Category Archives: Machines / gadgets / technology / games

Robots and responsibility

[Another excerpt from Reality (a primer)] What worries many people about being told that the mind isn’t distinct from the body is what that might mean for human freedom and responsibility. If I create a robot that comes over and … Continue reading

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Achieving Star Trek

Culture is an engine that transforms food into ideas. Individual bodies are responsible for turning food into energy, but it takes a mind to create ideas, and a mind is possible only in a community. Just as a body requires … Continue reading

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Being obducted into other worlds

I have been sucked into the latest game made by the Myst people, Obduction. I’m about a third of the way through, but the premise seems to be that there are four or five worlds existing in the same space … Continue reading

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Brains and typewriters

Aristotle was not aware of any mind/body problem. He understood that all (well, almost all) of the things we do with our minds are capacities of the human body. “Thinking is something a human does” – what is especially problematic … Continue reading

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Brave New World

Reading Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future (Viking, 2016). Kelly is one of the founding editors of Wired, and this book is about the promise of emerging technologies to, well, shape our … Continue reading

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Energy, culture, and Civilization

I only recently came across the ideas of Leslie White (1900-1975). White was an American anthropologist who developed a mathematical model for civilization. Civilization, or Culture, according to White, is a product of Energy and Technology (C = E x … Continue reading

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Brainwashing, the Red Scare, and the Turing Test

I just came across this brilliant lecture, “Imitation Games: Conspiratorial Sciences and Intelligent Machines,” given recently by Simon Schaffer. I’ve noted Schaffer’s work before on early automata. Here he extends his interest in our fascination with automata to post-WWII paranoia. … Continue reading

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