Archive for the ‘Brain, Neuroscience’ Category

Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind, but these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color — and yes, even listen to faces and paintings.

Neil Harbisson’s “eyeborg” allows him to hear colors, even those beyond the range of sight

Life will be much more exciting when we stop creating applications for mobile phones and we start creating applications for our own body.” (Neil Harbisson)

Marcus Du Sautoy wants to find out how close we are to creating machines that can think like us: robots or computers that have artificial intelligence. His journey takes him to a strange and bizarre world where AI is now taking shape. Marcus meets two robots who are developing their own private language, and attempts to communicate to them. He discovers how a super computer beat humans at one of the toughest quiz shows on the planet, Jeopardy. And finds out if machines can have creativity and intuition like us.

h\t to futureseek

Marcus is worried that if machines can think like us, then he will be out of business. But his conclusion is that AI machines may surprise us with their own distinct way of thinking.

SAM HARRIS IS THE AUTHOR of the New Work Times bestsellers, The Moral Landscape, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. His new book is short (96) pages, to the point, and will change the way we all view free will, as Oliver Sacks wrote: “Brilliant and witty – and never less than incisive – Free Will shows that Sam Harris can say more in 13,000 words than most people do in 100,000.” UCSD neuroscientist V.S, Ramachandran notes: “In this elegant and provocative book, Sam Harris demonstrates – with great intellectual ferocity and panache – that free will is an inherently flawed and incoherent concept, even in subjective terms. If he is right, the book will radically change the way we view ourselves as human beings”

A necessary watch

Via Scoop.itKnowmads, Infocology of the future

As the father-to-son exchange in the old Cat Stevens song advised, “take your time, think a lot, … think of everything you’ve got.” Turns out the mellow ’70s folkie had stumbled upon what may explain a key feature of our brains that sets us apart from our closest relatives: We unhurriedly make synaptic connections through much of our early childhoods, and this plasticity enables us to slowly wire our brains based on our experiences. Given that humans and chimpanzees share 98.8% of the same genes, researchers have long wondered what drives our unique cognitive and social skills. Yes, chimpanzees are smart and cooperative to a degree, but we clearly outshine them when it comes to abstract thinking, self-regulation, assimilation of cultural knowledge, and reasoning abilities. Now a study that looks at postmortem brain samples from humans, chimpanzees, and macaques collected from before birth to up to the end of the life span for each of these species has found a key difference in the expression of genes that control the development and function of synapses, the connections among neurons through which information flows.

Via Scoop.itKnowmads, Infocology of the future

Philosophers of mind are in thrall of the idea that the mind is a computer, dismissing the role and even the existence of conscious experience. But one philosopher, David Chalmers, has been highly influential in pushing back.   With the publication of his 1996 book The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, David Chalmers established himself as one of the most assiduous, honest, imaginative, and talented thinkers working in the vast and overpopulated field of the philosophy of mind. In that tome, Chalmers did not avoid the abstruse and the technical where they were unavoidable, and only intermittently lost touch with the mysteries that strike us all when we think about consciousness. And for the most part, despite the difficulties, he also managed to explain his inquiries with admirable clarity; in this respect, he came across like the philosopher John Searle, only less combative, less sure of himself, and less liable to brush aside or overlook the true problems of consciousness. (Searle, incidentally, launched a savage attack on Chalmers’s book.) If Chalmers’s scrupulousness and attention to contrary views made his arguments long — sometimes wearyingly so — this was an indirect tribute to his seriousness of purpose.

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Every day, we make decisions that have good or bad consequences for our future selves. (Can I skip flossing just this one time?) Daniel Goldstein makes tools that help us imagine ourselves over time, so that we make smart choices for Future Us.

Daniel Goldstein studies how we make decisions about our financial selves — both now and in the future,
Full bio and more links

Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness — that is a marvelous fact — but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self.

Antonio Damasio’s research in neuroscience has shown that emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision-making.