Witness: 29 April 2016

Why understanding ancient languages would be important when we discover time travel.

Because obviously we need to eat our pea(s).

I’m ready for Max Payne 4 where Max discovers all the pills he’s been eating came from a corrupt pharmaceutical company. He agrees to undergo a special procedure to get off the pills and stop the evil pharma.

If our biggest tech companies can create porn loving Nazi AI, the next obvious step in our discomfort is to upload it into a robot that asks us to touch its ass.

Then again, maybe this is why I spend too long in the shower. Too many dirty thoughts.

Ever wonder how evil you might be? BBC Future has a little test you can take to find out.

Feel like expressing your emotions while out and about? OED lists a few choice words.

But we’re primed to discern relationships from laughter accurately, without words.

Witness: 14 March 2016

“On the command of men wearing money belts that buy mistresses sleek animal pelts. Too many puppies.” -Primus
Why, because apparently it’s really quite easy.

A long-time component to my cyberpunk contemplation, Aeon explores AI becoming conscious without our knowing it, and Conscious Entities rebuts.

Waterboarding reaches a whole new level when we start thinking about torturing robots.

Just in case you didn’t get all this, the important thing to remember is keep stress levels at a minimum.

Artificial Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence, Emotional Technology.

Witness: 23 February 2016

Want to learn how to chew out your uncle for getting too drunk and making an ass of himself the ancient Roman way? Now you can.

I can’t fathom why knowing multiple languages is ever a bad thing, but damn it if science isn’t working to prove otherwise.

Is educating AI via stories something of a quixotic endeavor?

Oxford dictionary has a breakdown of some endangered languages.

A few videos this time…

Novelist Chimamanda Adichie gives a talk over at TED on getting perspective.

The ups and downs of AI are explored in this video to help clarify where we really are with this stuff.

Lastly, learn about the Grimm history of the Umlaut.

Witness: 07 February 2016

In the world of games and AI, recent news about a new Go AI capable of beating humans. Conscious Entities offers a summary.


Since we’re dropping maths, here’s some that explains selfishness.

I knew a guy who once admired certain people in this manner; presence. I never quite understood what he meant until now.

Many recently celebrated the birthday of The King of Reggae, so here’s a little Oxford Words Blog intro into Bob Marley and the culture, and a little something to smoke while ya irie ponderin’ Jah.

More on language, Ars Technica has meetup with the creator of the Belter language used in the popular Expanse books and now Cable TV series.

Witness: 26 January 2016

“No, while most people have been at their unhappiest while in love, it is nevertheless the state the human being yearns for above all.”

Keep up on your ‘deep reading‘ techniques.

As VR headsets hit the market this year, don’t forget your cognitive biases to enhance your experience.

Another perspective on the psychology of stories; logic versus likeness.

Read literature and improve your state of mind. There’s a whole class on that.

Witness: 9 January 2016

Enhanced vision and auditory processing and heightened recognition of new information in the environment at the cost of poor impulse control and being easily distracted. Would you like to play a game?

Hmm, super smart genetically engineered babies and smart drugs right around the corner? Maybe, now that we’ve figured out what to target.

After manipulating the brains of male and female mice, we’ve further reinforced that there’s no gender distinction in neural circuitry. Male and female mice do use their brains differently, however. Mice, remember. Mice.

On the removal of the self, and how the Japanese have stumbled upon it, whether for good or ill.

A strange line exists between the worlds of the cynic and the believer. Stories can be so very compelling.

The cow says, “moo,” and the rooster says, “kykkeliky.”

Shove a wire into my head and make me happy. Will optogenetics fix serious mental ailments, or become the next Prozac for the super wealthy?

Dolphins swim fast, eagles fly high, we have conversations. We’ve got mad skillz, yo.

Witness: 28 December 2015

Dropping beats is primal, yo.

More from Noam Chomsky, this time on whether submarines can swim.

Reminding us of the false promise of everybody in flying cars, this rather lengthy article at Ars Technica goes poo poo on the hopes and dreams of AI and the singularity.

So if a wolf can have a consciousness and feelings, but doesn’t feel bad for scarfing down that caribou, should I feel bad for having a steak?

From the pre-meditated murder of self-driving cars, to robot murder, who gets punished? Asimov’s Three Laws are going to end up with really complex sub-points.

“Zoom in far enough and you get seventeen particles emerging from underlying fields playing a game with four rules.” What things are.

Or are they?

Witness: 21 December 2015

Turns out maybe we do have an internal grammar mechanism in our brains.

Also all that other goo that makes up your brain, not the synapses and pathways, but the stuff scientists have shrugged off as useless slop holding the important bits in place actually has some function.

Someone in Seattle should start the Blue Rain Project to prove that you can still get wet with simulated rain. A sharp consideration of simulating the human brain, and particularly the Blue Brain Project.

Fantastic short film on confusing the virtual and the real.

Examining the ethics of self-driving cars. I wonder if programmers will give consideration to bicyclists, too.

Interesting thoughts on how to deal with punctuation anxiety by understanding some of its history as we move into an internet dominated future where language and usage continues to shift.

Tell P to stop being so horny? I wish I could convince my P.

Witness: 7 December 2015

I’m all for the increasingly blurry line between good writing and games. The Economist looks at several of the recent forays into electronic literature, a creative space that has, I believe, tons of potential.

Interesting research into how our immune system is affected by loneliness.  Damn, I was hoping I’d live a long, happy life being left the fuck alone.

Hope for hope’s sake, hope as tautology, hope because hope, hope because ‘I said so,’ is the enemy of intelligence. One can say the same about the opposing pole of despair. Neither of these—hope or despair—are ‘wrong.’ They each reflect human sentiment, much like anger, sadness, love, and joy. Art that uses any of these to say something larger interests me. Art that takes any of these as its aim does not.” —Ta-Nahesi Coates

Although the title of this article really sums it up, the whole read is definitely worth it.

New study reinforces non-binary gender in brains. Turns out we have a mix of male and female features, varied by individual, with most people somewhere in the middle.

More discoveries in how our brains do language, even if it’s a language we learned as a young child and have since forgotten.

A nice TEDx talk on the state of brain imaging and some possibilities for the future.

After everything, wind and rain down.

Witness: 24 November 2015

Humanity is doomed! Kim Stanley Robinson discusses why. Of course, there’s value to such pessimism.

Symbols and words, words and symbols. Oxford Dictionary considers the emoji, and announces their word of the year.

One of my favorite novels to be a TV mini-series. Do I cringe or rejoice?

Lay down in bed, hit a switch on the alarm clock, drop into REM sleep instantly for N hours, alarm clock flips the switch in the morning. “Did you sleep well?” said Science.

Wired covers more of the discussion over inserting digital devices into your brain. Props to the early adopters of this tech.