“‘You’re doomed! What you’ve got now – that’s it,’ is the answer [psychology professor] Brian Little … gave me, and he was only half-joking.” And he was half-joking because that answer is about half-true.
“The Internet age just isn’t that impressive. Technological advancements of the last century had a truly transformative effect over the previous industrial age. Ice farming was replaced by refrigeration, the horse and buggy by the automobile, burning of fossil fuels for energy by centralized electrical power production. These advancements were notable not just in what they achieved in themselves but how they affected society.”
“The distinction between a corporation and an algorithm is fading. Does that make an algorithm a person? Here we have this interesting confluence between two totally different worlds. We have the world of money and politics and the so-called conservative Supreme Court, with this other world of what we can call artificial intelligence, which is a movement within the technical culture to find an equivalence between computers and people.”
“In recent years, researchers and the public have, to a certain extent, latched onto the idea that there are important similarities between physical and emotional pain … At the very least,” according to new research, “pain and rejection appear to show up as distinct ‘representations’ in fMRI (brain scan) readings of study participants.”
“More than ever, highly technical design is becoming more data-driven, faster, and smarter. As I learned at the Dassault Systèmes’ 3D Experience Forum in Las Vegas this week, engineers are increasingly using virtual test benches, new data sources, advanced computer simulations, and extremely sophisticated 3D modeling software to build much better mousetraps.”
“Now that life isn’t evaluated by good grades or audiences who feel forced to applaud, every period to a sentence is my own tiny award for finishing a coherent thought. I keep going. I don’t have a path or a vision board or a career strategy, but I just keep moving in this direction and trusting that something cool will eventually happen.”
“Throughout human history, innovation -including the technological progress we cherish -has been fuelled and sustained by imitation. Copying is the mighty force that has allowed the human race to move from stone knives to remote-guided drones, from digging sticks to crops that manufacture their own pesticides. … We’re natural-born rip-off artists. To be human is to copy.”
“To date, 56 people have been identified as possessing a structural difference in their brain that allows them to swiftly and vividly recall their life’s events – from the mundane to the monumental – usually starting around early adolescence.” Here’s a Q&A with one of those people, a 30-year-old New Yorker.
“The realism canard” is what critic Isaac Butler calls the tendency to find fault with works of fiction, especially films, because events and conditions in them aren’t like real life. (For instance, in outer space, you can’t hear explosions.) Problem is, our brains are fooled by filmed images a lot more than we’d like to think.
“There are speech patterns and facial expressions said to be ‘cues,’ but these are often unreliable, and can be overcome, particularly when the liar in question doesn’t care if you believe her or not. (Wanting to be believed stresses us out, which can lead to giveaways like averted eye contact and stammering.)”
“The rise of spoiler-free criticism seems like a move away from criticism as art — and a move toward criticism as an arm of fandom marketing. It’s fine to not want spoilers in your criticism. But there is something distasteful about the assumption that providing spoilers is some sort of lapse in ethics or etiquette.”