Weirdly, Tramadol is not a natural product after all. Tramadol can be extracted from the root of a tree in Cameroon, but isn’t in the trees because the trees make it, it’s in the trees because it’s given extensively to cattle in the region, so much so that it’s soaked into the soil and been taken up by the trees.

(via What an Artificial Intelligence–Powered Economy Looks Like | New Republic)

If you are super-intelligent, you might think of other paths that we can’t imagine. Just imagine gorillas trying to figure out all the ways that humans might think of to outwit the gorillas. They wouldn’t get very far.

AI presents a very difficult set of problems that we have to get right on the first try, and there are very few things that we’ve ever gotten right on the first try. … We’ve kind of been mucking up for millennia—but not irrevocably. A lot of these things require a higher level of maturity as a civilization. We are in a kind of teenage stage, where we’re getting access to strong muscles but we’re reckless and short-termist.

We are powerful not because we have stronger muscles or sharper teeth than other animals but because our brains are slightly different from those of other great apes. That has enabled us to invent technologies, to build modern, complex societies, to deliberate a plan for the future. But AI may be radically superhuman in those capabilities, and that would, similarly, be very powerful relative to us.

We ran a survey among experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence. We asked them by what year they thought there would be a 50 percent chance that we would have human-level machine intelligence. The median answer was 2040 or 2050. They thought there was a 90 percent probability we would have it by 2075, which I think is a bit over-confident.

(via What an Artificial Intelligence–Powered Economy Looks Like | New Republic)

If you are super-intelligent, you might think of other paths that we can’t imagine. Just imagine gorillas trying to figure out all the ways that humans might think of to outwit the gorillas. They wouldn’t get very far.

AI presents a very difficult set of problems that we have to get right on the first try, and there are very few things that we’ve ever gotten right on the first try. … We’ve kind of been mucking up for millennia—but not irrevocably. A lot of these things require a higher level of maturity as a civilization. We are in a kind of teenage stage, where we’re getting access to strong muscles but we’re reckless and short-termist.

We are powerful not because we have stronger muscles or sharper teeth than other animals but because our brains are slightly different from those of other great apes. That has enabled us to invent technologies, to build modern, complex societies, to deliberate a plan for the future. But AI may be radically superhuman in those capabilities, and that would, similarly, be very powerful relative to us.

We ran a survey among experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence. We asked them by what year they thought there would be a 50 percent chance that we would have human-level machine intelligence. The median answer was 2040 or 2050. They thought there was a 90 percent probability we would have it by 2075, which I think is a bit over-confident.

Review of THE EGO TUNNEL by Thomas Metzinger

Awesome cover!

(Source: youtube.com)

(Source: youtube.com)

How do you weigh in on the free will/fate debate?

How do you determine right from wrong?

Are you a rationalist or empiricist or both? (If you don’t know these terms, don’t worry about it. Or just Google ‘em.)

How would you solve the mind/body problem? (Clue: You can reduce things to one or the other, or…actually solve the problem. Good luck.)

Does God exist?

If God exists, does that mean there is life after death?

What is a soul? Does it exist?

Do dogs have souls?

What about parameciums?

What is Justice?

What is Love?

What is happiness?

What is courage?

Does happiness factor into ethics? (In other words, does being a good person mean being a happy person?)

What is the purpose of art?

Please leave a comment to link to your post, or leave your ideas directly in the comment box, if you wish.

Thoughts That Count

Guns don’t shoot people.
People without guns don’t shoot people, either.
Just sayin’.

s33:

Professionals admit that AI falls short of human capabilities, and significantly more applicable. A skeptical view holds consciousness can only be realised in particular physical systems because consciousness has properties that necessarily depend on physical constitution.

Phineas Gage

From The Writer’s Almanac
On this date in 1848, railway worker Phineas Gage survived having an iron rod driven through his brain. He was 25 years old, a handsome young man and a hard worker, and was a foreman on a crew cutting a railroad bed near Cavendish, Vermont. He was using a tamping iron to pack explosives into a hole in a boulder when the explosive powder detonated. It drove his tamping iron — which was 43 inches long, and an inch and a quarter wide — through his left cheek, up behind his left eye, and out the top of his head, where it landed some 30 yards away. He lost the vision in his left eye, but it’s possible that he didn’t even lose consciousness; in any case, he was able to walk to an oxcart within a few minutes of the accident. Workers took him to his boarding house, where he had enough of his wits about him to quip to the local doctor, “Here is business enough for you.” One witness reported that Gage got up and vomited; “the effort of vomiting pressed out about half a teacupful of the brain, which fell upon the floor.”

"The static, or ‘moving spotlight’ view is like your standard calendar, a spotlight simply moves across time, highlighting events in a very linear way. However, there is also a ‘shrinking tree’ model of time. As time elapses and you make various decisions, then your options (the branches of the tree) fall off and new ones emerge."

— Dr. Jonathan Tallant, a philosopher who thinks about time

Tags: time

(via The Upside of Pessimism - The Atlantic)

neurosciencestuff:

Employing a measure rarely used in sleep apnea studies, researchers at the UCLA School of Nursing have uncovered evidence of what may be damaging the brain in people with the sleep disorder — weaker brain blood flow.

image

(Image caption: This brain scan shows that the brain blood flow in a…

(Source: newsroom.ucla.edu)

"For, as our physical path on earth is always a line and not a surface, we must in life, if we wish to grasp and possess one thing, renounce and leave aside innumerable others that lie to the right and to the left."

— Arthur Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, §55

How do you react to a heartbreaking, disturbing, disquieting, challenging, threatening, or inflammatory situation? It occurs to me that there is a spectrum of possible responses. Can you identify where you lie along this axis when confronting a difficult or troubling situation?

Phight, Phlight, Phreeze, Phuss, Phlame,
Phume, Phry, Phumigate, Phoam, Phloat,
Phocus, Phunction, Phaze, Phoenix Pheather

Do you know which neuropeptides — which ‘Molecules of Emotion’ — are implicated in each response? What are the roles of Adrenalin, Bombesin, Gastrin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphins, and Erasin in the various responses along the Phreaking Spectrum?

(via The changing face of humans: Drop in testosterone levels 50,000 years ago triggered ‘era of co-operation’ that gave mankind art and technology | Mail Online)

A drop in testosterone levels around 50,000 years ago led the the development of art and technology. A comparison was done with 13 skulls older than 80,000 years, 41 skulls from 10,000 to 38,000 years ago, and a global sample of 1,367 20th century skulls from 30 different ethnic populations. The evidence is that the shape of human skulls changed about 50,000 years ago, and the link to testosterone is that testosterone apparently makes skulls with heavy brows and lower testosterone makes rounder heads. This indicates that humans became “nicer”, a guess made by comparison to our two closest related primate species, chimpanzees and bonobos. Bonobos have round heads and are peaceful while chimpanzees have heavy brows and are aggressive. As humans became “nicer” and were able to live in larger cooperative groups, these larger cooperative groups were able to invent art and technology.

(via The changing face of humans: Drop in testosterone levels 50,000 years ago triggered ‘era of co-operation’ that gave mankind art and technology | Mail Online)

A drop in testosterone levels around 50,000 years ago led the the development of art and technology. A comparison was done with 13 skulls older than 80,000 years, 41 skulls from 10,000 to 38,000 years ago, and a global sample of 1,367 20th century skulls from 30 different ethnic populations. The evidence is that the shape of human skulls changed about 50,000 years ago, and the link to testosterone is that testosterone apparently makes skulls with heavy brows and lower testosterone makes rounder heads. This indicates that humans became “nicer”, a guess made by comparison to our two closest related primate species, chimpanzees and bonobos. Bonobos have round heads and are peaceful while chimpanzees have heavy brows and are aggressive. As humans became “nicer” and were able to live in larger cooperative groups, these larger cooperative groups were able to invent art and technology.