From deities to data - "For thousands of years humans believed that authority came from the gods. Then, during the modern era, humanism gradually shifted authority from deities to people... Now, a fresh shift is taking place. Just as divine authority was legitimised by religious mythologies, and human authority was legitimised by humanist ideologies, so high-tech gurus and Silicon Valley prophets are creating a new universal narrative that legitimises the authority of algorithms and Big Data." [more inside]
In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari - "The book delivers on its madly ambitious subtitle by in fact managing to cover key moments in the developmental history of humankind from the emergence of Homo Sapiens to today's developments in genetic engineering." Also btw, check out Harari on the myths we need to survive, re: fact/value distinctions and their interrelationships.
'Why People Oppose GMOs Even Though Science Says They Are Safe - Intuition can encourage opinions that are contrary to the facts' (SciAm)
Open Mind - "This is a website with numerous peer-reviewed philosophical texts covering a wide range of topics and disciplines that are available for free. This means that the texts are not restricted to the use of academics and students in the developed world who can afford to download them, but are available to anyone, anywhere." [more inside]
Douglas Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, thinks we've lost sight of what artificial intelligence really means. His stubborn quest to replicate the human mind.
How Google Is Making Us Smarter: Humans are "natural-born cyborgs," and the Internet is our giant "extended mind."
A New State of Mind. "New research is linking dopamine to complex social phenomena and changing neuroscience in the process."
"Over and over he scoops up a chick with his left hand, expels its droppings with a squeeze of his thumb, opens its vent with his fingers, peers through the magnifying lenses attached to his spectacles and determines its sex." It's a dirty job (YT). Sexing chicks early is important so that the cockerels can be separated and culled^ or fed to be broilers^. The obvious differences take weeks to develop, so when the vent sexing method was developed in Japan in the 1920s, professional chicken sexers became sought after. [more inside]
Online videos of philosophical lectures. Chomsky, Pinker, Dennet, Hofstadter, Searle, the Churchlands...
I am John's brain. Amusingly written, yet astutely raising an important point. What exactly are we to do about consciousness? Although clearly different theories abound, one must still ponder whether or not the problem is even solvable in the first place. Where then can we turn to for our solution? Why, bicamerality, of course.