“Enter Artemidorus of Daldis, the world’s first true dream researcher. He was a citizen of Ephesus during the second century A.D. … He did what any good researcher would do: he went out into the field, and gathered dreams. … Artemidorius made himself into an empiricist of fantasy, and he compiled his findings in a book called the Oneirocritica, or the Interpretation of Dreams.”
“Artificial intelligence and machine intelligence are about decreasing the length of human perception. Google autocomplete is an attempt to shorten the time and path between thought and a response — to decrease the time and path between seeing something and categorizing it or identifying it and moving on. To me what poetry in particular is so good at is defamiliarization. Increasing the length of perception.”
“Traditionally, the way the digital divide has been portrayed has definitely been a binary,” says Crystle Martin, a postdoctoral researcher at University of California–Irvine who specializes in studying digital literacy. “It’s been viewed, if you give people access to technology, they will be able to be online and able to access all the things available. But it actually doesn’t turn out to be true.”
“My point is that people who specialize in the life of ideas tend to be extremely atypical of their societies. They — we — are freaks in a statistical sense. For generations, populists of various kinds have argued that intellectuals are unworldly individuals out of touch with the experiences and values of most of their fellow citizens. While anti-intellectual populists have often been wrong about the gold standard or the single tax or other issues, by and large they have been right about intellectuals.”
“Changes from within do matter—and these changes may indeed be undervalued in their role in determining happiness. In fact, they may even have strong economic consequences.”
“Theorists say the internet is making us dumber, but something magical happened when my students wasted time together. They became more creative with each other. They say we’re less social; I think people on the web are being social all the time. They say we’re not reading; I think we’re reading all the time, just online.”
“These systems are potentially more precise and less invasive than existing techniques for altering brain activity such as deep brain stimulation. With so much progress on a variety of fronts, some form of human mind control – and the treatments and benefits it confers – should be here before long.”
“I mean, could you imagine if you could hear the sounds of 18th-century London today? … Even if it was just the sound of people spitting in the street, coughing — and a lot of people were sick back then, so it probably would be — it’d be fascinating.”
Think of Harper Lee or Frank Ocean. “How could someone with such an astute understanding of the world apparently want so little to do with it? How could someone craft so perfect a piece of art, only to shy away from the acclaim it produced?”
Augmented Eternity doesn’t just ingest the data someone leaves; to create a convincing facsimile, it analyzes how they think and act. The “presentation layer,” could take many forms: a chatbot, a voice interface, or even a 3D avatar in virtual reality.
It’s all about the way the thalamus (mis-)interprets the signals from the tiny, liquid-filled motion sensors in the inner ear.
“You can’t really be happy if you are a victim of injustice or exploitation, which is what the technologists of joy tend to overlook. This is why, when Aristotle speaks of a science of well-being, he gives it the name of politics. The point is of little interest to the neuroscientists, advertising gurus or mindfulness mongers, which is why so much of their work is spectacularly beside the point.”
MRIs indicate that it’s not (or not just) a placebo effect: there really are changes in certain areas of the brain – and in the connections between them.
“No Enlightenment thinker observing our current predicament from the afterlife would be able to say ‘I told you so’ as confidently as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, an awkward and prickly autodidact from Geneva, who was memorably described by Isaiah Berlin as the ‘greatest militant lowbrow in history.'”
“Most of the time, we’re still better at subconsciously editing our own recollections than any new technology is. But with researchers working on techniques that can chisel, reconstruct and purge life’s memories, it becomes crucial to ask: do we need our real memories? What makes us believe that memory is so sacrosanct? And do memories really make us who we are?”
“‘Comic books have a language,’ says comic artist Ilan Manouach. ‘They have specific devices’ to convey certain actions or emotions, like ‘a lightbulb, [or] a drop of sweat,’ that get lost when a visual story is translated into a fully language-based one. But Manouach believes he’s found a way to overcome that particular hurdle.”
“During O.J. Simpson’s famous, slow-speed police chase in the summer of ’94, Domino’s Pizza reported record-breaking pizza sales. (According to the same company, not a single person in the entire country ordered a pizza from them during the five minutes the Simpson verdict was read out the following year.)”
“The magic of the Internet — the recession of the material world in favor of a world of ideas — is not pure delight. It seems we are missing something very worthwhile and identity-forming from our predigital lives. Is it a handwritten letter? Is it an analog phone call? Is it a quality of celluloid film, a multivolume encyclopedia, or a leather-bound datebook? Is it a way of thinking or being or even falling in love?”
“The kiosks offer affordable and traditional drinks and snacks, conversation and community – and also employment in a country struggling with the staggering levels of unemployment and recession gripping much of western Europe.”
“He envisions a society where each person can express himself or herself in a manner that enriches everyone – in the way that an orchestra harnesses the gifts of its members or a potluck becomes more fun when many people bring their signature dish.”
“While some languages survive by transplanting their speakers to more hospitable locations—New York City is especially fertile, hosting communities who languages have effectively become extinct in their places of origin—others don’t have the option of finding a home elsewhere.”
“In Mrs. Clinton’s speech, she fitted her opponent with an absurd crown to cast him as her show’s erratic, vain and autocratic King George.”
Consider the anger at Lance Armstrong once the truth came out. Consider all the time and money spent on catching and eliminating athletes who dope. “If technology can help sports officials perform their jobs more efficiently and fairly, why can it not be used to help athletes do their jobs more effectively? The answer is quite simple: Athletes have to be human.”
“The internet and digital media have created the impression of limitless knowledge at our fingertips. But, by making us lazy, they have opened up a space that ignorance can fill.”
“Zombies belong to the realm of horror stories that reappear over and over throughout history – from ancient Mesopotamia to modern-day sci-fi – because they raise a more terrifying fear than merely that of a gory death: the threat of eternal life.”
Martha Nussbaum looks at two of anger’s main drivers, loss of status and the desire for payback, and looks to Aristotle and Nelson Mandela for examples of how to deal with them.
“We like silence for what it doesn’t do—it doesn’t wake, annoy, or kill us—but what does it do? When Florence Nightingale attacked noise as a “cruel absence of care,” she also insisted on the converse: Quiet is a part of care, as essential for patients as medication or sanitation. It’s a strange notion, but one that researchers have begun to bear out as true.”
“Q: If you’re going to procrastinate, are there better and worse ways to do it?”
Charles Duhigg: “There is no magic formula that applies to all people. What we do know is that often people are fairly bad at picking up on what is refreshing and rejuvenating, and so they tend to misevaluate what they should do as a break.”
“We humans are oddly fond of trusting our guts. Well, that might not be such a great idea: The same people more likely to go with intuition over rational thought are worse judges of others’ emotions, according to new research.”
“To see if they could actually identify such patterns, the team had 80 people solve a series of math problems while lying in an fMRI scanner. Using a mix of otherwise standard methods from computer science and neuroscience, they identified a sequence of brain-activation patterns corresponding to encoding a problem, planning a solution, making the necessary computations, and providing a response.”