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Why It’s So Hard to Learn French in Middle Age
I knew I’d never sound like a native. But shouldn’t I be much better than this?
middle-life  learn  français  vocabulary  language  brain  research 
april 2019 by aries1988
We may finally know what causes Alzheimer’s – and how to stop it

Multiple teams have been researching Porphyromonas gingivalis, the main bacterium involved in gum disease, which is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s. So far, teams have found that P. gingivalis invades and inflames brain regions affected by Alzheimer’s; that gum infections can worsen symptoms in mice genetically engineered to have Alzheimer’s; and that it can cause Alzheimer’s-like brain inflammation, neural damage and amyloid plaques in healthy mice.
teeth  inflammation  brain  alzheimer  research  medicine  pharma  future  health  science  senior  bacteria 
february 2019 by aries1988
The evidence is in: there is no language instinct – Vyvyan Evans | Aeon Essays
Our brains really are ‘language-ready’ in the following limited sense: they have the right sort of working memory to process sentence-level syntax, and an unusually large prefrontal cortex that gives us the associative learning capacity to use symbols in the first place. Then again, our bodies are language-ready too: our larynx is set low relative to that of other hominid species, letting us expel and control the passage of air. And the position of the tiny hyoid bone in our jaws gives us fine muscular control over our mouths and tongues, enabling us to make as many as the 144 distinct speech sounds heard in some languages.
brain  language  baby  biology  research  linguist  debate  theory  gene 
september 2018 by aries1988
The Mystery of People Who Speak Dozens of Languages
An extreme language learner has a more-than-random chance of being a gay, left-handed male on the autism spectrum, with an autoimmune disorder, such as asthma or allergies. (Endocrine research, still inconclusive, has investigated the hypothesis that these traits may be linked to a spike in testosterone during gestation.)
language  brain  club  world  malta  linguist 
september 2018 by aries1988
Meet the pirate queen making academic papers free online
She cared less about the form than the function: she wanted a global brain. To her, paywalls began to seem like the plaques in an Alzheimer’s-riddled mind, clogging up the flow of information.
academia  stans  story  science  piracy  female  leader  russia  today  idea  world  brain  knowledge  share 
february 2018 by aries1988
Why post-sex cuddles and pillowtalk count for more than orgasm | Aeon Essays
As Martin Portner, a neurologist living in Brazil, wrote in Scientific American Mind in 2008, people need more than arousal to experience an orgasm: ‘It requires a release of inhibitions and control in which the brain’s centre of vigilance shuts down in males; in females, various areas of the brain involved in controlling thoughts and emotions become silent.’
brain  sex  couple  love  research  scientist 
november 2017 by aries1988
Letter of Recommendation In-Flight Movies
Crying on planes is so common that it has prompted cheeky “weep warnings” on Virgin Atlantic flights and myriad articles trying to understand why we do it. The most accepted explanation is a simple confluence of altitude, loneliness and the heightened emotions that accompany the humiliating experience that is modern air travel.
fun  plane  travel  sadness  cry  research  moi  brain  shame 
november 2017 by aries1988
BBC - Future - How flying seriously messes with your mind
There are some studies, however, that show even relatively mild levels of hypoxia (deficiency in oxygen) can alter our ability to think clearly.

Human night vision can deteriorate by 5-10% at altitudes of just 5,000ft (1.5km). This is because the photoreceptor cells in the retina needed to see in the dark are extremely oxygen-hungry and can struggle to get all they need at a high altitude, causing them to work less effectively.

as the change in air pressure can also lead to passengers breaking wind more often.
biology  travel  health  psychology  brain  plane  research  fun  body 
october 2017 by aries1988
Aerodynamics For Cognition | Edge.org
By studying how birds fly and the structure of their wings, you can learn something important about aerodynamics. And what you learn about aerodynamics is equally relevant to then being able to make jet engines.                                 

The kind of work that I do is focused on trying to identify the equivalent of aerodynamics for cognition. What are the real abstract mathematical principles that constrain intelligence? What can we learn about those principles by studying human beings? 

We already do this to some extent. If you’ve ever used the strategy of gamification, where you’re using an app or something that gives you points for completing tasks, or if you make a to-do list and you get satisfaction from checking things off, what you’re doing is essentially using this external device as a mechanism for changing the environment that you’re in.

What machine-learning algorithms do when they're solving this problem is recognize that the thing you should be doing is exploring more when you first arrive in the city and exploiting more the longer you are in the city. The value of that new information decreases over time. You're less likely to find a place that is better than the places you've seen so far, and the number of opportunities that you're going to have to exploit that knowledge is decreasing.

My colleague Alison Gopnik, who has been pursuing this, has a hypothesis about cognitive development. When we look at children, that variability and randomness that we see is exactly a rational response to the structure of the problems they're trying to solve. If they're trying to figure out what are the things in their environment that they will most enjoy, then putting everything in their mouth is a pretty good strategy in terms of maximizing their exploration.

In the first half of the 20th century, it was disreputable to try to study how the mind works because minds were things that you never saw or touched or intervened on. What you could see was behavior and the environment that induces that behavior, so the behaviorist psychologists said, "Let's get rid of the mind. Let's just focus on these mappings from environment to behavior." That's where a lot of behavioral data science is. If I show you this, then you click on this. If you've seen these webpages, then you're likely to go to this webpage. It's a very behaviorist conception of what underlies the way that people are acting.

In Australia, in the last year of high school, you have to make a decision about what you want to study at university. It was 1994, I was sixteen years old, and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew that I liked math, but I certainly didn't want to make a commitment to doing that for the rest of my life. I said, "Okay, I'll study the things that we don't know anything about—philosophy, psychology, anthropology." That was what I went to university to do.

One of the ways in which human beings still outperform computers is in being able to solve problems of reasoning about why you did the thing you did, what you're going to do next, what the underlying reasons were behind things that you did.

We as human beings are used to being surrounded by intelligent systems whose thoughts are opaque to us. It's just that normally those intelligent systems are human beings.
ai  thinking  research  human  interaction  communication  motivation  consciousness  brain  maths 
october 2017 by aries1988
The 'Thumbprint Of The Culture': Implicit Bias And Police Shootings : NPR
The implicit-association test (IAT) is a measure within social psychology designed to detect the strength of a person's automatic association between mental representations of objects (concepts) in memory.
research  bias  brain 
june 2017 by aries1988
The Kekulé Problem - Issue 47: Consciousness - Nautilus
I call it the Kekulé Problem because among the myriad instances of scientific problems solved in the sleep of the inquirer Kekulé’s is probably the best known. He was trying to arrive at the configuration of the benzene molecule and not making much progress when he fell asleep in front of the fire and had his famous dream of a snake coiled in a hoop with its tail in its mouth—the ouroboros of mythology—and woke exclaiming to himself: “It’s a ring. The molecule is in the form of a ring.” Well. The problem of course—not Kekulé’s but ours—is that since the unconscious understands language perfectly well or it would not understand the problem in the first place, why doesnt it simply answer Kekulé’s question with something like: “Kekulé, it’s a bloody ring.” To which our scientist might respond: “Okay. Got it. Thanks.”

Problems in general are often well posed in terms of language and language remains a handy tool for explaining them. But the actual process of thinking—in any discipline—is largely an unconscious affair. Language can be used to sum up some point at which one has arrived—a sort of milepost—so as to gain a fresh starting point. But if you believe that you actually use language in the solving of problems I wish that you would write to me and tell me how you go about it.
thinking  language  brain  linguist  scientist  dream  consciousness 
may 2017 by aries1988
Pourquoi est-on plus à l’aise pour dire des grossièretés dans une langue étrangère ?

De nombreuses personnes plurilingues décrivent en effet l’impression de ressentir moins de choses dans leur seconde langue, qui ne porte pas le même « poids émotionnel » que la langue maternelle. En se sentant moins lié émotionnellement à la langue que l’on parle, on peut plus facilement jurer et/ou raconter des détails de sa vie intime. Le terme scientifique pour cela est « résonance émotionnelle réduite du langage », nous apprend Wilhelmiia Toivo.

La chercheuse cite le philosophe du langage Ludwig Wittgenstein, qui disait : « Les limites de mon langage signifient les limites de mon propre monde.

une époque où le bilinguisme ne se résume pas à parler les deux langues transmises par des parents bilingues. Le bilinguisme décrit aussi la pratique de deux langues au quotidien, peu importe son degré de maîtrise, en raison d’une migration, d’un séjour à l’étranger, ou d’un échange universitaire. « Alors que le nombre de personnes changeant de langue régulièrement continue d’augmenter, comprendre tous les aspects du langage et comment il influe sur nos vies est essentiel », conclut-elle.
language  psychology  brain  science 
march 2017 by aries1988
The bilingual brain: why one size doesn’t fit all

Studying white matter – which is primarily composed of axons, the long, slender projectiles shunting signals across a nerve cell – is a way to measure connectivity between brain regions. If we think of the human brain as water in a cup (the cup being our skull), then white matter is like a straw in that cup: it constricts water flow in the direction that the axons are travelling. One common DTI measure, fractional anisotropy (FA), maps the overall shape of water flow in the brain. Another more specific measure, radial diffusivity (RD), helps researchers to pinpoint weak spots in the side of the straw, places where water might ‘leak’ out. In the healthy brain, researchers have long held, white matter will show high FA (flow in a single direction) and low RD (leaking of water in other directions).

Specifically, more time spent listening to the second language was associated with lower RD in regions associated with language production (the anterior portion of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus). More time spent speaking the second language was associated with higher FA in regions of the brain associated with language comprehension.
brain  research  language  debate  children 
march 2017 by aries1988
The Spanish Lesson I Never Got at School

With Spanish’s endearments and ample use of the subjunctive tense and the diminutive, I have learned that to know a language is to enter into another way of being.

My father, for example, is a charming man in English, a language he has spoken fluently for a half-century. In Spanish, however, his full talents as a sardonic raconteur are on display; he’s even prone to the occasional philosophical soliloquy. My mother is a fluent English speaker, but in Spanish she’s a storyteller with a deeply romantic bent and a flair for the ironic.

For Latino immigrant children, Spanish is the key that unlocks the untranslatable wisdom of their elders, and that reveals the subtle truths in their family histories. It’s a source of self-knowledge, a form of cultural capital. They are smarter, in fact, for each bit of Spanish they keep alive in their bilingual brains. And they are more likely to see the absurdity in the rants of xenophobes and racists.
children  language  education  school  bilingual  opinion  politics  usa  espagna  family  literature  personality  brain 
november 2016 by aries1988
Andrew Sullivan: My Distraction Sickness — and Yours

At your desk at work, or at home on your laptop, you disappeared down a rabbit hole of links and resurfaced minutes (or hours) later to reencounter the world. But the smartphone then went and made the rabbit hole portable, inviting us to get lost in it anywhere, at any time, whatever else we might be doing. Information soon penetrated every waking moment of our lives.

My breathing slowed. My brain settled. My body became much more available to me. I could feel it digesting and sniffing, itching and pulsating. It was if my brain were moving away from the abstract and the distant toward the tangible and the near.

Remember, my friend Sam Harris, an atheist meditator, had told me before I left, if you’re suffering, you’re thinking.

If you’re watching a football game with your son while also texting a friend, you’re not fully with your child — and he knows it. Truly being with another person means being experientially with them, picking up countless tiny signals from the eyes and voice and body language and context, and reacting, often unconsciously, to every nuance. These are our deepest social skills, which have been honed through the aeons. They are what make us distinctively human.

in a controlled and sequestered world that exists largely free of the sudden eruptions or encumbrances of actual human interaction.

The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or be reborn.

From the moment I entered a church in my childhood, I understood that this place was different because it was so quiet.

this silence demarcated what we once understood as the sacred, marking a space beyond the secular world of noise and business and shopping.

The only place like it was the library, and the silence there also pointed to something beyond it — to the learning that required time and patience, to the pursuit of truth that left practical life behind.

Has our enslavement to dopamine — to the instant hits of validation that come with a well-crafted tweet or Snapchat streak — made us happier?

just as modern street lighting has slowly blotted the stars from the visible skies, so too have cars and planes and factories and flickering digital screens combined to rob us of a silence that was previously regarded as integral to the health of the human imagination.
technology  culture  internet  meditation  distraction  essay  attention  habit  reading  information  brain  silence  thinking  family  today 
september 2016 by aries1988
Bringing up babel

If you don’t speak a person’s native language, there’s always a corner of their mind you can’t quite reach. But everyone who has learned a language in adulthood knows how hard it is, with the grammar books and the flash cards, the pronunciation problems and the awkward rhythm, never quite getting to fluency.

Parents normally use one of two strategies to make sure the minority language sticks: either one parent, one language, or one language at home, the other outside.

Bilinguals hit developmental milestones at the same rate as their monolingual peers. But they are prone to errors, and their total vocabulary is divided between two languages. So they usually lag behind slightly in the vocabulary of the schooling language. When these kids get to school, many teachers, with the support of doctors unfamiliar with the research, begin telling parents to speak only the majority language with the child – and many parents give in and do so.

the fear that language diversity would interfere with nation-building. A good American speaks English. By faulty syllogism, this meant that a second language made a bad American, so educational policy set about creating a nation of monoglots.

Bialystok has found that bilinguals seem to have better executive function – the ability to plan and carry out complicated tasks.

Roberto Filippi of Anglia Ruskin University has also found that bilingual children are better at tuning out distracting spoken language in the background.

Noam Chomsky theorised that human language is a single phenomenon, with relatively trivial surface differences between languages.

different languages may force people to pay attention to things they otherwise wouldn’t – such as different levels of formality, in languages that have both a formal and an informal word for you.

In one study, bilingual children did better on a task testing theory of mind. This is the knowledge, still developing in small children, that others have minds with different contents.

Many people report their first real understanding of grammar upon learning a second language.

A little can-do American optimism, a little Danish grit in the face of life’s harsh realities. If Henry acquires both of these, we will have done our job.
language  kid  parenting  choice  bilingual  brain  danish  baby  instapaper_favs 
september 2016 by aries1988
Mystery of déjà vu explained – it’s how we check our memories | New Scientist
If these findings are confirmed, they suggest déjà vu is a sign that your brain’s memory checking system is working well, and that you are less likely to misremember things.
research  dejavu  memory  brain 
august 2016 by aries1988
不懂构建知识体系,你迟早被信息洪水淹死
我们会从过往实践经历中归纳经验和知识,我们会基于一些知识理论指导演绎其他事物的发展,在这个过程中知识是在不断变化的,但认知知识的方法是相对稳定的,也就是元认知——人对自己的认知过程的认知。

评判一个人是否厉害,大家当时的判断标准就是——在任何条件下都能保持稳定的输出。

为什么要构建知识体系?我们都想成为厉害的人。怎么成为厉害的人?厉害的人就是在任何条件下都能保持稳定质量的输出。

六个步骤:目标、获取、提炼、输出、聚合、扩充。
pkm  howto  knowledge  learn  brain 
august 2016 by aries1988
The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence
Currently, the world’s fastest supercomputer, China’s Tianhe-2, has actually beaten that number, clocking in at about 34 quadrillion cps. But Tianhe-2 is also a dick, taking up 720 square meters of space, using 24 megawatts of power (the brain runs on just 20 watts), and costing $390 million to build. Not especially applicable to wide usage, or even most commercial or industrial usage yet.

The brain’s neurons max out at around 200 Hz, while today’s microprocessors (which are much slower than they will be when we reach AGI) run at 2 GHz, or 10 million times faster than our neurons. And the brain’s internal communications, which can move at about 120 m/s, are horribly outmatched by a computer’s ability to communicate optically at the speed of light.

when it hits the lowest capacity of humanity—Nick Bostrom uses the term “the village idiot”—we’ll be like, “Oh wow, it’s like a dumb human. Cute!”
numbers  ai  comparison  brain  computer 
august 2016 by aries1988
Being Bilingual Changes the Architecture of Your Brain | WIRED
When I speak Spanish, it’s not an effortless cognitive switch. My brain needs to actively choose Spanish every time I say a word or construct a sentence. Even after years and years of speaking Spanish every day, I can often feel that work happening. It’s tiring, and switching to English can be a relief.

Every time I choose washing machine over lavadora, or vice versa, my brain gets a little stronger. Kroll thinks this constant cognitive challenge that bilinguals face may be responsible for an observed improvement in what’s called executive function, or the ability to filter out unnecessary information and make decisions.
story  bilingual  language  brain  espagna  english  research 
july 2016 by aries1988
The Bitter Fight Over the Benefits of Bilingualism

Bilinguals have lots of experience with these skills. The bilingual mind is in constant conflict, explains Ellen Bialystok from York University, one of the leading researchers in this field. For every utterance, a choice is made to focus on the target language, so there is a constant need to select. She says that this constant experience leaves its mark on the brain, strengthening the regions involved in executive function.
language  brain  mind  bilingual  research 
july 2016 by aries1988
Why kids can learn more from tales of fantasy than realism | Aeon Ideas
Children have a lot of learning to do. Arguably, this is the purpose of childhood: to provide children with protected time so that they can focus on learning how to communicate, how the world around them works, what values their culture finds important, and so on.

representations of seemingly impossible events can help children’s learning. For example, infants are more prepared to accept new information when they are surprised, thus violating their assumptions about the physical world.

immersion in a scenario where they need to think about impossible events might engage children’s deeper processing, precisely because they can’t treat these scenarios as they would every other scenario that they encounter in reality.
children  brain  research  tale  story 
july 2016 by aries1988
Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age
Dr. Berninger said the research suggests that children need introductory training in printing, then two years of learning and practicing cursive, starting in grade three, and then some systematic attention to touch-typing.
research  writing  debate  digital  device  pen  brain  children  education  handwriting 
june 2016 by aries1988
Listening to speech has remarkable effects on a baby’s brain
In all cultures, babies’ first words are greeted with special joy. This joy is testimony to the power of language – a signature of our species and our most powerful cultural and cognitive convention. Language permits us to share the contents of our hearts and minds, in ways that are unparalleled elsewhere in the animal kingdom. It is the conduit through which we learn from and about others, across generations and across cultures.

Newborn infants can’t point to what they like or crawl away from what they don’t. But when infants’ interest is captured by a particular sight or sound, they will suck rapidly and vigorously on a pacifier.
language  brain  baby 
june 2016 by aries1988
The End of Reflection
If you are awake for 16 hours, turning on or checking your phone 85 times means doing so about once every 11 minutes (and doesn’t account for internet use on a computer), and 5.05 hours is over 30 percent of the day.

Being distracted by the second task didn’t hurt actual performance on the first task, but it did impair the subjects’ ability to be introspective (again, by accurately self-reporting how they did). The finding supports previous widespread evidence that multitasking leads to lower cognitive performance. (With, again, other studies showing some beneficial effects of multitasking.)

Finding moments to engage in contemplative thinking has always been a challenge, since we’re distractible, said Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows. But now that we’re carrying these powerful media devices around with us all day long, those opportunities become even less frequent, for the simple reason that we have this ability to distract ourselves constantly.

Nevertheless, he sees our current direction as indicative of the loss of the contemplative mind, he said. We’ve adopted the Google ideal of the mind, which is that you have a question that you can answer quickly: close-ended, well-defined questions. Lost in that conception is that there’s also this open-ended way of thinking where you’re not always trying to answer a question. You’re trying to go where that thought leads you. As a society, we’re saying that that way of thinking isn’t as important anymore. It’s viewed as inefficient.
thinking  research  today  reading  brain  device  human  google  zeitgeist 
june 2016 by aries1988
How your unknown prejudices can dictate your actions in a crisis
The medial frontal cortex is also involved when we take another person’s perspective in order to understand their thoughts and motives. However, research reveals a reduction in this region’s pattern of activity when we think about people from lower status groups. Given that African Americans are viewed this way, this suggests they are seen more as objects than as people. These factors – stereotyping and dehumanisation – conspire to produce the impression that someone is dangerous and that their life is not particularly worthy.

You might think none of this applies to you, but you would be wrong. Virtually everyone has unconscious racial biases, in part because the mind has a natural tendency to categorise people and also because our culture exposes us to common caricatures about race.

Our research shows that even avowed egalitarians show bias in their behaviour when they have to make a snap judgement. These biases are also not limited to race but exist for almost any attribute, be it gender, nationality, sexual orientation or hair colour, and they constantly shape our judgements. Bias comes from our culture, it seeps into our brains, and unless we control it, it is expressed in our actions.
brain  perception  race  psychology  reflex  research  instapaper_favs 
january 2016 by aries1988
Busting the baby brain myth: Why motherhood makes minds sharper | New Scientist
In adults, such rapid changes in grey matter normally occur only as a result of major events like illness or brain injury. It just goes to show that “pregnancy is not just some minor event”, as Kinsley puts it. “These changes represent a separate developmental period every bit as important as sexual differentiation or puberty.”

women in the last trimester of pregnancy tend to be much less stressed. This is down to a dampening of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the system responsible for the flight-or-fight response. These changes appear to last beyond pregnancy, although for precisely how long remains unclear.

Starting in late pregnancy, women get better at detecting fear, anger and disgust in computer-generated faces, though their ability to detect surprise and positive emotions such as happiness doesn’t change.

corticotropin-releasing hormone – secreted by the hypothalamus – rises dramatically during pregnancy, which seems to play a role in making the mother-to-be feel less stressed. But an abnormal spike in its levels is associated with postnatal depression, Glynn has found.
children  pregnancy  parents  brain  intelligence  female 
january 2016 by aries1988
Chinese characters and the left-brain vs. right-brain hypothesis
TOPIC OF DEBATE: An NTNU [National Taiwan Normal University] psychology professor said the results debunk a myth that Chinese and alphabetic languages are processed by different sides of the brain
brain  language 
january 2016 by aries1988
Book extract: ‘The Brain: The Story of You’, by David Eagleman - FT.com
This mirroring sheds light on a strange fact: couples who are married for a long time begin to resemble each other, and the longer they’ve been married, the stronger the effect. Research suggests this is not simply because they adopt the same clothes or hairstyles but because they’ve been mirroring each other’s faces for so many years that their patterns of wrinkles start to look the same.
brain  society  human 
november 2015 by aries1988
Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain - NYTimes.com
Our brains have two dominant modes of attention: the task-positive network and the task-negative network (they’re called networks because they comprise distributed networks of neurons, like electrical circuits within the brain). The task-positive network is active when you’re actively engaged in a task, focused on it, and undistracted; neuroscientists have taken to calling it the central executive. The task-negative network is active when your mind is wandering; this is the daydreaming mode. These two attentional networks operate like a seesaw in the brain: when one is active the other is not.

But the insight that led to them probably came from the daydreaming mode. This brain state, marked by the flow of connections among disparate ideas and thoughts, is responsible for our moments of greatest creativity and insight, when we’re able to solve problems that previously seemed unsolvable.
brain 
september 2015 by aries1988
Oliver Sacks, Neurologist Who Wrote About the Brain’s Quirks, Dies at 82
“The thousand and one questions I asked as a child,” he wrote, “were seldom met by impatient or peremptory answers, but careful ones which enthralled me (though they were often above my head). I was encouraged from the start to interrogate, to investigate.”
obituary  scientist  popscience  brain 
september 2015 by aries1988
Visualizing the Brain
Storage capacity
needed to map a human
connectome:

1.3 billion
terabytes

Global
hard drive
storage,
2014:

2.6 billion
terabytes

Accurately simulating a functioning brain from a static circuitry map, many scientists say, will require a grasp of how living brains work that is orders of magnitude better than what we have today. Even then, it may be necessary to identify the molecular identity of each neuron, in addition to knowing how they connect to one another.

And of course, no one knows if even a perfect simulation of a mind would retain the self-awareness of the original.
brain  story 
september 2015 by aries1988
Ellen Langer — Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness
Social psychologist Ellen Langer defines mindfulness with counterintuitive simplicity: the simple act of actively noticing things — with a result of increased health, competence, and happiness.
mind  placebo  brain  body  interview 
september 2015 by aries1988
A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future
Cancer claimed Kim Suozzi at age 23, but she chose to have her brain preserved with the dream that neuroscience might one day revive her mind.
death  brain  science  medicine  future  mind 
september 2015 by aries1988
The Scientific Case For Taking A Two-Hour Lunch Break

Davis says a two-hour lunch gives the brain two things it needs to be more productive during the afternoon; the first is psychological distance. "It’s so much easier to remember the big picture, what matters, and what’s your most important desire when you literally step away," he says.
brain  work 
august 2015 by aries1988
The End Is A.I.: The Singularity Is Sci-Fi's Faith-Based Initiative
Is machine sentience not only possible, but inevitable? Of course not. But don't tell that to devotees of the Singularity, a sci-fi-inspired theory that sounds like science, but is really just the rapture for nerds.

This is what Vinge dubbed the Singularity, a point in our collective future that will be utterly, and unknowably transformed by technology’s rapid pace. The Singularity—which Vinge explores in depth, but humbly sources back to the pioneering mathematician John von Neumann—is the futurist’s equivalent of a black hole, describing the way in which progress itself will continue to speed up, moving more quickly the closer it gets to the dawn of machine super intelligence. Once artificial intelligence (AI) is accomplished, the global transformation could take years, or mere hours. Notably, Vinge cites a SF short story by Greg Bear as an example of the latter outcome, like a prophet bolstering his argument for the coming end-times with passages from scripture.

Neuroscience has made incredible progress in directly observing the brain, and drawing connections between electrical and neurochemical activity and some forms of behavior. But the closer we zoom in on the mind, the more complex its structures and patterns appear to be. The purpose of the Human Brain Project, as well as the United States’s BRAIN Initiative, is to address the fact that we know astonishingly little about how and why human beings think about anything. These projects aren’t signs of triumph over our biology, or indications that the finish line is near. They’re admissions of humility.

“If you asked someone, 50 years ago, what the first computer to beat a human at chess would look like, they would imagine a general AI,” says Naam. “It would be a sentient AI that could also write poetry and have a conception of right and wrong. And it’s not. It’s nothing like that at all.” Though it outplayed Garry Kasparov in 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue is no closer to sentience than a ThinkPad laptop. And despite its Jeopardy prowess, “IBM’s Watson can’t play chess, or drive one of Google’s robotic cars,” says Naam. “We’re not actually trending towards general AI in anyway. We’re just building better and better specialized systems.”
scifi  ai  opinion  future  brain 
december 2014 by aries1988
This Is Your Brain on E-Books | MIT Technology Review
But I readily concede that the next generation may read protestations like mine bemusedly; I do feel like an old man in my insistence that something is lost with the death of the physical book. I do appreciate the care that researchers are taking to quantify the benefits some feel in a physical culture of reading, even if they be few. We should have a firmer sense of just what it is we’re giving up, when we welcome all the conveniences of e-reading.
brain  ebook 
april 2013 by aries1988
A Brief History of the Brain
New Scientist tracks the evolution of our brain from its origin in ancient seas to its dramatic expansion in one ape – and asks why it is now shrinking
http://www.instapaper.com/read/210859962
discovery  brain  biology  future 
august 2012 by aries1988
Your Optimism Bias: One of the Best and Worst Tricks Your Brain Plays on You
By nature, we're optimistic. We think we're better than most people at virtually everything we do. We believe we'll beat the odds of getting cancer even when we smoke a pack of cigarettes a week. This is the result of our optimism bias, and it both helps us succeed and make some of the dumbest decisions of our lives. Here's how it works, and how you can make it work for you. More »
http://www.instapaper.com/read/288777571
optimism  fail  human  brain  bias 
may 2012 by aries1988
Erleuchtung(sram)
Energiesparlampe Insight von Solovyov Design.

(Gefunden bei thisisnthappiness)

…………………..
brain  light 
march 2011 by aries1988

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