When AI Becomes a Ouija Board

Google’s “sentient” chatbot shows us where we’re headed—and it’s not good. By Ian Bogost A Google engineer named Blake Lemoine became so enthralled by an AI chatbot that he may have sacrificed his job to defend it. “I know a person when I talk to it,” he told The Washington Post for a story published last weekend. “It doesn’t matter whether they have a brain made of meat in their head. Or if they have a billion lines of code.” After discovering that he’d gone public with his claims, Google put Lemoine on administrative leave. Going by the coverage, Lemoine might seem to … Continue reading When AI Becomes a Ouija Board

Everything Everywhere All at Once and the Euphoria in Empathy

At the core of this mind-bending multiverse film starring Michelle Yeoh lies a story about true connection and being present in a world full of distractions.   By Noelle Webster Early on in Everything Everywhere All at Once, the new feature film from the filmmaking duo collectively known as Daniels, a Chinese-American woman named Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) sits at a cubicle across from a stickler IRS agent named Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis). Deirdre tells Evelyn, who is visibly distracted, “I cannot imagine a conversation more important than this one.” The conversation in question? Evelyn is being audited for incorrectly filing her taxes.  However, … Continue reading Everything Everywhere All at Once and the Euphoria in Empathy

The man rethinking the definition of reality

By Tom Chatfield Across his career, the philosopher David Chalmers has challenged what we hold to be true about consciousness and the mind. As Tom Chatfield discovers, now he is questioning reality itself. If you woke up one day and discovered that you were living in a virtual world – that everything you’d ever known was, like the Matrix, a form of hyper-realistic simulation – what would this imply for your hopes, dreams and experiences? Would it reveal them all to be lies: deceptions devoid of authenticity? For most people, the intuitive answer to all these questions is “yes”. After … Continue reading The man rethinking the definition of reality

Groundhog Day vs Nietzsche: Reliving Your Life

Eternal recurrence and the meaning of life by Matt Bennett  Senior Research Officer, school of philosophy and art history, University of Essex. He specializes in the philosophy of trust, Nietzsche and medical ethics. It’s Groundhog Day, again! The popular film explored an idea that religion and philosophy had previously grappled with: What if time isn’t linear, but cyclical? What if we are condemned to relive our lives again and again, to eternity? Groundhog Day presents this possibility as a challenge but also an opportunity: to imagine what the best versions of ourselves could be, even if the world around us … Continue reading Groundhog Day vs Nietzsche: Reliving Your Life

Can We Prove the World Isn’t a Simulation?

You might think we have definitive evidence we’re not in a simulation. That’s impossible. BY DAVID J. CHALMERS How do you know you’re not in a computer simulation right now? This idea is often known as the simulation hypothesis. The simulation hypothesis says simply: “We are living in a computer simulation.” What is it to be living in a simulation? As I understand this notion, it’s all about interacting with the simulation. When you’re in a simulation, your sensory inputs come from the simulation, and your motor outputs affect the simulation. You’re fully immersed in the simulation through these interactions. … Continue reading Can We Prove the World Isn’t a Simulation?

Laws of Logic Lead to New Restrictions on the Big Bang

Patterns in the ever-expanding arrangement of galaxies might reveal secrets of the universe’s first moments. Dave Whyte for Quanta Magazine Physicists are translating commonsense principles into strict mathematical constraints on how our universe must have behaved at the beginning of time. by Charlie Wood Staff Writer For over 20 years, physicists have had reason to feel envious of certain fictional fish: specifically, the fish inhabiting the fantastic space of M.C. Escher’s Circle Limit III woodcut, which shrink to points as they approach the circular boundary of their ocean world. If only our universe had the same warped shape, theorists lament, they might … Continue reading Laws of Logic Lead to New Restrictions on the Big Bang

Tales Of Technology And Faith

Sci-fi enables us to think about science and religion as mutually supportive elements of what it means to be human. BY AMANDA REES – Amanda Rees is a historian of science at the University of York. In 1948, L. Ron Hubbard is reported to have said, “You don’t get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.” Two years later, he did just that. His short story, “Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science,” which appeared in the May 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction magazine, laid the foundation of what evolved into the globally significant (and … Continue reading Tales Of Technology And Faith

Death, Physics and Wishful Thinking

Fear of mortality might underlie physicists’ fondness for the anthropic principle, multiverses, superdeterminism and other shaky ideas By John Horgan  Our quirky minds thwart psychologists’ efforts to find durable theories. But terror-management theory has held up quite well since three psychologists proposed it more than 30 years ago. It holds that fear of death underpins many of our actions and convictions. We cling to our beliefs more tightly when reminded of our mortality, especially if those beliefs connect us to something transcending our puny mortal selves. Terror-management theory can account for puzzling political trends, such as our attraction to outlandish conspiracies and authoritarian leaders. … Continue reading Death, Physics and Wishful Thinking

Being You – The Exhilarating New Science Of Consciousness

BY AZRA RAZA Gaia Vince in The Guardian: For every stoner who has been overcome with profound insight and drawled, “Reality is a construct, maaan,” here is the astonishing affirmation. Reality – or, at least, our perception of it – is a “controlled hallucination”, according to the neuroscientist Anil Seth. Everything we see, hear and perceive around us, our whole beautiful world, is a big lie created by our deceptive brains, like a forever version of The Truman Show, to placate us into living our lives. Our minds invent for us a universe of colours, sounds, shapes and feelings through which we interact with our … Continue reading Being You – The Exhilarating New Science Of Consciousness


Simon Black, Sovereign Man Waking Times As a journalist in China, Liu Hu was no stranger to punishment. For reporting on corruption among government officials, Hu was arrested, accused of “fabricating and spreading rumours,” and fined. But then one day in 2017 he suddenly found that he was unable to buy a plane ticket. The system just rejected him. He also found he couldn’t purchase certain train tickets. Then he discovered that he was unable to acquire a loan from any bank, and even forbidden from buying property at all. Eventually Liu Hu discovered his name on a government “List of … Continue reading CHINA’S ‘SOCIAL CREDIT’ SYSTEM HAS ARRIVED TO AMERICA