says economist and Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs – but he questions whether a popular proposal known as Universal Basic Income (UBI) is the way to achieve a better standard of living in the U.S.

Technopolitics > Philosophy > Psychology > SciencePolicy > Neuroscience
How Human Consciousness Evolved Big Think

Daniel Dennett has been mulling consciousness over for the last 50 years, and he’s ended up where we began: evolution. When this theory was proposed by Darwin, it inverted everything people at the time held to be true – it revealed that we were not created by intelligent design, but rather we evolved into intelligent designers ourselves.

SciencePolicy > Safety and Efficacy > Artificial Intelligence > Fellows > Ben Goertzel
Will Superhuman Intelligence Be Our Friend or Foe? Big Think

Let’s just go ahead and address the question on everyone’s mind: will AI kill us? What is the negative potential of transhuman superintelligence? Once its cognitive power surpasses our own, will it give us a leg-up in ‘the singularity’, or will it look at our collective track record of harming our own species, other species, the world that gave us life, etc., and exterminate us like pests?

SciencePolicy > Safety and Efficacy > Artificial Intelligence
Don’t fear superintelligent AI TED Talks

New tech spawns new anxieties, says scientist and philosopher Grady Booch, but we don’t need to be afraid an all-powerful, unfeeling AI. Booch allays our worst (sci-fi induced) fears about superintelligent computers by explaining how we’ll teach, not program, them to share our human values. Rather than worry about an unlikely existential threat, he urges us to consider how artificial intelligence will enhance human life.

Rights > CognitiveLiberty > FreeThought > Education > Political Empowerment & Participation
3 ways to fix a broken news industry TED Talks

Something is very wrong with the news industry. Trust in the media has hit an all-time low; we’re inundated with sensationalist stories, and consistent, high-quality reporting is scarce, says journalist Lara Setrakian. She shares three ways we can fix the news to better inform all of us about the complex issues of our time.

SciencePolicy > Innovation > Nanotechnology
New nanotech to detect cancer early TED Talks

What if every home had an early-warning cancer detection system? Researcher Joshua Smith is developing a nanobiotechnology “cancer alarm” that scans for traces of disease in the form of special biomarkers called exosomes. In this forward-thinking talk, he shares his dream for how we might revolutionize cancer detection and, ultimately, save lives.