Gary Z McGee, Contributor Waking Times “Philosophical thinking that doesn’t do violence to one’s settled mind is no philosophical thinking at all.” ~Rebecca Goldstein Comfort zones are a curious thing. So warm and secure. So safe and reassuring. So satisfying and certain. Beliefs have a similar effect on us. Especially the core beliefs that we take for granted. But beliefs are comfort zones with reinforced invulnerability; or, at least, the illusion of it. Such reinforcements are like prison bars that most of us are not even aware of. We’re so completely indoctrinated, so utterly pre-programmed, that we don’t even know that … Continue reading THE BATTLE AGAINST BEWITCHMENT: UPSETTING SETTLED MINDS

GPT’s Very Inhuman Mind

Like Narcissus and his reflection, too many AI researchers are searching for the essence of intelligence when it doesn’t exist. BY REUBEN COHN-GORDON – Reuben Cohn-Gordon is an AI researcher and writer. He is soon starting a postdoctoral position at the University of British Columbia in Bayesian inference and machine learning. Previously, he studied classics. – ONE – “He loves a whim without substance — what he thinks to be a body is a shadow.”— Ovid, “Metamorphoses,” Book 3, line 417 The phrase “mere pattern recognition” tends to appear over and over again in discussions of modern advances of AI. What it gestures … Continue reading GPT’s Very Inhuman Mind

How Our Reality May Be a Sum of All Possible Realities

Richard Feynman’s path integral is both a powerful prediction machine and a philosophy about how the world is. But physicists are still struggling to figure out how to use it, and what it means. BY CHARLIE WOOD The most powerful formula in physics starts with a slender S, the symbol for a sort of sum known as an integral. Further along comes a second S, representing a quantity known as action. Together, these twin S’s form the essence of an equation that is arguably the most effective diviner of the future yet devised. The oracular formula is known as the … Continue reading How Our Reality May Be a Sum of All Possible Realities

Is freedom what the mind wants?

Blissful ignorance can be a rational choice. KEY TAKEAWAYS Can we learn enough about the brain to simulate alternate realities within our heads?  Plato, The Matrix, and the simulation hypothesis all address in some way the question of what freedom means within such a simulated reality.  If our reality is simulated, would you want to know you are not actually free? Or would you instead choose to live in blissful ignorance? by Marcelo Gleiser The possibility that machines will be able to simulate the human brain is both a scary and an amazing thought. It is different from an AI that … Continue reading Is freedom what the mind wants?

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