Explaining the deep-seated psychological habits most of us have – the transparency illusion, the primacy effect (that’s the power of first impressions), and the fact that we all tend to be “cognitive misers” – that make it difficult to consistently get an accurate read on other people.
“The consensus answer was that the emphasis should be on collaboration (learning with others, working with others—both keys to much of the advancement of the maker culture), learning how to think (specific subject matter is less important, with an important exception noted below), and being able to think in a systemic way (seeing how things fit together).”
On a basic level, the appeal of any sort of porn is what scientists call supranormal stimulus, “[an] exaggerated imitation [that] can cause a stronger pull than the real thing.” But food porn “is a visual experience of something that other people can smell and taste … something that, at its best, should manufacture a desire that it can’t satisfy.” So what happens in the brain that keeps people hooked on it?
“Can technology—especially AI—help humans reverse eons of irrational behavior and bad habits that seem hard-coded in our DNA? Ariely believes it can, and believes that it will start with AI-oriented software and tools that can create what he calls an “intention genome” for every individual—tools to help align our unlimited aspirations and goals with our very limited time on earth.”
Evolution, he claimed, was taking us toward what he called the Noosphere (“nous” is greek for mind) – a global unity of consciousness, a ” ‘thinking’ sphere circling the Earth above the biosphere, which [would comprise all] human reflection, conscious souls, and love.” But “a funny thing happened on the way to the New Age. Humanity ended up building an actual Noosphere (or at least its first draft). It was called the Internet.”
“Now, teachers function more as coaches than lecturers and the students are active collaborators. Initially limited to the high school, the framework is now being phased in at the middle school, too. And while the extended-learning program, now five years old, predates the student-centered initiative, officials say it has been key to the turnaround.”
“One of the best (and, sometimes, worst) things about being around young kids is how honest they are. A 3-year-old I know, for example, recently (and very sincerely) asked a visiting relative why he has such a fat belly. But at what age do kids start to realize that saying exactly what they think can hurt other people’s feelings?”
“Over the last five years, processing power and huge corpuses of teaching data have given computers the ability to detect emotions and moods. Soon, perhaps, they will be able to recognize a sideline scuffle or a player’s shift in attitude. Combine that with sensors gathering crowd reactions, the movement and changes in velocity for players and passes, historical statistics that provide context for the game and a player’s performance—and now AI is starting to encroach on analysis as well.”
“It’s worth noting at the outset: New Age is not so much a discrete collection of beliefs as it is a Venn diagram (or a mandala, if you like) of intersecting interests, objectives and motifs. The New Age ‘movement’ is not a single movement at all. The term contains multitudes. … The aesthetic is one of unabashed pastiche. So, too, are the beliefs undergirding it.”
“There’s a tremendous variety. Some, like Jeanne Gang’s Aqua Tower, are feats of form—her 82-story Chicago skyscraper is elevated to the realm of massive sculpture by the addition of curving balconies that jut out from the rectangular base. Others, like Neri Oxman’s pavilion made from silkworm thread, give us a sense of how new materials and digital fabrication techniques could be used to build tomorrow’s structures.”
“In an age where politicians campaign through social media and viral marketers ponder the appeal of sneezing baby pandas, memes are more important than ever – however trivial they may seem. … What has happened to the idea of the meme, and what does that evolution reveal about its usefulness as a concept?”
“A cognitive scientist and a German philosopher walk into the woods and come upon a tree in bloom: What does each one see? And why does it matter? While that may sound like the set-up to a joke making the rounds at a philosophy conference, I pose it here sincerely, as a way to explore the implications of two distinct strains of thought – that of cognitive science and that of phenomenology, in particular, the thought of Martin Heidegger, who offers a most compelling vision of the ultimate significance of our being here, and what it means to be fully human.”