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artificial intelligence

Dispelling Myths About the Brain and Consciousness

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Why do we have consciousness?   The mainstream view, expressed by Carl Sagan in 1977, is: “[The brain’s] workings – what we sometimes call mind – are a consequence of its anatomy and physiology and nothing more.”  But what in its anatomy and physiology?  Said neuroscientist Sam Harris in 2015, “There is nothing about a brain, studied at any scale, that even suggests that it might harbor consciousness.” So is mainstream science trying to find the harbor? Not very much. Said physicist Lee Smolin in 2013, “…whereas there are real mysteries about consciousness, they’re beyond what science can tackle with present knowledge.” Since they supposedly can’t be tackled?  Dr. Eben Alexander, formerly a Harvard Medical School associate professor in brain…

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TED Talks: Oscar Schwartz’s Computer Can Write Poetry

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It seems like a silly question: Can a computer write poetry? But then, after writing a poem, will that computer then take over the world? Oscar Schwartz is less concerned with the speculative danger surrounding artificial intelligence – instead, he’s using algorithms to help us figure out what it means to be human. In this intriguing talk from [email protected] from May 2015, Schwartz (who by the way is hilarious on Twitter) discusses his Bot or Not project. The project was started as a website he and his colleague Benjamin Laird created that tests users by having them guess whether or not a poem was written by a human or a computer algorithm. Running these tests, he’s encountered some unique results, and some…

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Review: From Wall-E to the Terminator, Should We Be Worried About AI?

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When you think of artificial intelligence, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? Wall-E? The Terminator? Should we be worried about machines that think? Some of the most influential scientists and technological pioneers of this era are worried about the prospect of artificial intelligence (AI). Stephen Hawking says the advent of AI could “spell the end of the human race.” Elon Musk calls it an “existential threat.” Bill Gates is “concerned.” Popular culture certainly hasn’t helped quell any fears about evil killer robots taking over the planet and enslaving humanity. From spooky classics like The Terminator to modern hits like Ex Machina, we’ve been conditioned to respond to the notion of AI with hostility and fear. However,…

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