27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Shannon's Learning Mouse Theseus

Theseus was propelled by a pair of magnets, one embedded in its hollow core, and one moving freely beneath the maze. The mouse would begin its course, bump into a wall, sense that it had hit an obstacle with its “whiskers,” activate the right relay to attempt a new path, and then repeat the process until it hit its goal, a metallic piece of cheese. The relays stored the directions of the right path in “memory”: once the mouse had successfully navigated the maze by trial and error, it ...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 How Social Media Annexes Your Cognitive Landscape

In my 2016 book, Deep Work, I proposed a strictly binary approach to social media: you should perform an honest cost/benefit analysis on the social media platforms in your life, and quit all services that don’t provide substantially more benefits than costs with respect to things you truly value. The issue with this idea, as I discovered, is that many people could identify a small number of important benefits provided to them by particular social media platforms that couldn’t be easily r...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 The Myth of the Solitary Villain

The more sophisticated and powerful a technology, the more people are needed to weaponize it. And the more people needed to weaponize it, the more societal controls work to defuse, or soften, or prevent harm from happening. I add one additional thought. Even if you had a budget to hire a team of scientists whose job it was to develop a species-extinguishing bio weapon, or to take down the internet to zero, you probably still couldn’t do it. That’s because hundreds of thousands of man-year...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 The Information Age has Increased Abstract Intelligence

Most dramatically, an increase in one kind of abstract intelligence is visible all over the world: mastery of digital technology. Cyberspace is the ultimate abstract realm, in which goals are achieved not by pushing matter around in space but by manipulating intangible symbols and patterns. When people were first confronted with digital interfaces in the 1970s, like videocassette recorders and ticket machines in new subway systems, they were baffled. It was a running joke of the 1980s that mo...
Folksonomies: intelligence iq
Folksonomies: intelligence iq
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16 APR 2018 by ideonexus

 Pianos Make Music Accessible Like Computers Make Math Acc...

Though it has become a naturalized part of music-making since the first one was built in 1710, the pianoforte (its name means "soft-loud") was a technical marvel for its time, a machine that changed music in ways that are hard to imagine. Computer pioneer Alan Kay once observed that any technological advance is "technology only for people who are born before it was invented,' and in the case of the piano, this applies to no one alive today. Seymour Papert, the MIT researcher, concluded, "That...
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16 APR 2018 by ideonexus

 Facebook is a Game

Game designer Robin Hunicke has noted that Facebook is actually a complex, massively multiplayer online game, with challenges, rewards, and levels just like any other. Think about it for a second and you'll realize that the rules are simple: be the most fun, intelligent, witty, caring version of yourself. The benefits are obvious, Hunicke observed: Facebook "makes people feel like they matter, like they have friends and family across all kinds of distances," she said. "How many games make you...
Folksonomies: social media gamification
Folksonomies: social media gamification
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10 FEB 2018 by ideonexus

 Applications for Simulated Worlds

Consider that applications of simulated worlds and simulated games to science and social science research are on the increase. Businesses build virtual worlds for commercial purposes. Scientists utilize video games to crowd-source solutions to protein folding, to invesfigate complexity theory and artificial life, to visualize the physics of black holes, and to research economic, social, and psychological behaviors. Call of Duty, Second Life, World of Warcraft—and the software that makes the...
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06 JAN 2018 by ideonexus

 Review Your Social Media Timeline to Improve Your Sense o...

In an experiment at Cornell, stressed college students randomly assigned to scroll through their own Facebook profiles for five minutes experienced boosts in self-affirmation compared to students who looked at a stranger’s Facebook profile. The researchers believe self-affirmation comes from reminiscing on past meaningful interactions — seeing photos they had been tagged in and comments their friends had left — as well as reflecting on one’s own past posts, where a person chooses how ...
Folksonomies: social media self-worth
Folksonomies: social media self-worth
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12 DEC 2017 by ideonexus

 Two Kinds of Science-Fiction Innovations

Most common are the fictions that begin with Jules Verne, and concern the single artifact—a submarine, flying machine, or death ray—and its consquence for all of humanity. These extraordinary voyages—to use Verne's term—play along the fault line between what we think we are and what we can do. Nemo is no accident, or a tragic figure, but the natural consequence of the intersection between present-day humanity and extraordinary technology. Even 2001: A Space Odyssey plays on the same t...
Folksonomies: futurism science fiction
Folksonomies: futurism science fiction
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 The Attention Arms Race

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google have produced amazing products that have benefited the world enormously. But these companies are also caught in a zero-sum race for our finite attention, which they need to make money. Constantly forced to outperform their competitors, they must use increasingly persuasive techniques to keep us glued. They point AI-driven news feeds, content, and notifications at our minds, continually learning how to hook us more deeply—from our own behavior. Unfortuna...
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