theory of mind

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pages: 405 words: 117,219

In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis


3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, anthropic principle, Asperger Syndrome, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, British Empire, business process, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, continuous integration, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Snowden, epigenetics, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, millennium bug, Moravec's paradox, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, off grid, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, post-industrial society, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

Because she did not know what he and I knew. Because his mummy had a different mind. My son had acquired what psychologists call ‘theory of mind’. Most humans14 have it. In fact, most humans at the age of four start believing that not only other humans but animals and objects have minds too: dolls and toy soldiers are very much alive in a child’s imagination. However, according to Wynn and others, our species took time to develop theory of mind. It is very possible that it was the acquisition of theory of mind that gave rise to the Upper Palaeolithic transition. English psychologist Nicholas Humphrey15 elaborated further on the evolutionary rationale for theory of mind. He argued that when individuals live within a group and enter into a diverse set of cooperative, competitive and mutualistic relationships, individuals with the ability to predict the behaviour of others will achieve the greatest reproductive success.

This social selection process will be reinforced further by the very nature of cognitive autopoiesis, which produces closed systems for which the environment acts merely as a trigger for internal processes.26 British psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen has hypothesised that autism correlates with an absence of theory of mind.27 Viewed from a cybernetic point of view, this suggests that there are many alternative ‘attractors’ for cognition in the brain. Not all types of cognition arrive at the same point, where we get theory of mind. Most of us have theory of mind because of the selection processes that we saw in Part I of the book, when I discussed how our species evolved general-purpose language and general intelligence. However, throughout our long journey as a species there have been many of us whose cognitive systems achieved dynamic equilibrium at points where theory of mind was either absent or wanting. We identify this state of alternative cognitive equilibriums using the word ‘autism’.

The human mind is a ‘strange loop’ – as Hofstadter likes to call it.18 Descartes would probably have agreed. His definition of consciousness – ‘I think therefore I am’ – is a fine example of recursive thought: the mind exists because it can think itself. We bootstrap ourselves in existence every time, out of nothing, by self-reflection. We saw in Part I how theory of mind is one of the most fundamental cognitive characteristics of the typical human mind. Theory of mind is also recursive. It gives us the ability to conceive our minds and the minds of others. It also allows us to perform mental time travel: thanks to theory of mind we can bring into our present consciousness events that took place in the past, as well as imagine ourselves in various, hypothetical future situations. The evolutionary advantages of recursive thinking are enormous. A cognitive system capable of meaning can strategise more effectively about future events and eventualities.

pages: 303 words: 67,891

Advances in Artificial General Intelligence: Concepts, Architectures and Algorithms: Proceedings of the Agi Workshop 2006 by Ben Goertzel, Pei Wang


AI winter, artificial general intelligence, bioinformatics, brain emulation, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, epigenetics, friendly AI, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, John Conway, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Occam's razor, p-value, pattern recognition, performance metric, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, semantic web, statistical model, strong AI, theory of mind, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Y2K

This additional programming does not just include what we think of a technology, but rather includes qualities regarded as core mental abilities. For example, only humans are said to have a theory of mind in that we understand that other individuals may have different beliefs than our own, and reason accordingly. However, apes display behaviors indicating aspects of theory of mind; and plovers feign injury, limping off to distract a predator from their nest, only when the predator seems to notice the nest. Thus plovers attend to the perception of the predator and modify their behavior accordingly. This ability requires subroutines on which any theory of mind must rely. This suggests that the human theory of mind is a complex modular program built on top of meaningful modules coded more explicitly in the genome, and that humans have been able to discover this more powerful program over generations, because we pass partial progress on.

Even if it is “solvable” without such heuristics, the solutions found may be overly fit to the particular problem and not usefully generalizable. 6. Theory of Mind Detailed Another, absolutely crucial, learning problem mentioned above that is typically classed in the Piagetan concrete-operational stage is ”theory of mind” – which means, in this context, fully understanding the fact that others have memories, perceptions and experiences. Consider this experiment: a preoperational child is shown her favorite “Dora the Explorer” DVD box. Asked what show she’s about to see, she’ll answer “Dora.” However, when her parent plays the disc, it’s “Spongebob Squarepants.” If you then ask her what show her friend will expect when given the “Dora” DVD box, she will respond “Spongebob” although she just answered “Dora” for herself. A child lacking a theory of mind can not reason through what someone else would think given knowledge other than her own current knowledge.

Several theorists [47,48], based in part on experimental work with autistic children, perceive theory of mind as embodied in an innate module of the mind activated at a certain developmental stage (or not, if damaged). While we consider this possible, we caution against adopting a simplistic view of the “innate vs. acquired” dichotomy: if there is innateness it may take the form of an innate predisposition to certain sorts of learning [49]. Davidson [50], Dennett [51] and others support the common belief that theory of mind is dependent upon linguistic ability. A major challenge to this prevailing philosophical stance came from Premack and Woodruff [49] who postulated that prelinguistic primates do indeed exhibit “theory of mind” behavior. While Premack and Woodruff’s experiment itself has been challenged [52], their general result has been 188 B.

pages: 1,261 words: 294,715

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky

autonomous vehicles, Bernie Madoff, biofilm, blood diamonds, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Brownian motion, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, corporate social responsibility, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, desegregation, double helix, Drosophila, Edward Snowden,, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fudge factor, George Santayana, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, John von Neumann, Loma Prieta earthquake, long peace, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, mouse model, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, publication bias, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game

., “Changes of Brain Activity in the Neural Substrates for Theory of Mind During Childhood and Adolescence,” Psychiatry and Clin Nsci 61 (2007): 355; A. Saitovitch et al., “Social Cognition and the Superior Temporal Sulcus: Implications in Autism,” Rev of Neurol (Paris) 168 (2012): 762; P. Shaw et al., “The Impact of Early and Late Damage to the Human Amygdala on ‘Theory of Mind’ Reasoning,” Brain 127 (2004): 1535. 9. B. Sodian and S. Kristen, “Theory of Mind During Infancy and Early Childhood Across Cultures, Development of,” Int Encyclopedia of the Soc & Behav Sci (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2015), p. 268. 10. S. Nichols, “Experimental Philosophy and the Problem of Free Will,” Sci 331 (2011): 1401. 11. D. Premack and G. Woodruff, “Does the Chimpanzee Have a Theory of Mind?” BBS 1 (1978): 515. Evidence against: D.

As the capacity for moral indignation matures, coupling among the vmPFC, the insula, and amygdala emerges. And as perspective taking comes into play, the vmPFC is increasingly coupled to regions associated with Theory of Mind (like the temporoparietal junction). This was our picture of empathic states in kids being built upon the cognitive foundation of Theory of Mind and perspective taking. But as we also saw, there are empathic states earlier on—infants showing emotional contagion, a toddler trying to comfort a crying adult by offering her stuffie, long before textbook Theory of Mind occurs. And just as with empathic states in other animals, one must ask whether compassion in kids is mostly about ending the sufferer’s distress or ending their own. AFFECT AND/OR COGNITION? This again.

Singer, “The Neuronal Basis and Ontogeny of Empathy and Mind Reading: Review of Literature and Implications for Future Research,” Nsci Biobehav Rev 30 (2006): 855. 6. S. Baron-Cohen, “Precursors to a Theory of Mind: Understanding Attention in Others,” in Natural Theories of Mind: Evolution, Development and Simulation of Everyday Mindreading, ed. A. Whiten (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991); J. Topal et al., “Differential Sensitivity to Human Communication in Dogs, Wolves, and Human Infants,” Sci 325 (2009): 1269; G. Lakatos et al., “A Comparative Approach to Dogs’ (Canis familiaris) and Human Infants’ Comprehension of Various Forms of Pointing Gestures,” Animal Cog 12 (2009): 621 J. Kaminski et al., “Domestic Dogs are Sensitive to a Human’s Perspective,” Behaviour 146 (2009): 979. 7. S. Baron-Cohen et al., “Does the Autistic Child Have a ‘Theory of Mind’?” Cog 21 (2985): 37. 8. L. Young et al., “Disruption of the Right Temporal Lobe Function with TMS Reduces the Role of Beliefs in Moral Judgments,” PNAS 107 (2009): 6753; Y.

pages: 27 words: 7,627

Intense Worlds by Maia Szalavitz


Asperger Syndrome, Silicon Valley, theory of mind

But while the Sally-Anne experiment shows that autistic people have difficulty knowing that other people have different perspectives—what researchers call cognitive empathy or “theory of mind”—it doesn’t show that they don’t care when someone is hurt or feeling pain, whether emotional or physical. In terms of caring—technically called the affective empathy—autistic people aren’t necessarily impaired. Sadly, however, the two different kinds of empathy are combined in one English word. And so, since the 1980s, this idea that autistic people “lack empathy” has taken hold. “When we looked at the autism field we couldn’t believe it,” Markram says. “Everybody was looking at it as if they have no empathy, no theory of mind. And actually Kai, as awkward as he was, saw through you. He had a much deeper understanding of what really was your intention.”

“I’m very much in sympathy with what they do,” he says, although he is not convinced that they have proven all the details. Mottron’s support is unsurprising, of course, because the intense world dovetails with his own findings. But even one of the creators of the “theory of mind” concept finds much of it plausible. Simon Baron-Cohen, who directs the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, told me, “I am open to the idea that the social deficits in autism—like problems with the cognitive aspects of empathy, which is also known as ‘theory of mind’—may be upstream from a more basic sensory abnormality.” In other words, the Markrams’ physiological model could be the cause, and the social deficits he studies, the effect. He adds that the VPA rat is an “interesting” model. However, he also notes that most autism is not caused by VPA and that it’s possible that sensory and social defects co-occur, rather than one causing the other.

The dark days of the mid–20th century, when autism was thought to be caused by unloving “refrigerator mothers” who icily rejected their infants, were long past. However, while experts now agree that the condition is neurological, its causes remain unknown. The most prominent theory suggests that autism results from problems with the brain’s social regions, which results in a deficit of empathy. This “theory of mind” concept was developed by Uta Frith, Alan Leslie, and Simon Baron-Cohen in the 1980s. They found that autistic children are late to develop the ability to distinguish between what they know themselves and what others know—something that other children learn early on. In a now famous experiment, children watched two puppets, “Sally” and “Anne.” Sally has a marble, which she places in a basket and then leaves.

pages: 913 words: 265,787

How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, double helix, experimental subject, feminist movement, four colour theorem, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Henri Poincaré, income per capita, information retrieval, invention of agriculture, invention of the wheel, John von Neumann, lake wobegon effect, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Necker cube, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sexual politics, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, urban decay, Yogi Berra

If the bits of matter that constitute a symbol are arranged to bump into the bits of matter constituting another symbol in just the right way, the symbols corresponding to one belief can give rise to new symbols corresponding to another belief logically related to it, which can give rise to symbols corresponding to other beliefs, and so on. Eventually the bits of matter constituting a symbol bump into bits of matter connected to the muscles, and behavior happens. The computational theory of mind thus allows us to keep beliefs and desires in our explanations of behavior while planting them squarely in the physical universe. It allows meaning to cause and be caused. The computational theory of mind is indispensable in addressing the questions we long to answer. Neuroscientists like to point out that all parts of the cerebral cortex look pretty much alike—not only the different parts of the human brain, but the brains of different animals. One could draw the conclusion that all mental activity in all animals is the same.

The later chapters, which try to explain common sense, the emotions, social relations, humor, and the arts, build on the foundation of a complex computational psyche. THE DEFENDING CHAMPION Of course, if it was unimaginable that the computational theory of mind was false, that would mean it had no content. In fact, it has been attacked head-on. As one would expect of a theory that has become so indispensable, pea-shooting is not enough; nothing less than undermining the foundations could bring it down. Two flamboyant writers have taken on the challenge. Both have chosen weapons suitable to the occasion, though the weapons are as opposite as can be: one is an appeal to down-home common sense, the other to esoteric physics and mathematics. The first attack comes from the philosopher John Searle. Searle believes that he refuted the computational theory of mind in 1980 with a thought experiment he adapted from another philosopher, Ned Block (who, ironically, is a major proponent of the computational theory).

Beneath new culture is old psychology: Gossip and social stratification. In Barkow, Cosmides, & Tooby, 1992. Barkow, J. H., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (Eds.) 1992. The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. New York: Oxford University Press. Baron-Cohen, S. 1995. Mindblindness: An essay on autism and theory of mind. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Baron-Cohen, S., Leslie, A. M., & Frith, U. 1985. Does the autistic child have a theory of mind? Cognition, 21, 37–46. Bates, E., & MacWhinney, B. 1982. Functionalist approaches to grammar. In E. Wanner & L. R. Gleitman (Eds.), Language acquisition: The state of the art. New York: Cambridge University Press. Bates, E., & MacWhinney, B. 1992. Welcome to functionalism. In Pinker & Bloom, 1990. Baumeister, R. F., & Tice, D.

The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey Into the Dark Side of the Brain by James Fallon


Bernie Madoff, epigenetics, Everything should be made as simple as possible, meta analysis, meta-analysis, personalized medicine, phenotype, Rubik’s Cube, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, theory of mind

Someone with damage to the hot system, let’s say in the orbital cortex, might not be able to predict others’ thoughts but will have the most trouble sharing his feelings. A dichotomy may exist between empathy, a fundamental connection with the pain of others and arising very early in life, and “theory of mind,” a more elaborated medial prefrontal system that allows us to consider others’ thoughts and beliefs, even if they’re different from our own. People with autism lack theory of mind but not empathy, while people with psychopathy lack empathy but not theory of mind. Without empathy you can still have sympathy, though—the ability to retrieve emotional memories, including those that can predict what painful event is probably about to befall another person, and the will to help that person. These brain circuits mature at different times during development, and although there are major maturational events that take place in the terrible twos, puberty, late adolescence, the twenties, and the mid-thirties, some are not completely integrated until one is in the sixties, which appears to be the typical average peak time of human insight, cognition, and understanding in many realms of life.

Beyond this mix of types of empathy according to individual versus group (in a sense also related to the dichotomy of empathy versus sympathy discussed at the beginning of this chapter) is another important dichotomy, and that is between emotional empathy and cognitive empathy, also known as “theory of mind.” Theory of mind, as I’ve previously discussed, arises early in childhood, developing progressively until adulthood, and is a key developmental accomplishment in which the child learns she possesses mental states like desires and intentions and beliefs, and that others possess similar states, though those may be different from her own. Someone with autism will not show a normal theory of mind. This lack may also be present in people with some personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder, and also some forms of bipolar disorder. In contrast, people with psychopathy, narcissism, and certain affective types of schizophrenia will have cognitive empathy but lack emotional empathy.

In contrast, people with psychopathy, narcissism, and certain affective types of schizophrenia will have cognitive empathy but lack emotional empathy. These two types of loss of empathy may be associated with underfunctioning of different parts of the lower, or ventral, half of the prefrontal cortex. Rebecca Saxe of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has recently shown that theory of mind is centered, in part, in the nondominant hemisphere where the temporal lobe abuts the parietal lobe, the so-called temporo-parietal junction, that is, one node in the mirror neuron system. It is a key spot in a circuit that processes how one perceives the intentions, morals, and ethics of others, a partner to the orbital cortex of the frontal lobe that processes one’s own intentions, ethics, and morality. And these two areas of the posterior and anterior cortices connect with each other, perhaps forming the neuroanatomical circuitry for the Golden Rule.

pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman


3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, functional fixedness, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

., makes use of its knowledge in novel flexible ways, outside of the software that originally extracted that knowledge. An operating system so modular that it can pinpoint your location on a map in one window, but cannot use it to enter your address in the tax return software in another window, is missing a global workspace. 2.Theory of Mind: Cognitive scientists have discovered a second set of brain circuits dedicated to the representation of other minds—what other people think, know, or believe. Unless we suffer from a disease called autism, all of us constantly pay attention to others and adapt our behavior to their state of knowledge—or, rather, to what we think they know. Such Theory of Mind is the second crucial ingredient that current software lacks: an ability to attend to its user. Future software should incorporate a model of its user. Can she properly see my display, or do I need to enlarge the characters?

Do I have any evidence that my message was understood and heeded? Even a minimal simulation of the user would immediately give a strong impression that the machine is “thinking.” This is because having a Theory of Mind is required to achieve relevance (a concept first modeled by cognitive scientist Dan Sperber). Unlike present-day computers, humans don’t say utterly irrelevant things, because they pay attention to how their interlocutors will be affected by what they say. The navigator software that tells you, “At the next roundabout, take the second exit” sounds stupid, because it doesn’t know that “Go straight” would be a much more compact and relevant message. Global workspace and Theory of Mind are two essential functions that even a one-year-old child possesses yet our machines still lack. Interestingly, these two functions have something in common: Many cognitive scientists consider them the key components of human consciousness.

Perhaps this is why, when faced with the notion of thinking machines, we fall back on understanding them as though they were thinking beings—in other words, as though they were humans. We apply the best tools our mind has—namely, Theory of Mind and general-purpose reasoning. Unfortunately, the former isn’t designed for this job and the latter is hampered by our limited capacities for attention and working memory. Sure, we have disciplines like physics, engineering, and computer science that teach us how to understand and build machines, including machines that think, but years of formal education are required to appreciate the basics. A Theory of Machine module would ignore intentionality and emotion and instead specialize in representing the interactions of different subsystems, inputs, and outputs to predict what machines would do in different circumstances, much as Theory of Mind helps us to predict how other humans will behave. If we did have Theory of Machine capacities built into our brains, things might be different.

pages: 372 words: 101,174

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, brain emulation, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer age, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, double helix,, epigenetics, George Gilder, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, linear programming, Loebner Prize, mandelbrot fractal, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I’d like to express my gratitude to my wife, Sonya, for her loving patience through the vicissitudes of the creative process; To my children, Ethan and Amy; my daughter-in-law, Rebecca; my sister, Enid; and my new grandson, Leo, for their love and inspiration; To my mother, Hannah, for supporting my early ideas and inventions, which gave me the freedom to experiment at a young age, and for keeping my father alive during his long illness; To my longtime editor at Viking, Rick Kot, for his leadership, steady and insightful guidance, and expert editing; To Loretta Barrett, my literary agent for twenty years, for her astute and enthusiastic guidance; To Aaron Kleiner, my long-term business partner, for his devoted collaboration for the past forty years; To Amara Angelica for her devoted and exceptional research support; To Sarah Black for her outstanding research insights and ideas; To Laksman Frank for his excellent illustrations; To Sarah Reed for her enthusiastic organizational support; To Nanda Barker-Hook for her expert organization of my public events on this and other topics; To Amy Kurzweil for her guidance on the craft of writing; To Cindy Mason for her research support and ideas on AI and the mind-body connection; To Dileep George for his discerning ideas and insightful discussions by e-mail and otherwise; To Martine Rothblatt for her dedication to all of the technologies I discuss in the book and for our collaborations in developing technologies in these areas; To the team, who provided significant research and logistical support for this project, including Aaron Kleiner, Amara Angelica, Bob Beal, Casey Beal, Celia Black-Brooks, Cindy Mason, Denise Scutellaro, Joan Walsh, Giulio Prisco, Ken Linde, Laksman Frank, Maria Ellis, Nanda Barker-Hook, Sandi Dube, Sarah Black, Sarah Brangan, and Sarah Reed; To the dedicated team at Viking Penguin for all of their thoughtful expertise, including Clare Ferraro (president), Carolyn Coleburn (director of publicity), Yen Cheong and Langan Kingsley (publicists), Nancy Sheppard (director of marketing), Bruce Giffords (production editor), Kyle Davis (editorial assistant), Fabiana Van Arsdell (production director), Roland Ottewell (copy editor), Daniel Lagin (designer), and Julia Thomas (jacket designer); To my colleagues at Singularity University for their ideas, enthusiasm, and entrepreneurial energy; To my colleagues who have provided inspired ideas reflected in this volume, including Barry Ptolemy, Ben Goertzel, David Dalrymple, Dileep George, Felicia Ptolemy, Francis Ganong, George Gilder, Larry Janowitch, Laura Deming, Lloyd Watts, Martine Rothblatt, Marvin Minsky, Mickey Singer, Peter Diamandis, Raj Reddy, Terry Grossman, Tomaso Poggio, and Vlad Sejnoha; To my peer expert readers, including Ben Goertzel, David Gamez, Dean Kamen, Dileep George, Douglas Katz, Harry George, Lloyd Watts, Martine Rothblatt, Marvin Minsky, Paul Linsay, Rafael Reif, Raj Reddy, Randal Koene, Dr. Stephen Wolfram, and Tomaso Poggio; To my in-house and lay readers whose names appear above; And, finally, to all of the creative thinkers in the world who inspire me every day. CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 1. THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS ON THE WORLD 2. THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS ON THINKING 3. A MODEL OF THE NEOCORTEX: THE PATTERN RECOGNITION THEORY OF MIND 4. THE BIOLOGICAL NEOCORTEX 5. THE OLD BRAIN 6. TRANSCENDENT ABILITIES 7. THE BIOLOGICALLY INSPIRED DIGITAL NEOCORTEX 8. THE MIND AS COMPUTER 9. THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS ON THE MIND 10. THE LAW OF ACCELERATING RETURNS APPLIED TO THE BRAIN 11. OBJECTIONS EPILOGUE NOTES INDEX INTRODUCTION The Brain—is wider than the Sky— For—put them side by side— The one the other will contain With ease—and You—beside— The Brain is deeper than the sea— For—hold them—Blue to Blue— The one the other will absorb— As Sponges—Buckets—do— The Brain is just the weight of God— For—Heft them—Pound for Pound— And they will differ—if they do— As Syllable from Sound —Emily Dickinson As the most important phenomenon in the universe, intelligence is capable of transcending natural limitations, and of transforming the world in its own image.

As an example, consider the rather subtle phenomenon of Bernoulli’s principle, which states that there is slightly less air pressure over a moving curved surface than over a moving flat one. The mathematics of how Bernoulli’s principle produces wing lift is still not yet fully settled among scientists, yet engineering has taken this delicate insight, focused its powers, and created the entire world of aviation. In this book I present a thesis I call the pattern recognition theory of mind (PRTM), which, I argue, describes the basic algorithm of the neocortex (the region of the brain responsible for perception, memory, and critical thinking). In the chapters ahead I describe how recent neuroscience research, as well as our own thought experiments, leads to the inescapable conclusion that this method is used consistently across the neocortex. The implication of the PRTM combined with the LOAR is that we will be able to engineer these principles to vastly extend the powers of our own intelligence.

We have succeeded in reverse-engineering key functions of the auditory cortex, where we process information about sound; the visual cortex, where we process information from our sight; and the cerebellum, where we do a portion of our skill formation (such as catching a fly ball). The cutting edge of the project to understand, model, and simulate the human brain is to reverse-engineer the cerebral neocortex, where we do our recursive hierarchical thinking. The cerebral cortex, which accounts for 80 percent of the human brain, is composed of a highly repetitive structure, allowing humans to create arbitrarily complex structures of ideas. In the pattern recognition theory of mind, I describe a model of how the human brain achieves this critical capability using a very clever structure designed by biological evolution. There are details in this cortical mechanism that we do not yet fully understand, but we know enough about the functions it needs to perform that we can nonetheless design algorithms that accomplish the same purpose. By beginning to understand the neocortex, we are now in a position to greatly amplify its powers, just as the world of aviation has vastly amplified the powers of Bernoulli’s principle.

pages: 901 words: 234,905

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Defenestration of Prague, desegregation, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Hobbesian trap, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, long peace, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Rodney Brooks, Saturday Night Live, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the new new thing, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

A family, peer group, and culture that ascribe high status to school achievement may be needed to give a child the motive to persevere toward effortful feats of learning whose rewards are apparent only over the long term.21 THE LAYPERSON’S INTUITIVE psychology or “theory of mind” is one of the brain’s most striking abilities. We do not treat other people as wind-up dolls but think of them as being animated by minds: nonphysical entities we cannot see or touch but that are as real to us as bodies and objects. Aside from allowing us to predict people’s behavior from their beliefs and desires, our theory of mind is tied to our ability to empathize and to our conception of life and death. The difference between a dead body and a living one is that a dead body no longer contains the vital force we call a mind. Our theory of mind is the source of the concept of the soul. The ghost in the machine is deeply rooted in our way of thinking about people.

The mind is connected to the world by the sense organs, which transduce physical energy into data structures in the brain, and by motor programs, by which the brain controls the muscles. This general idea may be called the computational theory of mind. It is not the same as the “computer metaphor” of the mind, the suggestion that the mind literally works like a human-made database, computer program, or thermostat. It says only that we can explain minds and human-made information processors using some of the same principles. It is just like other cases in which the natural world and human engineering overlap. A physiologist might invoke the same laws of optics to explain how the eye works and how a camera works without implying that the eye is like a camera in every detail. The computational theory of mind does more than explain the existence of knowing, thinking, and trying without invoking a ghost in the machine (though that would be enough of a feat).

We now know that people of both sexes and all races are capable of attaining any station in life. This sea change included a revolution in the treatment of human nature by scientists and scholars. Academics were swept along by the changing attitudes to race and sex, but they also helped to direct the tide by holding forth on human nature in books and magazines and by lending their expertise to government agencies. The prevailing theories of mind were refashioned to make racism and sexism as untenable as possible. The doctrine of the Blank Slate became entrenched in intellectual life in a form that has been called the Standard Social Science Model or social constructionism.5 The model is now second nature to people and few are aware of the history behind it.6 Carl Degler, the foremost historian of this revolution, sums it up this way: What the available evidence does seem to show is that ideology or a philosophical belief that the world could be a freer and more just place played a large part in the shift from biology to culture.

The Science of Language by Noam Chomsky


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, Brownian motion, dark matter, Drosophila, epigenetics, finite state, Howard Zinn, phenotype, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Pinker, theory of mind

So it looks as if – given the time involved – there was a sudden “great leap forward.” Some small genetic modification somehow that rewired the brain slightly. We know so little about neurology; but I can't imagine how else it could be. So some small genetic change led to the rewiring of the brain that made this human capacity available. And with it came the entire range of creative options [C] that are available to humans within a theory of mind – a second-order theory of mind, so you know that somebody is trying to make you think what somebody else wants you to think. It's very hard to imagine how any of this could go on without language; at least, we can't think of any way of doing it without a language. And most of it is thinking and planning and interpreting, and so on; it's internal. Well, mutations take place in a person, not in a group. We know, incidentally, that this was a very small breeding group – some little group of hominids in some corner of Africa, apparently.

No language uses all the options that are available. 3 Representation and computation JM: Continuing in the same vein, your understanding of computation seems to differ from the philosophically favored notion where it is understood as tied in with a representational theory of mind. Computation there is understood to be something like the operations of a problem-solving device that operates over symbols understood in traditional (not your) semantic terms, in terms of relationships of items inside the head that represent things outside in the world. NC: The term “representation” is used in a kind of technical sense in the philosophical literature which I think basically comes back to the theory of ideas. You know there's something out there and the impression of it becomes an idea, and then there's a relation – so, say, in Jerry Fodor's representational theory of mind – there's a causal relation between the cat over there and the concept cat in your language of thought.

That goes back to Aristotle and form and matter, but then it's very much extended in the seventeenth century; and then it kind of dropped. As far as I know, after Hume it virtually disappears from the literature. And now – these days – we're back to a kind of neo-scholastic picture of word–thing relations. That's why you have books called Word and Object [by W.V.O. Quine] and that sort of thing. But there's no reason to believe that that relation exists. So yes, the representational theories of mind are bound to a concept of representation that has historical origins but has no particular merits as far as I know. JM: I asked in part because, when you read works of people like Georges Rey, he seems to assume that when Turing speaks of computation, he was essentially committed to something like a representational account. NC: I don't see where that comes from – I don't see any evidence for that in Turing.

What Kind of Creatures Are We? (Columbia Themes in Philosophy) by Noam Chomsky


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, conceptual framework,, failed state, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, liberation theology, mass incarceration, means of production, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Turing test, wage slave

Suppose we adopt the “mitigated skepticism” that was warranted after Newton, if not before. For the theory of mind, that means following Gassendi’s advice in Objections. He argued that Descartes had at most shown “the perception of the existence of mind, [but] fail[ed] to reveal its nature.” It is necessary to proceed as we would in seeking to discover “a conception of Wine superior to the vulgar,” by investigating how it is constituted and the laws that determine its functioning. Similarly, he urged Descartes, “it is incumbent on you, to examine yourself by a certain chemicallike labor, so that you can determine and demonstrate to us your internal substance”42—and that of others. The theory of mind can be pursued in many ways, like other branches of science, with an eye to eventual unification, whatever form it may take, if any.

For discussion, see Tad Schmaltz , Malebranche’s Theory of the Soul: A Cartesian Interpretation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 204ff. 24. Noam Chomsky, “Turing on the ‘Imitation Game,’” in The Turing Test: Verbal Behavior as the Hallmark of Intelligence, ed. Stuart Schieber (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004), 317–21. 25. Desmond Clarke, Descartes’s Theory of Mind (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003), 12. See also Rene Descartes to Marin Mersenne, 1641, on the goal of the Meditations, cited in Margaret Wilson, Descartes (Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978), 2. 26. Clarke, Descartes’s Theory of Mind, 258. 27. Nancy Kanwisher and Paul Downing, “Separating the Wheat from the Chaff ,” Science, October 2, 1998, 57–58; Newton, General Scholium. 28. Eric R. Kandel and Larry R. Squire, “Neuroscience,” Science, November 10, 2000, 1113–20. 29. Charles R. Gallistel, “Neurons and Memory,” in Conversations in the Cognitive Neurosciences, ed.

See also pragmatic approach to inquiry Invitation to Cognitive Science, An, 39–40 islands, 22–23 Jackson, Frank, 101, 102 Jacobi, Carl Gustav Jacob, 54–55 Janiak, Andrew, 34, 52 Jefferson, Thomas, 79–80 Jespersen, Otto, 8, 9 Johnson, Samuel, 31 Joos, Martin, 5–6 justice, as concept universally supported and everywhere violated, 60 Kandel, Eric, 95 Kant, Immanuel, xx, 46, 97, 141n32 Kanwisher, Nancy, 95 Katz, Jerrold, xi Kekulé, August, 108 Kerry, John, 69 knowledge argument: and ignorance hypothesis, 124; vs. knowledge intuition, 101–2 knowledge intuition, vs. knowledge argument, 101–2 Korsch, Karl, 63 Koyré, Alexandre, 99 Kripke, Saul, 50 Kropotkin, Peter, 67 Kuhn, Thomas, 87–88 La Mettrie, Julien Offrey de, 144n51 Lange, Friedrich, 98–99 language: vs. animal signs, xviii–xix, 41–43, 48, 126; behaviorist accounts of, xii; as biological endowment, xi, xiv, 15, 20; common usage, theory of mind and, 117–19; communication as secondary to thought in, xi, xviii, 14–15, 16, 24, 125; facility of semantic interpretation vs. communication, 18–19, 22–23; as I-language, 4; as instrument of thought, 13–16, 23; as internal to individual subject, ix; lack of referential semantics in, 48; as mystery, 8, 92; pragmatic approach to study of, 109–11; pragmatics in, 48; syntax in, 48; and thought, relation between, 129n1; as unique to humans, xii, 59, 125; variety in, accounting for, 40–41, 125.

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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler


Albert Einstein, illegal immigration, Schrödinger's Cat, Skype, theory of mind, your tax dollars at work

In 2008, Josep Call and Michael Tomasello took another look at a whole range of approaches to this question and the results. Their conclusion was the same as Premack and Woodruff’s thirty years before. Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? They answered with a definite yes. Chimps do see that mental states, such as purpose and knowledge, combine to produce deliberate action. They even understand deceit. What chimps don’t seem capable of understanding is the state of false belief. They don’t have a theory of mind that accounts for actions driven by beliefs in conflict with reality. And really, who lacking that will ever be able to navigate the human world? • • • AROUND THE AGE of six or seven, human children develop a theory of mind that encompasses embedded mental states. They’ve long ago mastered the basic first-order stuff—i.e., Mommy thinks I’ve gone to bed. Next they learn to handle (and exploit) an additional layer—Daddy doesn’t know that Mommy thinks I’ve gone to bed.

“I hardly knew you,” I said. “And now you’re leaving me.” Her uncanny valley eyes stared up. She snapped her reptilian jaw. I made her wrap her arms around my neck as if she were also sorry. Her knitting needles poked my ear sharply until I shifted her. “Please don’t go,” she said. Or maybe I said that. It was definitely one of us. • • • THE FLIP SIDE to solipsism is called theory of mind. Theory of mind postulates that, even though these cannot be directly observed, we readily impute mental states to others (and also to ourselves, since the bedrock proposal is that we understand our own mental states well enough to generalize from them). And so we constantly infer someone else’s intentions, thoughts, knowledge, lack of knowledge, doubts, desires, beliefs, guesses, promises, preferences, purposes, and many, many more things in order to behave as social creatures in the world.

This means they miss the very thing that links and orders the images. They miss the story. Young children have the innate potential for a theory of mind, just the way Noam Chomsky says they do for language, but they haven’t developed it yet. Adults and older children sequence images easily into a coherent narrative. I myself took this test many times as a child and I never remember not being able to do it, though if Piaget says there was a time I couldn’t, then there was a time I couldn’t. In 1978, when Fern was still safely tucked into our family, psychologists David Premack and Guy Woodruff published a paper titled “Does the Chimpanzee Have a Theory of Mind?” In it, they relied primarily on a series of experiments done with a fourteen-year-old chimp named Sarah, in order to see if she could infer human goals in observed situations.

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Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo


Alfred Russel Wallace, biofilm, butterfly effect, Celebration, Florida, corporate governance, delayed gratification, experimental subject, impulse control, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, Rodney Brooks, Ted Kaczynski, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Walter Mischel

Having more intelligence has adaptive value for large mammals because it facilitates discovering better ways to find or capture food, avoid perils, and navigate territories, but the complexities of these demands pale by comparison to the complexities of social living. Living in groups placed a premium on having the ability to recognize the mental states of others—a capacity called “theory of mind.” But once again, theory of mind is a form of social cognition, an ability that becomes readily distorted through the experience of loneliness. But There’s a Catch Whether you are a relatively independent Greg or a need-to-be-close Katie, no one wants to feel the pain of loneliness, and no one should be blamed for being trapped inside it. What makes loneliness especially insidious is that it contains this Catch-22: Real relief from loneliness requires the cooperation of at least one other person, and yet the more chronic our loneliness becomes, the less equipped we may be to entice such cooperation.

Through accounts like these, most scientists acknowledge what animal lovers have long accepted as common sense: that some of our more intelligent fellow creatures—apes, elephants, porpoises—can be very sensitive to what goes on beneath the skin of others. Just ask any dog or cat owner, and they will tell you that pets know what “their” human is feeling, and know what to do to provide comfort when that human is feeling blue. By the same token, leave your Jack Russell alone too long and you may find that he’s taken out his displeasure on the throw pillows from your couch. Theory of Mind, and Then Some Among chimps, an aggressor who has attacked and bitten another, but who is now intent on reconciliation, will often look directly at the spot where he injured the other, inspect it, then begin to clean the wound. Bonobos, who, at least in captivity, often have sex face to face, carefully monitor and respond to the expressions and vocalizations of their partner. The Germans have a word for closely attuned perception of another’s emotional state.

If you want to build a flying machine, it helps to know some aerodynamics. If you want to build more satisfying social connections, it helps to know more about how “emotional connection” occurs in a functional sense, which is to say, how one human brain gains access to the thoughts, feelings, and intentions of another. It also helps to know how and why that system can become overwhelmingly confused. Theory of mind, which is what we call the ability to have insights into other people’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions, develops in humans when we are about two years old. This is the same time when we begin to recognize ourselves in mirrors. So self-awareness and the ability to understand the feelings and intentions signaled by others may be connected. The biologist N. K. Humphrey has even suggested that the adaptive value of being able to detect the emotional state of another person may be what led, not just to the development of human intelligence, but to the development of human consciousness itself.3 But beyond our ability to recognize what someone else is experiencing, and to exercise certain discretion in how we respond to it, we have the capacity to spontaneously share the experience.

Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, Arthur Eddington, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, Brownian motion, business process, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Carmen Reinhart, Chance favours the prepared mind, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, diversification, diversified portfolio, double helix, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Ernest Rutherford, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, framing effect, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, housing crisis, incomplete markets, index fund, interest rate derivative, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, martingale, merger arbitrage, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, out of africa, p-value, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, predatory finance, prediction markets, price discovery process, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, survivorship bias, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

In the cobweb model, the proposed price spirals around the supply and demand curves until it reaches economic nirvana. It’s as though a buyer and seller were trapped in a hall of mirrors: the seller knows that the buyer knows that the seller knows 110 • Chapter 4 that the buyer knows . . . that the asking price is too high. In other words, market equilibrium requires a rather sophisticated theory of mind, and presumably a high level of abstract thought. Amazingly, a chance discovery in the early 1990s by a group of researchers at the University of Parma led by Giacomo Rizzolatti showed that the “theory of mind” was not just a figment of psychologists’ imagination, but a neurophysiologically hardwired feature of the brain.13 Using specialized recording microelectrodes attached to specific sites in a macaque monkey’s brain, Rizzolatti and his group found particular neurons that responded to “mirrored” motions in others.

One hypothesis, proposed by Rizzolatti and others, is that a deficit in the brain’s mirror neuron mechanism may be involved in autism. People with autism often have difficulty in understanding The Power of Narrative • 111 other people’s motives and, therefore, connecting socially. The British neuroscientist Simon Baron-Cohen believes that autism is caused by a neurologically underdeveloped theory of mind.15 Our own personal history shows us how this deficit might affect rationality. As children, we all pass through life stages where our own theories of mind were undeveloped. Before the age of four, generally, we weren’t able to understand that another person, perhaps a parent, could believe something that we knew was untrue from personal experience. This is a well-known stage in childhood psychological development. As adults, of course, most of us are comfortable with the idea that other people might be mistaken.

Most children, including those with Down syndrome, pass this stage at around this time, although many children with autism do not. It’s an important step on the pathway to a full “theory of mind.” Most four-year-olds can understand a statement like, “Alan thinks his Christmas present is in red wrapping, but the present is really in the green wrapping,” an example of a first-order false belief. But a typical four-year-old wouldn’t understand a statement like, “Bethany thinks Alan thinks his Christmas present is blue, and Alan thinks his Christmas present is red, but it’s really green,” a second-order false belief. The ability to understand a second-order false belief takes a few more years to develop but it’s usually present by age seven. This means their theory of mind is rich enough not only to model another person’s mental state, but also to model another person’s model of a person’s mental state.

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The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris


Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bayesian statistics, cognitive bias, end world poverty, endowment effect, energy security, experimental subject, framing effect, hindsight bias, impulse control, John Nash: game theory, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, ultimatum game, World Values Survey

normal children age thirty-nine months and above tend to see these questions as fundamentally distinct and consider the latter transgression intrinsically wrong. In this, they appear to be guided by an awareness of potential human suffering. Children at risk for psychopathy tend to view these questions as morally indistinguishable. When asked to identify the mental states of other people on the basis of photographs of their eyes alone, psychopaths show no general impairment.84 Their “theory of mind” processing (as the ability to understand the mental states of others is generally known) seems to be basically intact, with subtle deficits resulting from their simply not caring about how other people feel.85 The one crucial exception, however, is that psychopaths are often unable to recognize expressions of fear and sadness in others.86 And this may be the difference that makes all the difference.

And another thing … Retrieved July 6, 2009, from Baron, A. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2006). The development of implicit attitudes. Evidence of race evaluations from ages 6 and 10 and adulthood. Psychol Sci, 17 (1), 53–58. Baron, J. (2008). Thinking and deciding (4th ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press. Baron-Cohen, S. (1995). Mindblindness: An essay on autism and theory of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Barrett, J. L. (2000). Exploring the natural foundations of religion. Trends Cogn Sci, 4 (1), 29–34. Bauby, J.-D. (1997). The diving bell and the butterfly (1st U.S. ed.). New York: A. A. Knopf. Baumeister, R. F. (2001). Violent pride. Sci Am, 284 (4), 96–101. Baumeister, R. F., Campbell, J. D., Krueger, J. I., & Vohs, K. D. (2005). Exploding the self-esteem myth.

E. (2003). Personality, culture, and subjective well-being: Emotional and cognitive evaluations of life. Annu Rev Psychol, 54, 403–425. Ding, Y. C., Chi, H. C., Grady, D. L., Morishima, A., Kidd, J. R., Kidd, K. K., et al. (2002). Evidence of positive selection acting at the human dopamine receptor D4 gene locus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 99 (1), 309–314. Dolan, M., & Fullam, R. (2004). Theory of mind and mentalizing ability in antisocial personality disorders with and without psychopathy. Psychol Med, 34 (6), 1093–1102. Dolan, M., & Fullam, R. (2006). Face affect recognition deficits in personality-disordered offenders: Association with psychopathy. Psychol Med, 36 (11), 1563–1569. Donadio, R. (2010a, March 26). Pope may be at crossroads on abuse, forced to reconcile policy and words.

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The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy by Tyler Cowen


Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, David Brooks,, endowment effect, Flynn Effect, framing effect, Google Earth, impulse control, informal economy, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, neurotypical, new economy, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, selection bias, Silicon Valley, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind

When it comes to autism, very often whether a given generalization is true depends on which subgroup of autistics is being considered. It is a common stereotype that autistics are unaware of the mental existence of other people, but this is a very poor definition of autism. Many autistics do fine on “theory of mind” tests and can understand the intentions of other people quite well. Furthermore many non-autistic children with handicaps, including linguistic handicaps, fail theory of mind tests just as some autistic children do. Theory of mind experiments usually test a complex bundle of human features, including attention-shifting abilities, interpretation of commands, linguistic skills, and common frames of cultural reference. A great number of autistics do find many features of mainstream society and social life quite baffling (I’ll return to this question), but it’s not because they are zombies with no conception of internal mental life.

It’s as if Smith felt he had to understand sympathy to survive in the world and so he studied it more intensely than any person had before him. Note also that Smith wrote down many observations about sympathy but he doesn’t seem to show an intuitive understanding of which points are brilliant insights and which are ordinary observations shared by every man on the street. When thinking about Smith, I am struck by Jared Blackburn’s web discussion of the autistic theory of mind. Jared is a self-described autistic and he opined that many autistic people obtain exceptional insight into others by drawing upon their cognitive skills and approaching the topic of other people from different angles. Even if autistics have slower response speeds in understanding non-autistics, their understanding is not necessarily inferior and it may in some regards be superior. Smith is not interested in sympathy alone but rather he also stresses how interactions with strangers bring about more objective forms of behavior and move society toward a greater emphasis on rules.

On the perceptual and sensory sensitivities of autistics, see for instance Grace T. Baranek, Fabian J. David, Michele D. Poe, Wendy L. Stone, and Linda R. Watson, “Sensory Experiences Questionnaire: Discriminating Sensory Features in Young Children with Autism, Developmental Delays, and Typical Development,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47, no. 6 (2006), 591–601. On whether autistics suffer from the lack of a “theory of mind” or whether this is simply picking up speech deficits or other cognitive problems, see for instance Morton Ann Gernsbacher and Jennifer L. Frymiare, “Does the Autistic Brain Lack Core Modules?” Journal of Developmental and Learning Disorders 9 (2005), 3–16. See also Lawrence Hirschfeld, Elizabeth Bartmess, Sarah White, and Uta Frith, “Can autistic children predict by social stereotypes?” Current Biology 17, no. 12 (June 19, 2007), 451–52.

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Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace


3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk,, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game

While a successful whole brain emulation could be expected to produce something which thought somewhat like a human, an AGI based on traditional AI might think in an entirely alien way. 4.4 – A comprehensive theory of mind The third approach to building an artificial general intelligence is to develop a comprehensive theory of mind – that is, to achieve a complete understanding of how the mind works – and to use that knowledge to build an artificial one. Although neuroscience has probably made more progress in the last 20 years than in the whole of human history beforehand, we are still very far from a complete theory of mind. If no serious attempt was made to build an AGI until such a theory was complete it would probably not happen until well past the end of this century. Most AI researchers would argue this is to make the task unnecessarily difficult.

Quantum consciousness The distinguished Oxford physicist Sir Roger Penrose argued in 1989 that human brains do not run the same kind of algorithms as computers. He claimed that a phenomenon described by quantum physics known as the wave function collapse could explain how consciousness arises. In 1992 he met an American anaesthetist called Dr Stuart Hammeroff, and the two collaborated on a theory of mind known as Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch-OR). It attributes consciousness to the behaviour of tiny components of cells called microtubules. The two men have continued to develop their thinking ever since, but the great majority of physicists and neuroscientists deny its plausibility. The main line of attack, articulated by US physicist Max Tegmark, is that collections of microtubules forming collapsing wave functions would be too small and act too quickly to have the claimed impact on the much larger scale of neurons.

However, it is not hard to imagine that if and when the prospect of conscious machines comes closer, the research may come under fire from particularly ardent worshippers. In the next three sections we will look at three ways to build a mind – an artificial system which can perform all the intellectual activities that an adult human can. They are: Whole brain emulation Building on artificial narrow intelligence A comprehensive theory of mind 4.2 – Whole brain emulation Whole brain emulation is the process of modelling (copying or replicating) the structures of a brain in very fine detail such that the model produces the same output as the original. So if a brain produces a mind, then the emulation (the model) produces a mind also. A replicated mind which is indistinguishable from the original is called an emulation. If the replicated mind is approximately the same, but differs in some important respects it is called a simulation.

New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind by Noam Chomsky


dark matter, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, theory of mind, Turing test

To raise them with regard to inquiries barely attempting to gain a foothold is pointless, scarcely more than a form of harassment of emerging disciplines. Naturalism, so understood, should be uncontroversial, though its reach remains to be determined; and the dualistic alternative should be highly controversial. I think that the opposite has been true, a curious feature of recent intellectual history. Explanatory theories of mind have been proposed, notably in the study of language. They have been seriously challenged, not for violating the canons of methodological naturalism (which they seem to observe, reasonably well), but on other grounds: “philosophical grounds,” which are alleged to show that they are dubious, perhaps outrageous, irrespective of success by the normal criteria of science; or perhaps that they are successful, but do not deal with “the mind” and “the mental.”

There are many further ramifications, including recent “evolutionary epistemology.” (For some discussion, see Chomsky 1966: Chapter 4; 1968/72; 1975: Chapter 1.) The enterprise of epistemic naturalism is uncontentious, apart from the term, which is misleading in a peculiarly modern way. The epistemic naturalism of the seventeenth and eighteenth century was science, an attempt to construct an empirical theory of mind; Hume, for one, compared his enterprise with Isaac Newton’s. Epistemic naturalism, in Naturalism and dualism 81 contrast, is presented as a “philosophical position,” something apparently different. We plainly cannot read back into earlier periods a distinction between science and philosophy that developed later. We would not use the term “visual naturalism” to refer to the empirical study of the growth and functioning of the visual system (also a topic of earlier rational psychology), implying that there was some coherent alternative for the same realm of problems.

The successful natural sciences, then, fall within the intersection of the scope of SFF and the nature of the world; they treat the (scattered and limited) aspects of the world that we can grasp and comprehend by naturalistic inquiry, in principle. The intersection is a chance product of human nature. Contrary to speculations since Peirce, there is nothing in the theory of evolution, or any other intelligible source, that suggests that it should include answers to serious questions we raise, or even that we should be able to formulate questions properly in areas of puzzlement. Specifically, it is unknown whether aspects of the theory of mind – say, questions about consciousness – are problems or mysteries for humans, though in principle we could discover the answer, even discover that they are mysteries; there is no contradiction in the belief that SFF might permit us to learn something about its limits. (See Chomsky, 1968 ch. 3; 1975, ch. 4. On the possible limits, and the relevance to philosophical inquiry, see particularly McGinn 1991; 1993.)

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Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz


affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, car-free, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, cosmological constant, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, desegregation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, lake wobegon effect, mandatory minimum, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ronald Reagan, six sigma, stem cell, Steven Pinker, Tenerife airport disaster, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route

Rebecca Saxe, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the leading contributors to our understanding of the brain structures underlying theory of mind, offers the example of Romeo and Juliet. As audience members, we know that the seemingly lifeless Juliet is not actually dead, as Romeo believes, but has merely taken a sleeping potion. But if we didn’t have theory of mind, we wouldn’t be able to set aside our own knowledge and see the scene as Romeo does—and so we wouldn’t understand why he kills himself. The false belief on which the whole tragedy turns would be completely lost on us. So, too, would entire expanses of the social landscape. Without theory of mind, we wouldn’t be able to register the subtleties of a flirtation, recognize our accidental offenses against a friend, or foresee that coming home two hours late might alarm and anger our family. As these examples suggest, theory of mind is vital to our emotional, intellectual, and moral development.

What children maintain about the imaginary Sally they also maintain about themselves: that their beliefs about the world cannot deviate from the world as it really is. This faith in the perfect accuracy of our beliefs is fleeting. By the age of five, virtually all children can pass the Sally-Ann test with ease. In coming to do so, these children have acquired what developmental psychologists call “representational theory of mind.” That is, they’ve figured out what a mind is, at least in general terms—not a photocopy of reality but a private and somewhat idiosyncratic means for making sense of the world—and they’ve figured out that everybody has one. This changed understanding leads to striking new insights: that beliefs about the world can be at odds with the world itself; that my beliefs can be at odds with yours; that other people don’t necessarily know everything I know; and, conversely, that I don’t necessarily know everything other people know.

As these examples suggest, theory of mind is vital to our emotional, intellectual, and moral development. (Tragically, we have some idea of how compromised we would be without it, because its absence or diminution is characteristic of people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.*) Once you acquire theory of mind, there is no going back; barring serious brain injury, you will never fail the Sally-Ann test again. But the attraction of naïve realism never wholly fades. Granted, we come to understand, in the abstract, that our beliefs can be skewed by any number of factors, ranging from the silent nudgings of self-interest to the limits of omniscience—the fact that, like Sally, sometimes we just aren’t in the right room at the right time. When it comes to our specific convictions about the world, however, we all too easily lapse back into the condition of toddlers, serenely convinced that our own beliefs are simply, necessarily true.† Why do we do this?

On Nature and Language by Noam Chomsky


Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, complexity theory, dark matter, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Murray Gell-Mann, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Turing test

Furthermore, the idea that language may be an optimal solution to interface conditions, in non-trivial respects, seems a good deal more plausible than it did a few years ago. Insofar as it is true, interesting questions arise about the theory of mind, the design of the brain, and the role of natural law in the evolution of even very complex organs such as the language faculty, questions that are very much alive in the theory of evolution at elementary levels, in work of the kind pioneered by D’Arcy Thompson and Alan Turing that has been somewhat at the margins until recently. It is conceivable that the comprehensive ethological approach discussed earlier might be enriched in these terms, though that remains a distant prospect. 90 Language and the brain Still more remote are the fundamental questions that motivated the classical theory of mind – the creative aspect of language use, the distinction between action appropriate to situations and action caused by situations, between being “compelled” to act in certain ways or only “incited and inclined” to do so; and in general, the question of how “members of animal bodies move at the command of the will,” Newton’s phrase in his review of mysteries that remain unresolved, including the causes of interaction of bodies, electrical attraction and repulsion, and other basic issues that remained unintelligible, by the standards of the scientific revolution.

“The world was merely a set of Archimedian simple machines hooked together,” Galileo scholar Peter Machamer observes, “or a set of colliding corpuscles that obeyed the laws of mechanical collision.” The world is something like the intricate clocks and other automata that excited the scientific imagination of that era, much as computers do today – and the shift is, in an important sense, not fundamental, as Alan Turing showed sixty years ago. Within the framework of the mechanical philosophy, Descartes developed his theory of mind and mind–body dualism, still the locus classicus of much discussion of our mental nature, a serious misunderstanding, I believe. Descartes himself pursued a reasonable course. He sought to demonstrate that the inorganic and organic world could be explained in terms of the mechanical philosophy. But he argued that fundamental aspects of human nature escape these bounds and cannot be accommodated in these terms.

Newton was formulating a new and weaker model of intelligibility, one with roots in what has been called the “mitigated skepticism” of the British scientific tradition, which had abandoned as hopeless the search for the “first springs of natural motions” and other natural phenomena, keeping to the much more modest effort to develop the best theoretical account we can. The implications for the theory of mind were immediate, and immediately recognized. Mind–body dualism is no longer tenable, because there is no notion of body. It is common in recent years to ridicule Descartes’s “ghost in the machine,” and to speak of “Descartes’s error” in postulating a second substance: mind, distinct from body. It is true that Descartes was proven wrong, but not for those reasons. Newton exorcised the machine; he left the ghost intact.

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Asperger Syndrome and Alcohol: Drinking to Cope? by Matthew Tinsley, Sarah Hendrickx


Asperger Syndrome, neurotypical, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), theory of mind

• In a further study regarding emotional information processing in alcoholics, the researchers conclude: ‘Alcoholics are specifically impaired on emotional non-verbal behaviour information processing: they are slower to correctly identify an emotion’ (Foisy et al. 2007). • Research examining theory of mind, humour processing and executive functioning – all areas which affect those with AS – in alcoholics found similar results (Uekermann et al. 2007). ASPERGER SYNDROME AND ALCOHOL – WHY SHOULD THERE BE A LINK? / 31 The findings indicate that the alcoholic participants showed humour processing deficits which were related to theory of mind and executive functioning. They note that these deficits may contribute to interpersonal problems. • Another study found that alcoholics had impairments in their ability to recognize correct prosody (the intonation and rhythm of speech which dictate meaning) and also in matching prosody to facial expression (Uekermann et al. 2005).

Any problems with our relationship or my drinking were brushed under the carpet in my mind. Alcohol meant that I never felt the full level of shame or discomfort when challenged about my drinking, and I used to drink more just to cover up feelings of guilt and inadequacy. My partners may have been seething, but I never really internalized their unhappiness. I suppose this was part of the lack of theory of mind; if I felt fine about things, even if this sensation was alcohol induced, then how could they have a problem? Looking back, this makes a lot of sense to me. The notion that they had their own unhappiness or problems simply didn’t register with me, if I perceived no difficulties myself. My problem with anger was that it was so intense inside that I daren’t let it out. I would prefer to switch off emotionally.

London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. The Information Centre (2007) Statistics on Alcohol: England 2007. London: The Information Centre. Thomas, S.E., Randall, C.L. and Carrigan, M.H. (2003) ‘Drinking to Cope in Socially Anxious Individuals: A Controlled Study.’ Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 27, 12, 1937–1943. Uekermann, J., Channon, S., Winkel, K., Schlebusch, P. and Daum, I. (2007) ‘Theory of mind, humour processing and executive functioning in alcoholism.’ Addiction 102, 2, 232–240. Uekermann, J., Daum, I., Schlebusch, P. and Trenckmann, U. (2005) ‘Processing of affective stimuli in alcoholism.’ Cortex 41, 2, 189–194. Van Wijngaarden-Cremers, P.J.M. and van der Gaag, R.J. (2006) ‘Addiction & Autism: Two sides of a same neurobiological coin?’ Available at ers, accessed on 26 September 2007.

Asperger Syndrome: A Love Story by Sarah Hendrickx, Keith Newton


Asperger Syndrome, fear of failure, neurotypical, theory of mind

They may struggle to respond to their own emotional needs. Unfortunately, there may be an expectation from a partner that they will somehow ‘know’ what is required emotionally, and not doing so can cause distress and confusion for both parties: How can a man expect to understand women if he can’t even understand himself ? (AS male) Emotional support and managing feelings Those with AS are said to have a less developed ‘Theory of Mind’ compared to their same age peers (Baron-Cohen 2003). This is an ability that develops in small children who, as they grow, begin to realise that they are not the only people in the world, and that others have different thoughts and knowledge from their own. Many adults with AS can find it very difficult to anticipate and comprehend that a partner may have different emotional needs. Many AS people express bewilderment at the emotional reactions of their neuro-typical (NT) partners.

None of those questioned had experience of this type of behaviour, but since most were, or had been, in a relationship, this suggests that this would be less likely. Reasons for engaging in harassment can be a genuine lack of understanding of social signals by the person with AS. The focus of their attention may have been kind of friendly and this may have been misinterpreted. There may be a difficulty in perceiving that upset or distress is being felt by the person due to less mature ‘theory of mind’ abilities. There will doubtless be a logical thought process that has occurred in the mind of the person with AS, which has resulted in the behaviour. It is unlikely that there is real understanding of the consequences of the behaviour for themselves or their target: I can’t read sexual signals easily and this has got me into trouble before as I’ve often thought that people were being friendly when they were coming on to me sexually, and this has hurt and upset my partner greatly.

One man with AS who responded to the survey had been fired from his job for viewing pornography at his workplace. If this had been an establishment involving children or other vulnerable groups, this could have led to arrest. The desire to meet one’s needs may override the person’s perception of the appropriateness of the behaviour. It may also be difficult for a person with AS to transfer the concept that looking at pornography is OK in one setting but not in another. Less developed empathy/‘Theory of Mind’ skills may mean that the individual is not able to appreciate the consequences of their behaviour on others, making their own needs the only consideration. The tendency to speak the truth can also result in a person with AS making inappropriate remarks to others, which may be taken as offensive when the person only intends to express their thoughts or opinions. In most situations, it appears that deliberate intent to harm is not generally the case in offences committed by those with AS, but that they may be perceiving the world in a different way with different understandings and drives.

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Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life by Steven Johnson


Columbine, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, Gödel, Escher, Bach, James Watt: steam engine, l'esprit de l'escalier, pattern recognition, phenotype, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, zero-sum game

To pass the test, the insight has to reverberate for weeks or months after you’ve first encountered it; it has to pop up in conversation or in moments of self-reflection; it may even change your behavior based on what it teaches you about yourself. Long-decay ideas transform as much as they inform. For the most part, the long-decay ideas I’ve assembled here have direct relevance to ordinary minds, minds untroubled by the extreme conditions profiled in so much of the scientific literature: amnesia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, manic-depression, the many forms of aphasia. The most powerful theories of mind have always had something useful to contribute to generally healthy minds and not just troubled ones. Freud developed his theories partially by analyzing the debilitating disorders of hysterics and schizophrenics, but psychoanalysis ultimately attracted such a large audience because you didn’t need to be mentally ill to find something useful in it. You could explore your Oedipal complex and analyze your dreams even if you weren’t worried about your sanity.

Like almost all his writing, this is a complex, combinatorial language, filled with negations of negations and participatory metaphors. For all its complications, though, I think this passage does an admirable job of conveying both the insights and the blind spots of the Freudian model, at least when viewed through the lens of modern neuroscience. To be sure, the passage does not offer a comprehensive survey of Freud’s theory of mind. Parts of it conflict with writings from other stages of his career. This is one of the great problems-and great charms-of reading Freud: he changed his mind at several key points in his intellectual life. Beyond the Pleasure Principle, from which this passage is taken, marked just such a turning point. Freud had constructed an entire dynamic model of the psyche with the drive for pleasure as its central piston, and here were these veterans from the Somme endlessly revisiting the horrors of battle in their dreams.

When people complain about scientific or biological attempts to explain human behavior, what they’re often saying is that science “reduces” human complexity to biological component parts, and in that reduction, some essence is lost. The rainbow is just refracted light, the brain just a box of competing modules. Of course, anyone who has spent any time actually reading the scientific literature on the brain knows that the current model of how the brain works is an immensely complex one, hardly a crude simplification. It is vastly more complicated and multilayered as a theory than Freud’s theory of mind was, more elaborate than Shakespeare’s or Aristotle’s. Actual individual brains are of course more complicated than any theory that describes them, and so in building a model of brain function, there is a necessary reductive step in moving from object to model. But that is true of any attempt to explain the mind’s behavior, whether it takes the form of a sonnet, a philosophical discourse, or a peer-reviewed paper in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Cartesian Linguistics by Noam Chomsky


job satisfaction, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Turing test

First, these developments have roots in earlier linguistic work; second, several of the most active contributors to them would surely have regarded themselves as quite antagonistic to Cartesian doctrine (see note 3); third, Descartes himself devoted little attention to language, and his few remarks are subject to various interpretations. Each of these objections has some force. Still, it seems to me that there is, in the period under review here, a coherent and fruitful development of a body of ideas and conclusions regarding the nature of language in association with a certain theory of mind4 and that this development can be regarded as an outgrowth of the Cartesian revolution. In any event, the aptness of the term is a matter of little interest. The important problem is to determine the exact nature of the “capital of ideas” accumulated in the premodern period, to evaluate the contemporary significance of this contribution, and to find ways to exploit it for advancing the study of language. 50 Creative Aspect of Language Use Although Descartes makes only scant reference to language in his writings, certain observations about the nature of language play a significant role in the formulation of his general point of view.

Beyond these achievements, the universal grammarians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have made a contribution of lasting value by the very fact that they posed so clearly the problem of changing the orientation of linguistics from “natural history” to “natural philosophy” and by stressing the importance of the search for universal principles and for rational explanation of linguistic fact, if progress is to be made toward this goal. 93 Acquisition and Use of Language We have so far extracted from “Cartesian linguistics” certain characteristic and quite important doctrines regarding the nature of language and have, quite sketchily, traced their development during the period from Descartes to Humboldt. As a by-product of this study of langue, and against the background of rationalist theory of mind, certain views emerged as to how language is acquired and used. After a long interlude, these views are once again beginning to receive the attention that they deserve, although their appearance (like the reappearance of the central ideas of transformational grammar) was, in fact, a largely independent development. The central doctrine of Cartesian linguistics is that the general features of grammatical structure are common to all languages and reflect certain fundamental properties of the mind.

Contemporary work has finally begun to face some simple facts about language that have been long neglected, for example, the fact that the speaker of a language knows a great deal that he has not learned and that his normal linguistic behavior cannot possibly be accounted for in terms of “stimulus control,” “conditioning,” “generalization and analogy,” “patterns” and “habit structures,” or “dispositions to respond,” in any reasonably clear sense of these much abused terms. As a result, a fresh look has been taken, not only at language structure, but at the preconditions for language acquisition and at the perceptual function of abstract systems of internalized rules. I have tried to indicate, in this summary of Cartesian linguistics and the theory of mind from which it arose, that much of what is coming to light in this work was foreshadowed or even explicitly formulated in earlier and now largely forgotten studies. It is important to bear in mind that the survey that has been presented here is a very fragmentary and therefore in some ways a misleading one. Certain major figures—Kant, for example—have not been mentioned or have been inadequately discussed, and a certain distortion is introduced by the organization of this survey, as a projection backwards of certain ideas of contemporary interest rather than as a systematic presentation of the framework within which these ideas arose and found their place.

pages: 489 words: 148,885

Accelerando by Stross, Charles


call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, dumpster diving, Extropian, finite state, Flynn Effect, glass ceiling, gravity well, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, packet switching, performance metric, phenotype, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, South China Sea, stem cell, technological singularity, telepresence, The Chicago School, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, web of trust, Y2K, zero-sum game

Product of an arms race between predators and prey. If you watch a cat creeping up on a mouse, you'll be able to impute to the cat intentions that are most easily explained by the cat having a theory of mind concerning the mouse – an internal simulation of the mouse's likely behavior when it notices the predator. Which way to run, for example. And the cat will use its theory of mind to optimize its attack strategy. Meanwhile, prey species that are complex enough to have a theory of mind are at a defensive advantage if they can anticipate a predator's actions. Eventually this very mammalian arms race gave us a species of social ape that used its theory of mind to facilitate signaling – so the tribe could work collectively – and then reflexively, to simulate the individual's own inner states. Put the two things together, signaling and introspective simulation, and you've got human-level consciousness, with language thrown in as a bonus – signaling that transmits information about internal states, not just crude signals such as 'predator here' or 'food there.'"

Sirhan doesn't approve of swearing: The curse is an outward demonstration of his inner turmoil. "Forget what I was about to say, I'm sure you already know it. Let me begin again, please." "Sure. Let's play this your way." The cat chews on a loose nail sheath but his innerspeech is perfectly clear, a casual intimacy that keeps Sirhan on edge. "You've got some idea of what I am, clearly. You know – I ascribe intentionality to you – that my theory of mind is intrinsically stronger than yours, that my cognitive model of human consciousness is complete. You might well suspect that I use a Turing Oracle to think my way around your halting states." The cat isn't worrying at a loose claw now, he's grinning, pointy teeth gleaming in the light from Sirhan's study window. The window looks out onto the inner space of the habitat cylinder, up at a sky with hillsides and lakes and forests plastered across it: It's like an Escher landscape, modeled with complete perfection.

For a moment, he feels at gut level that he is in the presence of an alien god: It's the simple truth, isn't it? But – "Okay, I concede the point," Sirhan says after a moment in which he spawns a blizzard of panicky cognitive ghosts, fractional personalities each tasked with the examination of a different facet of the same problem. "You're smarter than I am. I'm just a boringly augmented human being, but you've got a flashy new theory of mind that lets you work around creatures like me the way I can think my way around a real cat." He crosses his arms defensively. "You do not normally rub this in. It's not in your interests to do so, is it? You prefer to hide your manipulative capabilities under an affable exterior, to play with us. So you're revealing all this for a reason." There's a note of bitterness in his voice now. Glancing round, Sirhan summons up a chair – and, as an afterthought, a cat basket.

Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian


affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate personhood, David Brooks, discovery of DNA, double helix, drone strike, failed state, Howard Zinn, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Julian Assange, land reform, Martin Wolf, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Powell Memorandum, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, single-payer health, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Tobin tax, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

In my view, though, they’re just an utter waste of time. There are some very strange ideas out there. For instance, a lot of quite fashionable work claims that children acquire language because humans have the capacity to understand the perspective of another person, according to what’s called theory of mind. The capacity to tell that another person is intending to do something develops in normal children at roughly age three or four. But, in fact, if you look at the autism spectrum, one of the classic syndromes is failure to develop theory of mind. That’s why autistic kids, or adults for that matter, don’t seem to understand what other people’s intentions are. Nevertheless, their language can be absolutely perfect. Furthermore, this capacity to understand the intention of others develops long after the child has mastered almost all the basic character of the language, maybe all of it.

Federal Election Commission, 173–74 Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 70–71 Syria, 63, 95, 106 Taft-Hartley bill, 40 Taiwan, 9, 21, 169 Taliban, 15–16, 98, 100 taxes, 38, 75–76, 82, 159 cuts, 41–42 Tobin, 76 Tea Party movement, 28 technology, 9, 145–46 television, 67, 102 terrorism, 14, 21, 96, 109, 114, 139 against Kurds, 89–92 military detention and, 70–73 9/11 attacks, 14–16, 139 theory of mind, 132 Tobin, James, 76 Tobin tax, 76 torture, 37, 89, 92, 109, 145 totalitarianism, 64, 79, 158 trade, 9, 87–88 deficit, 9 Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline (TAPI), 17–18 Trilateral Commission report, 150, 151 Truman, Harry S., 24 Tunisia, 44–45, 48–49, 53, 67, 112–13 Turkey, 51, 89–94 human rights violations, 89–92 -Israel relations, 92–94 Kurds, 89–92 Turkmenistan, 17 Twitter, 105, 145 UNASUR, 161 unemployment, 22–23, 38, 66, 76 United Arab Emirates, 8, 15, 49 United Auto Workers, 25 United Nations, 46, 50–52, 115, 162, 163 universal genome, 129 universal grammar, 126–29 universities, 150–53, 165–68 corporatization of, 152, 167–68 sports, 165–66 uprisings, 44–64 Arab Spring, 44–55, 60–64, 67, 112–13, 168 Egypt, 44–49, 60–64 Libya, 50–54 Vietnam War, 1–3, 15, 31, 64, 97 visual system, 141 voting, 81, 84, 117–18 Wallerstein, Immanuel, 77 Wall Street Journal, 54, 169 Walmart, 9 war, 13–18, 20 crimes, 114–17 Warfalla, 50 Washington, George, 3 Weathermen, 74 Weimar Republic, 25, 27–29 Weisskopf, Victor, 149, 154 welfare, 82–83, 84, 87 Western Sahara, 46 “When Elites Fail” (Chomsky), 22 Wiesel, Elie, 94 WikiLeaks, 99, 107–13 Wilson, Woodrow, 13, 23 Wisconsin, labor demonstrations in, 40–43 Wolf, Martin, 78 Wolff, Richard, 88 women’s rights, 79, 150, 177 World Bank, 47 World Trade Organization, 107 World War II, 5, 7, 56, 57, 115–16 Yemen, 49, 114 Yglesias, Matthew, 59, 63 YouTube, 104 Zaire, 17 Zinn, Howard, 1, 22, 78 About the Authors NOAM CHOMSKY is the author of numerous best-selling political works, including Hegemony or Survival and Failed States.

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The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker


1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser,, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, long peace, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Nor can we understand the decline of violence as an unstoppable force for progress that is carrying us toward an omega point of perfect peace. It is a collection of statistical trends in the behavior of groups of humans in various epochs, and as such it calls for an explanation in terms of psychology and history: how human minds deal with changing circumstances. A large part of the book will explore the psychology of violence and nonviolence. The theory of mind that I will invoke is the synthesis of cognitive science, affective and cognitive neuroscience, social and evolutionary psychology, and other sciences of human nature that I explored in How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, and The Stuff of Thought. According to this understanding, the mind is a complex system of cognitive and emotional faculties implemented in the brain which owe their basic design to the processes of evolution.

In chapter 9 we will look at a faculty of the mind that psychologists call self-control, delay of gratification, and shallow temporal discounting and that laypeople call counting to ten, holding your horses, biting your tongue, saving for a rainy day, and keeping your pecker in your pocket.27 We will also look at a faculty that psychologists call empathy, intuitive psychology, perspective-taking, and theory of mind and that laypeople call getting into other people’s heads, seeing the world from their point of view, walking a mile in their moccasins, and feeling their pain. Elias anticipated the scientific study of both of these better angels. Critics of Elias have pointed out that all societies have standards of propriety about sexuality and excretion which presumably grow out of innate emotions surrounding purity, disgust, and shame.28 As we will see, the degree to which societies moralize these emotions is a major dimension of variation across cultures.

The psychologists Liane Young and Rebecca Saxe put people in an fMRI scanner and had them read stories involving deliberate and accidental harms. 70 They found that the ability to exculpate harm-doers in the light of their mental state depends on the part of the brain at the junction between the temporal and parietal lobes, which is illuminated in figure 8–3 (though it’s actually the counterpart of this region in the right hemisphere that lit up in the study). The temporoparietal junction sits at a crossroads for many kinds of information, including the perception of the position of one’s own body, and the perception of the bodies and actions of other people. Saxe had previously shown that the region is necessary for the mental faculty that has been called mentalizing, intuitive psychology, and theory of mind, namely the ability to understand the beliefs and desires of another person.71 There is another kind of moral deliberation that goes beyond the gut: weighing the consequences of different courses of action. Consider the old chestnut from moral philosophy: a family is hiding from the Nazis in a cellar. Should they smother their baby to prevent it from crying and giving away their location, which would result in the deaths of everyone in the family, baby included?

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Thinking in Pictures: And Other Reports From My Life With Autism by Temple Grandin


Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, factory automation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), source of truth, theory of mind

Writing did not come easily to her at first, not because she lacked verbal facility, but because she lacked an imagination of other minds, of the fact that her listeners were different from her, were not privy to the experiences, the associations, the background information in her own mind. There were strange discontinuities (people injected suddenly into the narrative without warning, for instance); casual reference to incidents of which the reader had no knowledge; and sudden, perplexing changes of topic. It is said by cognitive psychologists that autistic people lack “theory of mind”—any direct perception or idea of other minds, or other states of mind—and that this lies at the heart of their difficulties. What is remarkable is that Temple, now in her fifth decade, has developed some genuine appreciation of other people and other minds, their sensibilities and idiosyncrasies, in the ten years which have passed since writing Emergence. And it is this which now shows itself in Thinking in Pictures, and lends it a warmth and color rarely seen in her earlier book.

For example, at an autism meeting, a young man with Kanner's syndrome walked up to every person and asked, “Where are your earrings?” Kanner autistics need to be told in a clear simple way what is appropriate and inappropriate social behavior. Uta Frith, a researcher at the MRC Cognitive Development Unit in London, has found that some people with Kanner's syndrome are unable to imagine what another person is thinking. She developed a “theory of mind” test to determine the extent of the problem. For example, Joe, Dick, and a person with autism are sitting at a table. Joe places a candy bar in a box and shuts the lid. The telephone rings, and Dick leaves the room to answer the phone. While Dick is gone, Joe eats the candy bar and puts a pen in the box. The autistic person who is watching is asked, “What does Dick think is in the box?” Many people with autism will give the wrong answer and say “a pen.”

I have no problems if I mentally rehearse every scenario, but I still panic if I'm not prepared for a new situation, especially when I travel to a foreign country where I am unable to communicate. Since I can't rely on my library of social cues, I feel very helpless when I can't speak the language. Often I withdraw. If I were two years old today, I would be diagnosed with classic Kanner's syndrome, because I had delayed abnormal speech development. However, as an adult I would probably be diagnosed as having Asperger's syndrome, because I can pass a simple theory-of-mind test and I have greater cognitive flexibility than a classic Kanner autistic. All of my thinking is still in visual images, though it appears that thinking may become less visual as one moves along the continuum away from classic Kanner's syndrome. My sensory oversensitivities are worse than the mild difficulties some Kanner autistics have, but I do not have sensory mixing and jumbling problems.

pages: 379 words: 109,612

Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future by John Brockman


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

My Judgment Enhancer Geoffrey Miller Evolutionary psychologist, University of New Mexico; author, Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior The Internet changes every aspect of thinking for the often-online human: perception, categorization, attention, memory, spatial navigation, language, imagination, creativity, problem solving, Theory of Mind, judgment, and decision making. These are the key research areas in cognitive psychology and constitute most of what the human brain does. The Websites of BBC News and the Economist extend my perception, becoming my sixth sense for world events. Gmail structures my attention through my responses to incoming messages: delete, respond, or star for response later? Wikipedia is my extended memory. An online calendar changes how I plan my life. Google Maps changes how I navigate through my city and world. Facebook expands my Theory of Mind—allowing me to better understand the beliefs and desires of others. But for me, the most revolutionary change is in my judgment and decision making—the ways I evaluate and choose among good or bad options.

The Royal Society, founded two decades after Galileo’s death, chose as their motto Nullius in verba (“On the authority of no one”), a principle strikingly at variance with the pre-Gutenberg world. The assumptions (e.g., I should be free to think about and question anything), methods (experimentation, statistical inference, model building), and content (evolutionary biology, quantum mechanics, the computational Theory of Mind) of modern thought are unimaginably different from those held by our ancestors living before Gutenberg. All this—to simplify slightly—because of a drop in the cost of producing books. So what is happening to us, now that the Internet has engulfed us? The Internet and its cybernetic creatures have dropped, by many more orders of magnitude, the cost in money, effort, and time of acquiring and publishing information.

But there is also the strong possibility, based on circumstantial evidence relating to a “cultural explosion” of human artifacts and technologies, that a mutation rewired the brain for computational efficiency. This rewiring allowed for recursion (embedding whole bundles of perceptions and thought within other bundles of perceptions and thoughts), which is an essential property of both human language (syntactic structures) and mind-reading skills (or Theory of Mind, the ability to infer other people’s thoughts and perceptions: “I know that she knows that I know that he knows that . . . ,” etc.). Language and mind reading, in turn, became critical to development of peculiarly human forms of thinking and communication, including planning and cooperation among anonymous strangers, imagining plausible versus fictitious pasts and futures, the counterfactuals of reason, and the supernaturals of religion.

pages: 295 words: 89,280

The Narcissist Next Door by Jeffrey Kluger


Albert Einstein, always be closing, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bernie Madoff, Columbine, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, impulse control, Jony Ive, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game

“That’s when kids begin to understand that there are things or people outside of their world and outside of themselves. It’s only at that point that they start to get sensitive to others.” But that awakening comes very slowly. Even when children begin to understand that people and objects exist outside of their reach, they still don’t grasp the idea that knowledge does, too. Acquiring this so-called theory of mind—the understanding that what’s in your head is not necessarily in other people’s heads—is a slow slog. In behavioral studies, toddlers who watch an experimenter hide a toy in a cabinet or drawer will automatically assume that anyone who walks in the room later will know where it’s hidden, too. The phenomenon becomes even more obvious as children acquire a sophisticated command of language. I would marvel at this assumed familiarity even when my daughters were seven or eight years old and would tell me about a TV show they’d seen that they knew full well I hadn’t.

“So the same girl walked in the door as before,” one of them would say, “except it was the smaller door and she was wearing red shoes instead of blue and that boy who was mean to her last time is nice.” What girl? What door? What mean boy? I could follow her eyes as they flicked around slightly, scanning the TV scene that was clearly still in her head, but I could not begin to follow her story. When children do start to acquire a theory of mind, it often, encouragingly, shows itself in the first green shoots of empathy—understanding that someone else is sad or suffering even if the children themselves are not. Even then, however, the toddler will behave egocentrically. “A small child will try to comfort his mother the same way he would want to be comforted,” Barnett says. “That may mean giving her his teddy bear or some other toy he likes.”

See entertainers; sports stars charm and charisma body language, 140–41, 179–80 bosses, 137–38 criminals, 219–21, 234–35 despots and dictators, 179–80, 234–35 liars, 69, 71 politicians, 140–41, 167, 168, 251 romantic narcissists, 102–3, 105, 107–8, 137 workplace narcissists, 70–75 cheating academic dishonesty, 16–17 presidential philandering, 70, 110–11, 156 romantic narcissism, 103, 109, 116–17 in workplace, 70–75, 77–79 children ambiguous parental messages, 48 control of narcissistic tendencies, 26–27, 36–37 empathy development, 27–30 evolutionary survival-based behavior, 24–26 fetus as parasite, 22–24 impulse control, 30–33 innate narcissistic temperament, 21, 26–27 natural and taught exceptionalism, 9–10 neglectful or unempathetic upbringing, 44–45 overvalidation, 46–47 permanence, concept of, 27 play, 52–55 primary narcissism, 25 privileged and liberal upbringing, 47, 50–51 remorse, 34–36 in self-esteem movement, 9–10, 12, 55–59 sexting, 65 sociopathic behavior, 19–20 theory of mind, 27–28 Christakis, Erika, 56–57 Christie, Chris, 6 Cialdini, Robert, 207–9 Clinton, Bill, 70, 110–11, 161–65, 168, 173, 183 Clinton, Hillary, 110–11, 176 collaboration, 53–54 collective narcissism. See tribalism Collins, Joan, 104 comedians. See entertainers Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, The (Spock), 50–51 compassion. See empathy competition, lack of, 54, 55–56 Coolidge, Calvin, 168, 171–72, 173 CORF (cutting off reflected failure), 208–9 corporate world.

pages: 294 words: 80,084

Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction to Science Fact by Steven Kotler


Albert Einstein, Alexander Shulgin, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Burning Man, carbon footprint, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, epigenetics, gravity well, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Louis Pasteur, North Sea oil, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, theory of mind, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

The Genius Who Sticks Around Forever THE SCIENCE OF MIND UPLOADING In his novel Terra Nostra, author Carlos Fuentes writes: “Incredible the first animal that dreamed of another animal.” Quite an idea, right? Both the origin story for dreaming and the initial step up the ladder that scientists describe with the phrase “theory of mind”: our ability to attribute mental states — beliefs, intents, desires — to oneself and others. It is, without question, an extraordinary ability. Now consider the opposite end of the spectrum, the farthest rung up the theory-of-mind ladder: the ability to share the mind of another. This is the frontier known as mind uploading, and it is a truly wild frontier. In the previous chapter, we explored using technology to battle back decrepitude. In this chapter, we’re using technology to battle death itself. Where will this lead?

., 216 Sterling, Bruce, 247 Steroid Control Act, 189–90, 198 steroids, 183–200 for AIDS treatment, 196–97 anabolic and androgenic, 192 for cosmetic purposes, 190 DHEA, 186, 198 early research on, 192–93 human growth hormone, 198 metabolic effects of, 190–92 misinformation about, 183–84, 188–90, 193–95 negative effects of, 188–89, 194 research on, 189–90 ’roid rage and, 189 in sports, 183, 187–90, 193–95 testosterone, 192–93, 198–99 Stewart, Jon, 145 Stratos Project, 127–30 Strauss, Lewis, 109 Studebaker, winged, 100 Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 233–34 sugarcane farming, 87–89 Sulgin, Alexander, 160 Survival Research Labs, 101 Svalbard Global Seed Vault, 249 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 27 synthetic biology, xv, 219, 230–38, 241–42 Synthetic Genomics, 230 Szilárd, Leó, 109 Talent, Jim, 237 technology criminal use of, 235–36, 246 democratization of, 247–48 disruptive, xiv–xvi, 31, 151 evolution and, 56–59 irresistibility of, xvi–xvii rate of change in, 28, 57, 225–27 technopatric speciation, 58–59 techno-physio evolution, 54–57 telomeres, 191 temporal lobe, 43–45, 47–48 terraforming, 81–95 Terrafugia Transition, 100 Terra Nostra (Fuentes), 23 TerraPower, 121 terrorism, 229–30 bioweapons in, 233–38, 241–42 FBI biosecurity conferences and, 236–37 information technology in, 235 nuclear energy and, 120 testosterone, 192–93, 198–200 theory of mind, 23 This Is Reality (Martensson), 27 This Timeless Moment (Huxley), 181–82 Thompson, Hunter S., 168, 171 thorium reactors, 119–20 Three Mile Island, 110, 118 Thurmond, Strom, 213–14 Time on the Cross: An Economic Analysis of American Negro Slavery (Fogel & Engerman), 52–53 Tito, Dennis, 145 Toshiba, 121 Toth, Lou, 85–86 tourism, space, 129–30 transcendent states, 45–47, 165 trans fats, 198 transposable elements, 136–38 traveling wave reactors, 121 Truax, Robert, 101 Truax Engineering, 101 Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin, 145 Tsukamoto, Ann, 216 “The Tunnel Under the World” (Pohl), 27 tunnel vision, 41–42 UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, 115 United Nations, 217 unity, cosmic, 45–47, 165, 175 US Air Force, 241 US Department of Energy, 119, 228 van Lommel, Pim, 40, 42 Venter, Craig, 228, 230, 231, 247 Vergel, Nelson, 196–97 Virgin Galactic, 129 vision artificial implants for, xiv, xvi, 26, 61–77 cost of artificial, 75–76 effects of electricity on, 79, 80–81 functional mobility in, 67 neuroprosthesis for, 67 religions on, 74 retinal implants for, 66–67 starry-night effect in, 64–65 tunnel, in near-death experiences, 41–42 “The Voice” (Butcher), 37 Walter Reed hospital, 15, 17 Walton, Ernest, 109 water impoundments, 88–90 Waterman, Waldo, 100 Watson (artificial intelligence), 223 weapons of mass destruction, 227, 245–46 Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, 236–37 weightlifters, 189–90 Weiland, James, 76–77 Weissman, Irv, 203–7, 209, 211, 215–17 Weldon, Dave, 215 Weldon Bill, 215 West Nile virus, 133, 134 What Technology Wants (Kelly), xvi–xvii Whinnery, James, 40–42 Wick, Douglas, 213–14 Wikileaks, 224, 242 Wimmer, Eckard, 233 Winkler, Allan, 110 World Health Organization (WHO), 61 Wright Brothers, 72–73 XPRIZE, xi–xiii, 129, 141, 151 yellow fever, 133, 137 Yesalis, Charles, 195 You, Edward, 236–37 Yushchenko, Viktor, 238 Zee-Aero, 105 Zucker, Jerry, 213–14

pages: 274 words: 93,758

Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller, Stanley B Resor Professor Of Economics Robert J Shiller


Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, David Brooks,, endowment effect, equity premium, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, greed is good, income per capita, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, loss aversion, Menlo Park, mental accounting, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, new economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, publication bias, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave

Many of our ideas—perhaps even the core of our thinking—are about our fellow human beings. The mentally healthy have subtle abilities to perceive the thoughts of others: they have a theory of mind. It is one of the most attractive features of humanity. It underlies our sympathy for one another. But theory of mind also has its downside. It also means that we can figure out how to lure people into doing things that are in our interest, but not in theirs. As a result, many new ideas are not just technological. They are not ways to deliver good-for-you / good-for-me’s. They are, instead, new uses of the theory of mind, regarding how to deliver good-for-me / bad-for-you’s. Such new ideas have emerged in every chapter of this book. We have seen, for example, the addictive slot machines of Las Vegas; the ratings agencies’ labeling rotten “avocados” (i.e., rotten derivatives) as triple-A; the selling of the man in the Hathaway shirt and of the senator on the lawnmower; the doggie strategically placed in the window.

pages: 380 words: 104,841

The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us by Diane Ackerman


23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, Internet of things, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microbiome, nuclear winter, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, skunkworks, Skype, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the High Line, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog

Some other animals—orangutans and other cousins of ours, dolphins and octopuses, and some birds—are also self-aware. A wily jay might choose to cache a seed more quietly because other jays are nearby and it doesn’t want the treasure stolen; an octopus might take the lid off its habitat at night to go for a stroll and then replace the lid when it returns lest its keepers find out. They possess a theory of mind, and can intuit what a rival might do in a given situation and act accordingly. They exhibit deceit, compassion, the ability to see themselves through another’s eyes. Chimpanzees feel deeply, strategize, plan, think abstractly to a surprising degree, mourn, empathize some, deceive, seduce, and are all too conscious of life’s pressures, if not its chastening illusions. They’re blessed and burdened, as we are, by strong family ties and quirky personalities, from madcap to martinet.

Futurologists like Ray Kurzweil believe, as Lipson does, that a race of conscious robots, far smarter than we, will inhabit Earth’s near-future days, taking over everything from industry, education, and transportation to engineering, medicine, and sales. They already have a foot in the door. At the 2013 Living Machines Conference, in London, the European RobotCub Consortium introduced their iCub, a robot that has naturally evolved a theory of mind, an important milestone that develops in children at around the age of three or four. Standing about three feet tall, with a bulbous head and pearly white face, programmed to walk and crawl like a child, it engages the world with humanlike limbs and joints, sensitive fingertips, stereo vision, sharp ears, and an autobiographical memory that’s split like ours into the episodic memory of, say, skating on a frozen pond as a child and the semantic memory of how to tilt the skate blades on edge for a skidding stop.

., 87 Stanley Park, 78 starlings, 153, 165–66 Star Trek, 232, 253, 260 Statue of Liberty, 59 steam engine, 34 Steel Pier, 47 stem cells, 13, 150 Stockholm, 96–97 Stoermer, Eugene, 313 stomata, 91 Stony Creek harbor, 56–57, 66–67 storks, 124 Strauss, Richard, 269 suburban sprawl, 116 succulents, 83 sugar, 239 Suharto, 313 sulfur, 99 Summit, Scott, 236–37 sustainability, popularity of, 108 Sustainability Revolution, The (Edwards), 88 Svalbard Global Seed Vault, 154–55 Svensson, Tore, 101 Sweden, 96–97, 98–101, 106, 132 Swiss chard, 89, 90 Switzerland, 78, 132 swordfish, 65 sycamores, 111, 113 SyNAPSE, 256, 318 Taft, William Howard, 58 Tahiti, 159 Taiwan, 83 Taliban, 146 Tasmanian devils, 151, 164 taste, 211–12 Taylor, Robert, 89 technical nutrients, 87 technology, 10, 13–14 nature and, 188–200 Technology University, 104 Teitiota, Ioane, 49 Tel Aviv University, 293 telekenesis, 203 telephones, 171 telescopes, 171 televisions, 87, 191 temperate zones, 80 Tennessee, 46 termites, 92–93 Texas, 41 texting, 190 by plants, 205–7 Thailand, 79, 180 Thames Barrier, 50–51 theory of mind, 216–17, 218–19 Thimble Islands, 58 Thimble Island Salts, 62 “Thousand Dreams of Stellavista, The” (Ballard), 231 3D printing, 232–39, 244 Three Gorges Dam, 101 Thumb, Tom, 58 Thus Spake Zarathustra, 269–70 thyme, 90 Tiananmen Square, 271 tiger mosquitos, 132 time-rock, 32–33 titanium dioxide, 181 toads, 125 Tohoku, 46 Tokyo, 78 tomatoes, 89 Tom Jones (film), 294 Tonga, 158 tools, 171 human use of, 7, 9 orangutan use of, 5 tornadoes, 41 Toronto, Canada, 78 touch, 178 “Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, The” (Aesop), 115 Toxoplasma gondii, 296–99 trains, 102 transparent aluminum, 34 tree lizards, 80 trees, 83 trilobites, 29–30 trumpeter swans, 135 tube worms, 37–38 TU Delft, 104, 105 tuna, 65 Tushi, 272 Tuvalu, 48–49 23andMe, 271 twins, 282 Twitter, 317 2001: A Space Odyssey (film), 269–70 Tybee Island Ocean Rescue, 65 typewriter, 191 typhoons, 46 Uganda, 72 United Kingdom, 83, 298 cities in, 72 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, 99 United Nations Panel on Climate Change, 41–42 United States, 83 urban beekeeping, 88 urban eyes, 192 urbanization, 154 U.S.

Pandora's Brain by Calum Chace


3D printing, AI winter, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, Extropian, friendly AI, hive mind, mega-rich, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, theory of mind, Turing test, Wall-E

The jungle reclaimed a lot of them, and many of them are still waiting to be cleared. They look so impressive! I really want to spend some time over there exploring them.’ Carl grinned. ‘Well, I hope that one day you do.’ Carl’s resolve to get back to work was unconvincing, so Matt launched another topic of conversation. ‘So what’s the homework?’ ‘I’ve got to write a paper for the start of next term about personal identity and the theory of mind. I have to decide whether I think that personal identity is maintained over time and whether there really is any such thing as a ‘self’. A lot of philosophers use thought experiments to help draw out their intuitions, and I get rather distracted by discussions of artificial intelligence and brains in vats. The trouble with philosophy is that a lot of it’s science fiction without the fancy dress.’

Now this is just a worm, with about 300 neurons and 7,000 synapses. If they can’t model that, what chance is there of modelling a human brain, with a hundred billion neurons?’ Carl shook his head. ‘The computer scientists at Google and the rest of Silicon Valley think they can just build an analogue of a brain and that’s it – job done. But in reality that’s not even half the job. They haven’t got an adequate theory of mind, and there’s a little thing called psychology which they’ve completely forgotten about.’ He tapped the side of his head. ‘This took millions of years to evolve. It’s madness to think it can be replicated in a few years just because we have machines that can run a video game.’ ‘Well of course you may be right,’ Matt conceded. ‘But you know, you’re being every bit as dogmatic that it won’t happen soon as Kurzweil is that it will.

Just as we humans are capable of enormously more complex, subtle and dare I say fulfilling experiences than chickens and chimpanzees, so I am confident that a super-intelligent uploaded human would be capable of enjoying more subtle and more profound experiences than we are. The more we find out about the universe, the more we discover it to be a fascinatingly challenging and weird place. The more we know, the more we know we don’t know. So I don’t believe that our descendents will run out of things to explore. In fact you may be interested to know that there is a nascent branch of philosophy – a sub-branch of the Theory of Mind, you might say – called the Theory of Fun, which addresses these concerns.’ ‘As for over-population,’ Montaubon chipped in, ‘there is a very big universe to explore out there, and we now know that planets are positively commonplace. It won’t be explored by flesh-and-blood humans as shown in Star Trek and Star Wars: that idea is absurd. It will be explored by intelligence spreading out in light beams, building material environments on distant planets using advanced 3-D printing techniques.

pages: 313 words: 92,053

Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life by Colin Ellard

augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, megastructure, more computing power than Apollo, Oculus Rift, Peter Eisenman, RFID, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, sentiment analysis, smart cities, the built environment, theory of mind, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen

When asked to describe what they saw, participants described the unfolding events in very human terms, attributing cognitive and emotional states to the objects. One viewer of the video described one of the triangles as an “aggressive bully,” for instance, and many viewers speculated about the possibility of a love-triangle between the shapes. These much-cited experiments helped to lay the foundation for a psychology of “theory of mind,” which supposes that we are predisposed to attribute the behavior of all kinds of objects to very human inner feelings and thoughts. More recent work has suggested that the development of the capacity to use theory of mind to account for simple perceptual phenomena is something that begins at a very young age. Even infants show some of the effects described by Heider and Simmel.4 In a related vein, the Belgian psychologist Albert Michotte reported experiments in 1947 showing what he called the “launching effect.”

See also geotracking; global positioning system; responsive design; virtual reality attention and, 50, 202–4 for body boundary remapping, 22 calm, 194–95, 196 emergence overview of, 13–14, 17, 25–27, 225 gaming, 75–76, 184–85 genericization and, 121–22, 123–24 loneliness and, 147, 149–50 personalization and, 27, 104–5, 189–90, 208–11 reality redefined by, 78, 90, 225 smartphone, 25, 196–97 smartphone apps, 77, 103–4, 129, 210 ubiquitous computing, 194–97 urban infrastructure, 212–16 wearable, 26–27, 210 Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED), 22 Technology and the Character of Modern Life (Borgmann), 202 teledildonics, 185 temporal cortex, 169, 200–201 tensegrity, 75 Terrenato, Nicola, 54 terror management theory, 164–65 testosterone, 22 theory of mind, 58 Thomas, Elizabeth, 47 threat detection of, 34–35, 134–35, 144–45 fight or flight response to, 126, 142–44 neuroscience of anticipated, 59, 128, 134 prospect and refuge theory and, 33–35, 97 social status and, 156–57, 167–68 thrill, 81–86, 89–93 time dilation, 166 Tinbergen, Niko, 33 Toronto, 133–34, 195 transcendence, 152–53, 155, 172–73 trees, 35 Tröndle, Martin, 91–92 trust, 136, 137–38 Turkey, Göbekli Tepe in, 14–15 Twitter, 210–11 ubiquitous computing (Ubicomp), 194–97 Ulrich, Roger, 31, 36 United States crime avoidance in, 141 singles demographic shift in, 145–46 upward gaze, 171–73 urban spaces.

The Chomsky-Foucault Debate: On Human Nature by Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault


new economy, nuremberg principles, Paul Samuelson, theory of mind

He was moving into the domain of something that went beyond well-established science, and was trying to integrate it with well-established science by developing a theory in which these notions could be properly clarified and explained. Now Descartes, I think, made a similar intellectual move in postulating a second substance. Of course he failed where Newton succeeded; that is, he was unable to lay the ground-works for a mathematical theory of mind, as achieved by Newton and his followers, which laid the groundwork for a mathematical theory of physical entities that incorporated such occult notions as action at a distance and later electro-magnetic forces and so on. But then that poses for us, I think, the task of carrying on and developing this, if you like, mathematical theory of mind; by that I simply mean a precisely articulated, clearly formulated, abstract theory which will have empirical consequences, which will let us know whether the theory is right or wrong, or on the wrong track or the right track, and at the same time will have the properties of mathematical science, that is, the properties of rigor and precision and a structure that makes it possible for us to deduce conclusions from assumptions and so on.

pages: 879 words: 233,093

The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, British Empire, carbon footprint, collaborative economy, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, distributed generation,, energy security, feminist movement, global village, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, off grid, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, supply-chain management, surplus humans, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, working poor, World Values Survey

While only a few species pass the mirror test for self- identity and despite the fact that mirror neuron systems, to date, have been found in only a few species—most species have not yet been studied—experiments show that many species demonstrate in their behavior that they possess theory of mind.19 Experiments conducted by Brian Hare of Harvard University and Michael Tomasello of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig showed that “domestic dogs understand what is meant when a human being points at something (as in ‘the food’s under this one!’).”20 While we take for granted that when one person points to an object, another knows how to look over at it, for a dog to do the same, he needs to know that “your movements aren’t about your arm and hand but about the mind that drives them.”21 That recognition requires that the dog be able to read the person’s mind and understand their intention in making the gesture. In other words, he must have a theory of mind. Some animal species even understand the idea of fairness, which requires a sophisticated awareness of oneself in relationship to another.

The premodern notion that faith and God’s grace are the windows to reality and the Enlightenment idea that reason is at the apex of modern consciousness are giving way to a more sophisticated approach to a theory of mind. Researchers in a diverse range of fields and disciplines are beginning to reprioritize some of the critical features of faith and reason within the context of a broader empathic consciousness. They argue that all of human activity is embodied experience—that is, participation with the other—and that the ability to read and respond to another person “as if ” he or she were oneself is the key to how human beings engage the world, create individual identity, develop language, learn to reason, become social, establish cultural narratives, and define reality and existence. The notion of embodied experience is a direct challenge to the older faith- and reason-based approaches to consciousness. While the new theory of mind makes room for both within a broader empathic framework, they no longer stand alone as autonomous constructs for framing reality.

Advocates of embodied experience eschew the idea that knowledge, reason, and thought itself are something that exist a priori, requiring only an inquiring mind to pluck them from the ether and store them in consciousness. They also take umbrage with the Newtonian assertion that reality is made up of discrete phenomena that can be measured in isolation, categorized and connected in a sterile causal way. Rather, they assert that mental life is always relational because it’s based on the idea that I know, that you know, that I know that you know—the very concept of a theory of mind. The development of thought itself, therefore, necessitates relationships to others. Indeed, we can only know ourselves in relationship to others. It is by the continuous process of engagement with others that we become who we are. In this sense, we are each an embodiment of that part of the other’s experience with us that we have absorbed into ourselves. Our relationships form us and make us who we are.

pages: 91 words: 5,667

The Asperger Love Guide: A Practical Guide for Adults With Asperger's Syndrome to Seeking, Establishing and Maintaining Successful Relationships by Genevieve Edmonds, Dean Worton


fear of failure, neurotypical, place-making, theory of mind

Disagreements are a part of life and no one can avoid them without running away from their problems. 57 Nearly all couples have disagreements and it’s often a healthy part of a relationship. You should always try to see the argument from your partner’s point of view. For Aspies seeing things from another person’s point of view, or having empathy is something that doesn’t come easily if you are not used to it. Aspies are seen to be naturally lacking in ’Theory of Mind’, or being naturally empathic. This may be something initially you may have to force yourself to do. It is certainly possible to teach yourself to empathize with others. If you have great difficulty with seeing things only from your own point of view you may need to seek a good psychotherapist who understands the autistic spectrum who may be able to support you in learning how to empathize with others.

pages: 443 words: 123,526

Glasshouse by Stross, Charles


cognitive dissonance, experimental subject, gravity well, loose coupling, peer-to-peer, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, sensible shoes, theory of mind, white picket fence

We may be living in a glass jar with bright lights and monitors trained on us the whole time, but it's not likely that everything we do is being watched by a live human being in real time. We massively outnumber the experimenters, and they're primarily interested in our public socialization. (At least, that's the official story.) To monitor an intelligent organism properly requires observers with a theory of mind at least as strong as the subject. We subjects outnumber the experimenters by a couple of orders of magnitude, and I've seen no sign of strongly superhuman metaintelligences being involved in this operation, so I think the odds are on my side. If we are up against the weakly godlike, I might as well throw in the towel right now. But if not . . . You can delegate all you want to subconscious mechanisms, but you run the risk of them missing things.

I am a lot younger—barely three gigs—and I'm also happy, at least at first. I'm in a stable family relationship with three other core partners, plus various occasional liaisons with five or six fuckbuddies. We're fully bisexual, either naturally or via a limbic system mod copied from bonobos. My family has two children, and we're thinking about starting another two in half a gig or so. I'm also lucky enough to have a vocation, researching the history of the theory of mind—an aspect of cultural ideology that only became important after the Acceleration, and which goes in and out of fashion, but which I hold to be critically important. The history of my field, for example, tells us that for almost a gigasecond during the old-style twenty-third century, most of humanity-in-exile were zimboes, quasi-conscious drones operating under the aegis of an overmind. How that happened and how the cognitive dictatorship was broken is something I'm studying with considerable interest and not a few field trips to old memory temples.

It's not just my arms and legs—all my joints are screaming at me in chorus with a whole load of muscles I wish I didn't have right now—but my head's throbbing and I feel like I'm freezing to death and my stomach's not so good either. And the blackouts and memory fugues are still with me. "What's wrong with, me?" I ask, and it takes a big effort to get the words out. "You are ill," the zombie repeats. It's useless arguing with her—nobody home, no theory of mind, just a bunch of reflexes and canned dialogues. "Who can I ask?" She's turning away, but I seem to have tripped a new response. "The consultant will visit at eight o'clock tonight, all questions must be addressed to the consultant. The patient is weak and must not be disturbed excessively. Drink lots of fluids." She picks up an empty jug that was out of view a moment ago and whisks it away toward one end of the ward.

On Language: Chomsky's Classic Works Language and Responsibility and Reflections on Language in One Volume by Noam Chomsky, Mitsou Ronat


conceptual framework, finite state, Paul Samuelson, theory of mind

Analogously, two individuals in the same speech community may acquire grammars that differ somewhat in scale and subtlety.4 What is more, the products of the language faculty vary depending on triggering experience, ranging over the class of possible human languages (in principle). These variations in structure are limited, no doubt sharply, by UG; and the functions of language in human life are no doubt narrowly constrained as well, though no one has as yet found a way to go much beyond a descriptive taxonomy in dealing with this question. 5 Restricting ourselves now to humans, suppose that we understand psychology to be the theory of mind, in the sense outlined earlier. Thus psychology is that part of human biology that is concerned at its deepest level with the second-order capacity to construct cognitive structures that enter into first-order capacities to act and to interpret experience. Psychology has as its primary concern the faculties of mind involved in cognitive capacity. Each such faculty of mind is represented as one of the LT(H,D)’s of earlier discussion.

We might try to approach the classic problem of accounting for action that is appropriate to situations but uncontrolled by stimuli in these terms. Given a partially structured system that provides an evaluation of outcomes, choices that are random except for maximizing “value” may have the appearance of free, purposeful, and intelligent behavior—but one must remain skeptical about this approach, though it is the only one that seems to fall within any conceptual framework intelligible to us. Within cognitive capacity, the theory of mind has a distinctly rationalist cast. Learning is primarily a matter of filling in detail within a structure that is innate. We depart from the tradition in several respects, specifically, in taking the “a priori system” to be biologically determined. 6 Outside the bounds of cognitive capacity, an empiricist theory of learning applies, by unfortunate necessity. Hence little learning is possible, the scope of discovery is minimal, and uniformities will be found across domains and across species.

Suppose further that the operation of rules of grammar is in part determined by semantic properties of lexical items; to form passive sentences, for example, we must take into account semantic properties of verbs and their “thematic relations” to surrounding noun phrases. These are by no means implausible ideas. If they are correct, the language faculty does not fix a grammar in isolation, even in principle. The theory of UG remains as a component of the theory of mind, but as an abstraction. Note that this conclusion, if correct, does not imply that the language faculty does not exist as an autonomous component of mental structure. Rather, the position we are now considering postulates that this faculty does exist, with a physical realization yet to be discovered, and places it within the system of mental faculties in a fixed way. Some might regard this picture as overly complex, but the idea that the system of cognitive structures must be far more simple than the little finger does not have very much to recommend it.

pages: 685 words: 203,949

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin


airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, Bayesian statistics, big-box store, business process, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump,, epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Exxon Valdez, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, impulse control, index card, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, invention of writing, iterative process, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, life extension, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, pre–internet, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Turing test, ultimatum game, zero-sum game

the mind-wandering mode In the scientific literature, what I’m calling the mind-wandering mode is referred to as the default mode or task-negative network, and the central executive is referred to as the task-positive network. These two brain states form a kind of yin-yang Binder, J. R., Frost, J. A., Hammeke, T. A., Bellgowan, P. S., Rao, S. M., & Cox, R. W. (1999). Conceptual processing during the conscious resting state: A functional MRI study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 11(1), 80–93. and, Corbetta, M., Patel, G., & Shulman, G. (2008). The reorienting system of the human brain: From environment to theory of mind. Neuron, 58(3), 306–324. and, Fox, M. D., Snyder, A. Z., Vincent, J. L., Corbetta, M., Van Essen, D. C., & Raichle, M. E. (2005). The human brain is intrinsically organized into dynamic, anticorrelated functional networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102(27), 9673–9678. and, Mazoyer, B., Zago, L., Mellet, E., Bricogne, S., Etard, O., Houde, O., . . . Tzourio-Mazoyer, N. (2001).

People with brain damage to the insula who are trying to give up smoking have an easier time of it—the urges aren’t being passed up to consciousness. Naqvi, N. H., Rudrauf, D., Damasio, H., & Bechara, A. (2007). Damage to the insula disrupts addiction to cigarette smoking. Science, 315(5811), 531–534. Switching between two external objects involves the temporal-parietal junction Corbetta, M., Patel, G., & Shulman, G. L. (2008). The reorienting system of the human brain: From environment to theory of mind. Neuron, 58(3), 306–324. and, Shulman, G. L., & Corbetta, M. (2014). Two attentional networks: Identification and function within a larger cognitive architecture. In M. Posner (Ed.), The cognitive neuroscience of attention (2nd ed.) (pp. 113–128). New York, NY: Guilford Press. For an alternate view, see Geng, J. J., & Vossel, S. (2013). Re-evaluating the role of TPJ in attentional control: Contextual updating?

It is characterized by a sense of heightened awareness, sensory sensitivity, and arousal. The mind-wandering network recruits neurons Menon, V., & Uddin, L. Q. (2010). Saliency, switching, attention and control: A network model of insula function. Brain Structure and Function, 214(5–6), 655–667. dense mass of fibers connected Corbetta, M., Patel, G., & Shulman, G. L. (2008). The reorienting system of the human brain: From environment to theory of mind. Neuron, 58(3), 306–324. the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA Kapogiannis, D., Reiter, D. A., Willette, A. A., & Mattson, M. P. (2013). Posteromedial cortex glutamate and GABA predict intrinsic functional connectivity of the default mode network. NeuroImage, 64, 112–119. (of a gene called COMT) Baldinger, P., Hahn, A., Mitterhauser, M., Kranz, G. S., Friedl, M., Wadsak, W., . . . Lanzenberger, R. (2013).

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The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language by Steven Pinker


Albert Einstein, cloud computing, David Attenborough, double helix, Drosophila, elephant in my pajamas, finite state, illegal immigration, Loebner Prize, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, out of africa, P = NP, phenotype, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Saturday Night Live, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, Turing test, Yogi Berra

Add an eye that can detect certain contours in the world and turn on representations that symbolize them, and muscles that can act on the world whenever certain representations symbolizing goals are turned on, and you have a behaving organism (or add a TV camera and set of levers and wheels, and you have a robot). This, in a nutshell, is the theory of thinking called “the physical symbol system hypothesis” or the “computational” or “representational” theory of mind. It is as fundamental to cognitive science as the cell doctrine is to biology and plate tectonics is to geology. Cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists are trying to figure out what kinds of representations and processors the brain has. But there are ground rules that must be followed at all times: no little men inside, and no peeking. The representations that one posits in the mind have to be arrangements of symbols, and the processor has to be a device with a fixed set of reflexes, period.

Subjunctives and the Chinese mind: Bloom, 1981, 1984; Au, 1983, 1984; Liu, 1985; Takano, 1989. A man without words: Schaller, 1991. Baby thoughts: Spelke et al., 1992. Baby arithmetic: Wynn, 1992. Animal thinking: Gallistel, 1992. Monkey friends and relations: Cheney & Seyfarth, 1992. Visual thinkers: Shepard, 1978; Shepard & Cooper, 1982. Einstein: Kosslyn, 1983. Mind’s eye: Shepard & Cooper, 1982; Kosslyn, 1983; Pinker, 1985. Representational theory of mind: in Haugeland, 1981, articles by Haugeland, Newell & Simon, Pylyshyn, Dennett, Marr, Searle, Putnam, and Fodor; in Pinker and Mehler, 1988, articles by Fodor & Pylyshyn and Pinker & Prince; Jackendoff, 1987. English versus mentalese: Fodor, 1975; McDermott, 1981. Headlines: Columbia Journalism Review, 1980. An example of mentalese: Jackendoff, 1987; Pinker, 1989. 4. How Language Works Arbitrary sound-meaning relation: Saussure, 1916/1959.

., 54–55, 453, PS11, PS21, PS22 Putnam, H, 10, 19, 451 Quayle, D., 337–338, 412 Quebec, 242 Quine, W. V. O., 147–152, 177, 396, 433–436 Race, 260–261, 447–448 Radner, G., 182 Rakic, P., 483 Raymond, E., 453, 454 Reading, PS 14, PS22–23 Reagan, R., 46, 101, 116, 123 Recursion, 93, 122–124, 126, 201–206, 291–292, 377, 380, PS21, glossary Reddy, R., 184 Redundancy, 178 Remez, R., 154 Renfrew, C., 255 Representational theory of mind, 64–73 Rodrigues, C., PS15 Rogers, C., 193 Rolling Stones, 183, 388 Rosch, E., 454 Rozin, P., 425 Ruhlen, M., 260–262 Rumbaugh, D., 350 Rumelhart, D., 454, 463 Russell, B., 47 Safire, W., 385, 402–412, PS21 Safran, E., 462 Sagan, C., 344 Sahin, N., PS18 Salinger, J. D., 391 San. See Khoisan Sapir, E., 14, 46, 48 Saussure, F. de, 75, 141, 145–147 Savage-Rumbaugh, S., 350, PS20 Savants, linguistic, 34, 39–43, 365 Scandinavian languages, 253 Schaller, S., 58–59 Schank, R., 457 Scholz, B., PS11 Schwartz, M., 462 Second language acquisition, PS9, PS16–17 Seidenberg, M, 210, 246 Selkirk, E., 454 Semantics, 93–95, 97–101, 105–107, 108, 110–111, 127–129, 130, 147–152, 197–200, 213–216, 282, 289–290, PS8, PS14 Semitic.

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Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff


algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game

Birds do it, bees do it . . . free market economies do it. And now we have the fractals with which to catch them all in the act. Scientists from across the spectrum leaped on the systems bandwagon, applying what began as a mathematical proof of market equilibrium to, well, pretty much everything. Linguist Steven Pinker saw in Hayek and systems theory a new justification for his advancement of evolutionary psychology and his computational theory of mind: “Hayek was among the first to call attention to the emergence of large-scale order from individual choices. The phenomenon is ubiquitous, and not just in economic markets: What makes everyone suddenly drive SUVs, name their daughters Madison rather than Ethel or Linda, wear their baseball caps backwards, raise their pitch at the end of a sentence? The process is still poorly understood by social science, with its search for external causes of behavior, but is essential to bridging the largest chasm in intellectual life: that between individual psychology and collective culture.”13 As above, so below.

In the next century, it should change the way people think about organizations, networks, and the social order more generally.”14 And so scientists, economists, cultural theorists, and even military strategists15 end up adopting fractalnoia as the new approach to describing and predicting the behavior of both individual actors and the greater systems in which they live. Weather, plankton, anthills, cities, love, sex, profit, society, and culture are all subject to the same laws. Everything is everything, as Bateson’s theory of Mind finds itself realized in the computer-generated fractal. Where all these scientists and social programmers must tread carefully, however, is in their readiness to draw congruencies and equivalencies between things that may resemble one another in some ways but not others. Remember, the fractal is self-similar on all its levels, but not necessarily identical. The interactions between plankton in the coral reef may be very similar to those between members of Facebook—but they are not the same.

pages: 351 words: 100,791

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction by Matthew B. Crawford


airport security, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, David Brooks, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, digital Maoism, Google Glasses, hive mind, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, large denomination, new economy, new new economy, Norman Mailer, online collectivism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

This fact gets conveyed to the driver in a necessary and lawlike way with the familiar “brake fade” in conventional hydraulic brakes. What was so deeply disturbing about the Toyota recall episode of 2008, I believe, was the revelation that there was software—convention, language, representation—involved in the brakes. This design problem of disconnection or arbitrariness mirrors a fundamental problem in cognitive science: the symbol-grounding problem. In the computational theory of mind that prevails in conventional cognitive science, we are assumed to have internal representations of the world, and these representations are built on symbols that are meaningless in themselves; they “encode” features of the world in the same way a computer represents states of affairs with a string of zeroes and ones. The symbol-grounding problem is this: How can arbitrary symbols take on meaning?

massification and social class and sovereign self and uncertain notions of of will autotelic activities Avalon (Toyota) Averaged American, The (Igo) Bach, Johann Sebastian ball bearings barbarians, skateboarders as Baroque era bartending baseball baseball bats Beat era Beckerath, Rudolf von Bedos, Dom Behavioral and Brain Sciences behavioral conditioning behavioral economics Benihana biases big data, era of blackjack Blind Spot Assist (Mercedes) bluegrass BMW Boardwalk Hall Auditorium organ Bono, Chris Boody, John motivation by reverse engineering by Boudreau, Bruce Brake Assist (Mercedes) Brewer, Talbot Brombaugh, John Brooks, David Burke, Edmund business-class lounge Calvin, John Canada cane capital concentration of social capitalism affective creative destruction in carbon fiber caretaking practices carpenters Car Talk cartoons cave, allegory of cell phone, driving while on centralization of authority certainty Chamberlain, Neville character Charles de Gaulle airport chiff children’s television chimpanzees China Cultural Revolution in choice freedom as and presentation of options as totem of consumer capitalism choice architects chopsticks Churchill, Winston Cindy (bookkeeper) Circuit of the Americas citizens, relationship of (sovereign) to Civil War, English Clark, Andy classical conditioning Clinton, Bill clustering cognition, advanced cognitive extension cognitive psychology cognitive sciences coherence colored walls commerce, regulation of communism communitarianism computational theory of mind concentration of motorcycle riders concepts, skilled activities and conflict, between self and world conformity individuality vs. consciousness consent conservatives consumer credit contingencies contract, authority of conversations, retrospective understanding enhanced by cooking, see short-order cooks cooperation Corporate Gaming Act courts, failing to appear in craft craps creative destruction creativity Critique of Judgment (Kant) cross-modal binding cultural authority cultural jigs Cultural Revolution culture culture of performance Cussins, Adrian cybernetics Davis, Miles death instinct pleasure principle and the will and debt Declaration of Independence Declaration of the Rights of Man Demain, Erik Demain, Martin democracy without flattening social effects of in statistical constructs Democracy in America (Tocqueville) Denmark Dennett, Daniel depression deregulation Descartes, René American individualism and epistemology of on primary vs. secondary qualities design: attention and of automobiles computer-aided in glassmaking interior in machine gambling in organ making determinism de Zengotita, Thomas Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Diderot, Denis differentiation from others as basis of communal feeling as basis of individuality and identity politics as incubator of genuine attachments as inherently hierarchal vs. viewing oneself as representative “digital Maoism” dissidents distraction in cultural crisis of attention as neuroscience finding political economy and summary view of diversity divorce dogs, Frisbees as caught by Dreyfus, Hubert driving Droid Dumbaugh, Eric Dunkin’ Donuts Ebbesen, E.

pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr


Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Airbus A320, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

The central subject of literature is society, and when we lose ourselves in a book we often receive an education in the subtleties and vagaries of human relations. Several studies have shown that reading tends to make us at least a little more empathetic, a little more alert to the inner lives of others. A series of experiments by researchers at the New School for Social Research, reported in Science in 2013, showed that reading literary fiction can strengthen a person’s “theory of mind,” which is what psychologists call the ability to understand what other people are thinking and feeling. “Fiction is not just a simulator of a social experience,” one of the researchers, David Comer Kidd, told The Guardian; “it is a social experience.” The reader withdraws in order to connect more deeply. THE DISCOVERIES about literature’s psychological and cognitive effects won’t come as a surprise to readers.

., 332 speech recognition, 137 spermatic, as term applied to reading, 247, 248, 250, 254 Spinoza, Baruch, 300–301 Spotify, 293, 314 “Sprite Sips” (app), 54 Squarciafico, Hieronimo, 240–41 Srinivasan, Balaji, 172 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 68 Starr, Karla, 217–18 Star Trek, 26, 32, 313 Stengel, Rick, 28 Stephenson, Neal, 116 Sterling, Bruce, 113 Stevens, Wallace, 158 Street View, 137, 283 Stroop test, 98–99 Strummer, Joe, 63–64 Studies in Classic American Literature (Lawrence), xxiii Such Stuff as Dreams (Oatley), 248–49 suicide rate, 304 Sullenberger, Sully, 322 Sullivan, Andrew, xvi Sun Microsystems, 257 “surf cams,” 56–57 surfing, internet, 14–15 surveillance, 52, 163–65, 188–89 surveillance-personalization loop, 157 survival, technologies of, 118, 119 Swing, Edward, 95 Talking Heads, 136 talk radio, 319 Tan, Chade-Meng, 162 Tapscott, Don, 84 tattoos, 336–37, 340 Taylor, Frederick Winslow, 164, 237–38 Taylorism, 164, 238 Tebbel, John, 275 Technics and Civilization (Mumford), 138, 235 technology: agricultural, 305–6 American culture transformed by, xv–xxii, 148, 155–59, 174–77, 214–15, 229–30, 296–313, 329–42 apparatus vs. artifact in, 216–19 brain function affected by, 231–42 duality of, 240–41 election campaigns transformed by, 314–20 ethical hazards of, 304–11 evanescence and obsolescence of, 327 human aspiration and, 329–42 human beings eclipsed by, 108–9 language of, 201–2, 214–15 limits of, 341–42 master-slave metaphor for, 307–9 military, 331–32 need for critical thinking about, 311–13 opt-in society run by, 172–73 progress in, 77–78, 188–89, 229–30 risks of, 341–42 sociology and, 210–13 time perception affected by, 203–6 as tool of knowledge and perception, 299–304 as transcendent, 179–80 Technorati, 66 telegrams, 79 telegraph, Twitter compared to, 34 telephones, 103–4, 159, 288 television: age of, 60–62, 79, 93, 233 and attention disorders, 95 in education, 134 Facebook ads on, 155–56 introduction of, 103–4, 159, 288 news coverage on, 318 paying for, 224 political use of, 315–16, 317 technological adaptation of, 237 viewing habits for, 80–81 Teller, Astro, 195 textbooks, 290 texting, 34, 73, 75, 154, 186, 196, 205, 233 Thackeray, William, 318 “theory of mind,” 251–52 Thiel, Peter, 116–17, 172, 310 “Things That Connect Us, The” (ad campaign), 155–58 30 Days of Night (film), 50 Thompson, Clive, 232 thought-sharing, 214–15 “Three Princes of Serendip, The,” 12 Thurston, Baratunde, 153–54 time: memory vs., 226 perception of, 203–6 Time, covers of, 28 Time Machine, The (Wells), 114 tools: blurred line between users and, 333 ethical choice and, 305 gaining knowledge and perception through, 299–304 hand vs. computer, 306 Home and Away blurred by, 159 human agency removed from, 77 innovation in, 118 media vs., 226 slave metaphor for, 307–8 symbiosis with, 101 Tosh, Peter, 126 Toyota Motor Company, 323 Toyota Prius, 16–17 train disasters, 323–24 transhumanism, 330–40 critics of, 339–40 transparency, downside of, 56–57 transsexuals, 337–38 Travels and Adventures of Serendipity, The (Merton and Barber), 12–13 Trends in Biochemistry (Nightingale and Martin), 335 TripAdvisor, 31 trolls, 315 Trump, Donald, 314–18 “Tuft of Flowers, A” (Frost), 305 tugboats, noise restrictions on, 243–44 Tumblr, 166, 185, 186 Turing, Alan, 236 Turing Test, 55, 137 Twain, Mark, 243 tweets, tweeting, 75, 131, 315, 319 language of, 34–36 theses in form of, 223–26 “tweetstorm,” xvii 20/20, 16 Twilight Saga, The (Meyer), 50 Twitter, 34–36, 64, 91, 119, 166, 186, 197, 205, 223, 224, 257, 284 political use of, 315, 317–20 2001: A Space Odyssey (film), 231, 242 Two-Lane Blacktop (film), 203 “Two Tramps in Mud Time” (Frost), 247–48 typewriters, writing skills and, 234–35, 237 Uber, 148 Ubisoft, 261 Understanding Media (McLuhan), 102–3, 106 underwearables, 168–69 unemployment: job displacement in, 164–65, 174, 310 in traditional media, 8 universal online library, 267–78 legal, commercial, and political obstacles to, 268–71, 274–78 universe, as memory, 326 Urban Dictionary, 145 utopia, predictions of, xvii–xviii, xx, 4, 108–9, 172–73 Uzanne, Octave, 286–87, 290 Vaidhyanathan, Siva, 277 vampires, internet giants compared to, 50–51 Vampires (game), 50 Vanguardia, La, 190–91 Van Kekerix, Marvin, 134 vice, virtual, 39–40 video games, 223, 245, 303 as addictive, 260–61 cognitive effects of, 93–97 crafting of, 261–62 violent, 260–62 videos, viewing of, 80–81 virtual child, tips for raising a, 73–75 virtual world, xviii commercial aspects of, 26–27 conflict enacted in, 25–27 language of, 201–2 “playlaborers” of, 113–14 psychological and physical health affected by, 304 real world vs., xx–xxi, 36, 62, 127–30 as restrictive, 303–4 vice in, 39–40 von Furstenberg, Diane, 131 Wales, Jimmy, 192 Wallerstein, Edward, 43–44 Wall Street, automation of, 187–88 Wall Street Journal, 8, 16, 86, 122, 163, 333 Walpole, Horace, 12 Walters, Barbara, 16 Ward, Adrian, 200 Warhol, Andy, 72 Warren, Earl, 255, 257 “Waste Land, The” (Eliot), 86, 87 Watson (IBM computer), 147 Wealth of Networks, The (Benkler), xviii “We Are the Web” (Kelly), xxi, 4, 8–9 Web 1.0, 3, 5, 9 Web 2.0, xvi, xvii, xxi, 33, 58 amorality of, 3–9, 10 culturally transformative power of, 28–29 Twitter and, 34–35 “web log,” 21 Wegner, Daniel, 98, 200 Weinberger, David, 41–45, 277 Weizenbaum, Joseph, 236 Wells, H.

Powers and Prospects by Noam Chomsky


anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, colonial rule, declining real wages, deindustrialization, deskilling, Fall of the Berlin Wall, invisible hand, Jacques de Vaucanson, John von Neumann, liberation theology, Monroe Doctrine, old-boy network, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, theory of mind, Tobin tax, Turing test

Fascination with the (possible) limits of automata is one respect in which the first cognitive revolution has been in part relived in recent years, though the usual preoccupation today is the nature of consciousness, not the properties of normal human action that concerned the Cartesians; crucially, the apparent fact that it is coherent and appropriate, but uncaused. Another similarity has to do with what are nowadays called ‘computational theories of mind’. In a different form, these were also a salient feature of the first cognitive revolution. Perhaps Descartes’ most lasting scientific contribution lies right here: his outline of a theory of perception with a computational flair (though our notions of computation were unavailable), along with proposals about its realisation in bodily mechanisms. To establish the mechanical philosophy, Descartes sought to eliminate the ‘occult properties’ invoked by the science of the day to account for what happens in the world.

Nevertheless, the story does provide a plausible indication of where to look for an answer to the question of how we remember things from an earlier existence, bringing it from the domain of mysteries to that of possible scientific inquiry. As in the theory of vision, and the cognitive sciences generally (in fact, much of science), we can study these questions at various levels. At one level, we can seek to identify the cellular structures involved in these operations. Or we can study the properties of these objects more abstractly—in this case, in terms of computational theories of mind and the symbolic representations they make available. Such investigations have something of the character of the study of structural formulas of chemistry or the Periodic table. In the case of language, we can be reasonably confident that the computational structure is largely innate; otherwise, no language could be acquired. A reasonable conjecture is that at root, there is only one fixed computational procedure that underlies all languages, and enough is understood for us to be able to spell out some of its likely properties.

pages: 329 words: 88,954

Emergence by Steven Johnson

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, edge city, epigenetics, game design, garden city movement, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, pez dispenser, phenotype, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, slashdot, Socratic dialogue, stakhanovite, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

That exploitation—a furtive pass concealed from the alpha male—is only possible because he is capable of building theories of other minds. Is it conceivable that this skill simply derives from a general increase in intelligence? Could it be that humans and their close cousins are just smarter than all those other species who flunk the mind-reading test? In other words, is there something specific to our social intelligence, something akin to a module hardwired into the brain’s CPU—or is the theory of minds just an idea that inevitably occurs to animals who reach a certain threshold of general intelligence? We are only now beginning to build useful maps of the brain’s functional topography, but already we see signs that “mind reading” is more than just a by-product of general intelligence. Several years ago, the Italian neuroscientist Giaccamo Rizzollati discovered a region of the brain that may well prove to be integral to the theory of other minds.

New York: Oxford University Press, 1977. Axlerod, Robert. The Evolution of Cooperation. New York: Basic Books, 1984. Bak, Per. How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organized Criticality. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1996. Ball, Philip. The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature. New York, Oxford, and Tokyo: Oxford University Press, 1999. Baron-Cohen, Simon. Mindblindness: An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind. Cambridge, Mass., and London: MIT Press, 1999. ———, ed. The Maladapted Mind: Classic Readings in Evolutionary Psychopathology. East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press, 1997. Becker, Konrad, and Miss M. “An Interview with Manuel De Landa.” Online posting. May 2000. Benjamin, Walter. The Arcades Project. Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press, 1999.

pages: 542 words: 161,731

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle


Albert Einstein, Columbine, global village, Hacker Ethic, helicopter parent, Howard Rheingold, industrial robot, information retrieval, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rodney Brooks, Skype, stem cell, technoutopianism, The Great Good Place, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, women in the workforce

., “The Cog Project: Building a Humanoid Robot,” in Computation for Metaphors, Analogy and Agents, vol. 1562 of Springer Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence , ed. C. Nehaniv (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1998), and Rodney Brooks, Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us (New York: Pantheon, 2002). Brian Scassellati did his dissertation work on Cog. See Brian Scassellati, Foundations for a Theory of Mind for a Humanoid Robot (PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2001). Scassellati and Cynthia Breazeal worked together during early stages of the Kismet project, which became the foundation of Breazeal’s dissertation work. See Cynthia Breazeal and Brian Scassellati, “How to Build Robots That Make Friends and Influence People” (paper presented at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Kyongju, Korea, October 17-21, 1999), in Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) (1999), 858-863.

That process could follow the normal teaching of a child. Things would be pointed out and named, etc.” Alan Turing, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” Mind 59, no. 236 (October 1950): 433-460. 7 This branch of artificial intelligence (sometimes called “classical AI”) attempts to explicitly represent human knowledge in a declarative form in facts and rules. For an overview of AI and its schools that explores its relations to theories of mind, see Margaret Boden, Artificial Intelligence and Natural Man (1981; New York: Basic Books, 1990). 8 Hubert Dreyfus, “Why Computers Must Have Bodies in Order to Be Intelligent,” Review of Metaphysics 21, no. 1 (September 1967): 13-32. See also Hubert Dreyfus, What Computers Can’t Do: A Critique of Artificial Reason (New York: Harper & Row, 1972); Hubert Dreyfus with Stuart E. Dreyfus and Tom Athanasiou, Mind over Machine: The Power of Human Intuition and Expertise in the Era of the Computer (New York: Free Press, 1986); Hubert Dreyfus with Stuart E.

pages: 503 words: 131,064

Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier


airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, commoditize, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K, zero-sum game

Of course—and this is important to remember—these are typical results, and there is a wide variety of behavior among individual people.23 This matches our experience in the world. Neuroscience may also help explain altruism, most recently using mirror neurons. These are neurons in our brain that fire both when we perform an action24 and when we observe someone else performing the same action. First discovered in 1992, mirror neurons are theorized to be critical in imitation and learning, language acquisition, developing a theory of mind, empathy, and a variety of other prosocial behaviors. Additionally, a large body of neuroscience research supports the notion that we are altruistic innately, even if we receive no direct benefit, because at a deep level we want to be. Studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) show that the amygdala, the primitive part of the brain associated with fear and anger, is involved in decisions about fairness and justice.

mirror neurons Giuseppe di Pellegrino, Luciano Fadiga, Leonardo Fogassi, Vittorio Gallese, and Giacomo Rizzolati (1992), “Understanding Motor Events: A Neurophysiological Study,” Experimental Brain Research, 91:176–80. Vittorio Gallese, Luciano Fadiga, Leonardo Fogassi, and Giacomo Rizzolatti (1996), “Action Recognition in the Premotor Cortex,” Brain, 119:593–609. Vittorio Gallese and Alvin Goldman (1998), “Mirror Neurons and the Simulation Theory of Mind-Reading,” Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2:493–501. altruistic innately Ernst Fehr and Simon Gächter (2002), “Altruistic Punishment in Humans,” Nature, 415:137–40. Alan G. Sanfey, James K. Rilling, Jessica A. Aronson, Leigh E Nystrom, and Jonathan D. Cohen (2003), “The Neural Basis of Economic Decision-Making in the Ultimatum Game,” Science, 300:1755–8. Tania Singer, Ben Seymour, John P. O'Doherty, Klass E.

pages: 396 words: 117,149

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos


3D printing, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Arthur Eddington, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, Black Swan, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, constrained optimization, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, future of work, global village, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, information retrieval, job automation, John Markoff, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, NP-complete, off grid, P = NP, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, planetary scale, pre–internet, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, zero-sum game

Seen in this light, the learners we interact with every day are embryonic versions of the Master Algorithm, and our task is to understand them and shape their growth to better serve our needs. In the coming decades, machine learning will affect such a broad swath of human life that one chapter of one book cannot possibly do it justice. Nevertheless, we can already see a number of recurring themes, and it’s those we’ll focus on, starting with what psychologists call theory of mind—the computer’s theory of your mind, that is. Sex, lies, and machine learning Your digital future begins with a realization: every time you interact with a computer—whether it’s your smart phone or a server thousands of miles away—you do so on two levels. The first one is getting what you want there and then: an answer to a question, a product you want to buy, a new credit card. The second level, and in the long run the most important one, is teaching the computer about you.

Alice knows that Bob has a mental model of her and seeks to shape it through her behavior. If Bob is her boss, she tries to come across as competent, loyal, and hardworking. If instead Bob is someone she’s trying to seduce, she’ll be at her most seductive. We could hardly function in society without this ability to intuit and respond to what’s on other people’s minds. The novelty in the world today is that computers, not just people, are starting to have theories of mind. Their theories are still primitive, but they’re evolving quickly, and they’re what we have to work with to get what we want—no less than with other people. And so you need a theory of the computer’s mind, and that’s what the Master Algorithm provides, after plugging in the score function (what you think the learner’s goals are, or more precisely its owner’s) and the data (what you think it knows).

pages: 476 words: 120,892

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden, Jim Al-Khalili


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, complexity theory, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Ernest Rutherford, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, New Journalism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, theory of mind, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, Zeno's paradox

In this way the cell body of each nerve cell seems to be acting like the logic gate of a computer, generating an output—whether or not it fires—based on its inputs. So, if the neuron is like a logic gate, then the brain, made up of billions of neurons, might be thought of as some kind of computer; or at least, this is the assumption of most cognitive neuroscientists who subscribe to what is called the computational theory of mind. But we are jumping too far ahead—we haven’t yet reached the brain. Our artist’s motor nerve must have received lots of neurotransmitters in its nerve–nerve junction boxes, causing it to fire. Those inputs came from upstream nerves that mostly originated in her brain. Following the chain of causation back, the heads of those nerves would have made their decisions about whether or not they fired on the basis of their many inputs, and the inputs of those inputs, and so on further and further backward through the causal chain until we reach the nerves that received input signals from the artist’s eyes, ears, nose and touch receptors, and memory centers that would have received sensory inputs from her earlier observations of live and dead bison.

clownfish, see anemonefish cockroaches collagen: biomolecule collagenase action, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 dinosaur fossil, 3.1, 9.1 role structure, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 tadpole tail, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 collagenase: enzyme, 3.1, 3.2 how it works, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 jaws, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 role, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 structure, 3.1, 3.2 tadpole tail compass, avian entanglement mechanism, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 6.1, 6.2, epl.1 magnetic sense, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.2 magnetite question radical pair reaction, 6.1, 6.2 role of light Schulten’s work Wiltschkos’ work compass, chemical, 1.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 compass, conventional compass, inclination, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.2 compass, quantum compass, radical pair, 6.1, 6.2 compass, sun, 6.1, 6.2 complexity theory computational theory of mind computers, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4 viruses Condon, Edward consciousness: binding problem, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4 emergence EM field theories explanations function hard problem ideas, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 ion channels, 8.1, 8.2 mechanics of thought Penrose-Hameroff theory quantum mechanical phenomenon, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4 sense of “self,” what is it? Copernicus Crick, Francis, 2.1, 7.1, 7.2 cryptochrome, 1.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 cryptophytes crystals aperiodic cyanobacterium cytoplasm, 2.1, 4.1 cytoskeleton Darwin, Charles: evolution theory, 1.1, 1.2, 7.1, 7.2 Lamarck’s work, 7.1, 7.2 Mendel’s work, 2.1, 7.1 natural selection, 7.1, 7.2, 9.1 on origin of life, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3 On the Origin of Species, 7.1, 7.2 Darwin, Erasmus Datta, Abhijit Davies, Paul, 1.1 Davis, Captain John decaborane decoherence: enemy of quantum behavior kept at bay, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 8.1, 8.2, 10.1, 10.2 measurement process, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 10.1 proto-self-replicator quantum computing, 8.1, 8.2 quantum waviness radical pair theory temperature, 2.1, 8.1 Delbrück, Max, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 density functional theory (DFT) Descartes, René, 2.1, 3.1, 8.1, 10.1 deuterium, 1.1, 3.1, 5.1, 7.1, 9.1 deuteron DeVault, Don, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 de Vries, Hugo dice dinosaurs: ancestry Antarctica collagen and collagenase, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 9.1, 10.1 extinction fossil, 3.1, 3.2 quantum compasses dipentine, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5 Dixson, Daniella DNA: bases, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 9.1 Cairns’s E. coli experiment chemical bond (shared proton), 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 chromosome, 2.1, 2.2, 7.1, 9.1 copying errors (mutations), 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 discovery of structure, 2.1, 2.2 double helix, 2.1, 2.2, 7.1, 9.1 emergence genetic engineering genetic information, 2.1, 7.1, 9.1 magnetoreception mitochondrial quantum mechanics, 1.1, 7.1 quantum tunneling, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 9.1 reading process, 7.1, 7.2 replication, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 9.1 sequencing technology structure, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 synthesized tautomers, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5 transcription, 7.1, 7.2 translation Vostok study DNA polymerase, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 9.1 dogs double potential energy well double-slit experiment, see two-slit experiment dualism D-Wave Dyson, Malcolm, 5.1, 5.2 E. coli, 7.1, 9.1 Einstein, Albert: E = mc2 on entanglement, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 relativity theory work, 2.1, 10.1 electron microscope, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 electrons: creation of radical pair entangled pairs, 1.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6 enzyme activity, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 7.1, 9.1, 9.2 excitons, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle measurement oxidation, 3.1, 4.1, 10.1 photoelectric effect photosynthesis primordial quantum protocell protoenzyme, 9.1, 9.2 quantized orbits quantum heat engine quantum spin, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 quantum tunneling, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 5.1, 5.2, 7.1, 9.1, 9.2, epl.1 qubits wave function wave mechanics Emlen, John Emlen, Stephen, 6.1, 6.2 Emlen funnel, 6.1, 6.2 energy: barriers, 1.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 4.1, 7.1, 9.1 concept free frequency and industry kinetic landscape, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5 light quanta quantum protocell quantum tunneling respiration, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1 sunlight, 1.1, 1.2, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 10.1 thermodynamics transport, 4.1, 4.2, 8.1, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 wave theory, 1.1, 2.1, 2.2 Engel, Greg, 1.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 10.1, 10.2 entanglement: Aspect’s experiment, 1.1, 1.2, 4.1 avian compass, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, epl.1 fast triplet reaction, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 “instantaneous action at a distance,” ion channels measurement, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1 olfactory receptor principle Penrose-Hameroff consciousness theory, 8.1, 8.2 proven quantum state, 1.1, 6.1 qubits, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 9.1 radical pairs, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 “spooky action at a distance,” 1.1, 6.1, 6.2 entrainment entropy enzymes: active sites, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 5.1 ADH, 3.1, 3.2 beliefs about, 3.1, 3.2 catalysis, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 collagenase, 1.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9 converting reactants to products, 3.1 DNA polymerase, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 9.1 electron transfer, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1 engines of life, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 7.1, 10.1 exploitation, 3.1, 3.2, 10.1 kinetic isotope effect, 3.1, 7.1, 9.1 myosin Pasteur’s work, 2.1, 3.1 photosynthesis, 4.1, 4.2 protocells, 10.1, 10.2 proto-enzyme proton transfer proton tunneling, 3.1, 3.2, 7.1, 7.2, 10.1 quantum hypothesis, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 quantum tunneling, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 7.1, 7.2 replication, 9.1, 9.2, 10.1 respiratory, 3.1, 4.1, epl.1 ribozymes, 9.1, 9.2, 10.1 RNA polymerase structure transition state theory, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 vibrations, 3.1, 10.1 Europa evening primrose evolution, 1.1, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 exciton: binary system, 4.1, 4.2 quantum coherence, 4.1, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 quantum protocell transport to reaction center, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4 exponential growth extracellular matrix, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 extremophiles FAD molecule, 6.1, 6.2 fast triplet reaction, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) protein, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 10.1 fermentation, 2.1, 3.1 Feynman, Richard: on atoms on exciton energy at MIT on nanotechnology on photosynthesis, 4.1, 4.2 on quantum computing on trees on two-slit experiment “what I can’t make, I don’t understand,” 2.1, 3.1, 10.1, 10.2 field, term flavors Fleming, Graham, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 10.1 fossils, 3.1, 3.2, 9.1 Foster, Norman Frankenstein Franklin, Rosalind free energy free radicals, 1.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 frequency Freud, Sigmund frogs, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 Fromme, Hans fruit flies: circadian sense, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 creation of mutant magnetic sense, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 sense of smell “T maze” experiment trained, 5.1, 6.1 Galen Galileo Gamow, George gas laws genes Cairns’s work copying, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 cryptochrome development of technologies, 2.1, 10.1 DNA, 2.1, 9.1 heredity, 2.1, 2.2 Mendel’s work, 2.1, 7.1 mutations, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 olfactory receptors, 5.1, 5.2 reading process, 7.1, 9.1 RNA Schrödinger’s work, 2.1, 2.2, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 Vostok sequences, 7.1, 7.2 genetic code, 7.1, 7.2, 9.1 genetic engineering genetics link with quantum mechanics, 7.1, 7.2, 10.1 genome: Cairns’s work, 7.1, 7.2 copying, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 DNA sequencing technology RNA Venter’s work, 2.1, 9.1, 10.1, 10.2 Gerlach, Gabriele, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1 Gilbert, Jim giraffes, 7.1, 7.2 Godbeer, Adam Gödel, Kurt, 8.1, 8.2 Gödelian statements, 8.1, 8.2 Goldilocks zone, 10.1, 10.2 gravity, 1.1, 2.1, 4.1n, 8.1 Great Barrier Reef Greenland, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3 Gribbins, John Gross, Jerome, 3.1, 3.2 Gurney, Ronald Haldane, J.

Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Writing Science) by Thierry Bardini


Apple II, augmented reality, Bill Duvall, conceptual framework, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Grace Hopper, hiring and firing, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, invention of hypertext, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, packet switching, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, unbiased observer, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

Actually, in the ten oral history interviews of some of the major actors of the IPTO community that I downloaded from the Charles Babbage Institute project, only a couple still mention Engelbart's contribution for more than the mouse, and several do not mention him at all. Chapter I I. In his chapter of the edited collectIon The BoundarIes of HumanIty, Allen Newell expresses dIssatIsfactIon with metaphorIcal thinking in general: "it is clearly wrong to treat science as metaphor, for the more metaphorical, the less scientific." For him, AI is about a theory of mind, and not a metaphor for the mind: it should provide organized knowledge about the mind (Newell 1991, 161-63). In his general introduction to the same collection, Morton Sosna, however, echoes AI critics who "have questioned whether AI has remained, or can or ought to remain, unmeta- phorical" (ibid., 7). Newell alludes to the relativist sociology of science-exemplified by Latour and Woolgar's Laboratory Life (I979)-and equates the "deconstruction of science" with "taking all science as metaphorical" (ibid., I60). 240 Notes to Chapter I 2.

Journal of the InstItutIon of ElectrI- cal Engineers 34: 555 -608. . 191 I. "Practical Aspects of Printing Telegraphy." Journal of the InstItutIon of ElectrIcal Engineers 47: 450 - 5 2 9. Nelson, T. H. 1990. "The Right Way to Think About Software DesIgn." In The Art of Human Computer Interface Design, edited by B. Laurel, pp. 235-43. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley. Works C,ted 271 Newell, A. 1991. "Metaphors for Mind, Theories of Mind: Should the Humanities Mind?" In The Boundaries of HumanIty: Humans, AnImals, MachInes, ed- ited by J. J. Sheehan and M. Sosna, pp. 158 -97. Berkeley: UnIversity of California Press. Newman, W. M. 1976. "Trends in Graphic Display Design." IEEE TransactIons on Computers C-25, no. 12: 1321-25. Ninke, W. H. 1965. "GraphIc I-A Remote Graphical DIsplay Console System." In ProceedIngs of the APIPS 1965 Pal/ JOInt Computer Conference, pp. 839- 46.

pages: 401 words: 119,488

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg


Air France Flight 447, Asperger Syndrome, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, digital map, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, hiring and firing, index card, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Toyota Production System, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

So just as much as they can say something sharply funny, they can also jab you with a quick, hostile (but also funny) remark….The atmosphere at SNL, although we all liked each other, could become highly competitive based on the fact that there were 10 writers and only so many sketches could go on the show, so we all did our best to write the winning sketch or make (in my case) the best short film.” 58 percent The correct answers to the quiz are upset, decisive, skeptical, and cautious. These images come from Simon Baron-Cohen et al., “Another Advanced Test of Theory of Mind: Evidence from Very High Functioning Adults with Autism or Asperger Syndrome,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 38, no. 7 (1997): 813–22. And Simon Baron-Cohen et al., “The ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ Test Revised Version: A Study with Normal Adults, and Adults with Asperger Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 42, no. 2 (2001): 241–51.

., “Evidence for a Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups,” Science 330, no. 6004 (2010): 686–88. “individuals in it” Anita Woolley and Thomas Malone, “What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women,” Harvard Business Review 89, no. 6 (2011): 32–33; Julia B. Bear and Anita Williams Woolley, “The Role of Gender in Team Collaboration and Performance,” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 36, no. 2 (2011): 146–53; David Engel et al., “Reading the Mind in the Eyes or Reading Between the Lines? Theory of Mind Predicts Collective Intelligence Equally Well Online and Face-to-Face,” PloS One 9, no. 12 (2014); Anita Williams Woolley and Nada Hashmi, “Cultivating Collective Intelligence in Online Groups,” in Handbook of Human Computation, ed. Pietro Michelucci (New York: Springer, 2013), 703–14; Heather M. Caruso and Anita Williams Woolley, “Harnessing the Power of Emergent Interdependence to Promote Diverse Team Collaboration,” Research on Managing Groups and Teams: Diversity and Groups 11 (2008): 245–66; Greg Miller, “Social Savvy Boosts the Collective Intelligence of Groups,” Science 330, no. 6000 (2010): 22; Anita Williams Woolley et al., “Using Brain-Based Measures to Compose Teams: How Individual Capabilities and Team Collaboration Strategies Jointly Shape Performance,” Social Neuroscience 2, no. 2 (2007): 96–105; Peter Gwynne, “Group Intelligence, Teamwork, and Productivity,” Research Technology Management 55, no. 2 (2012): 7.

pages: 387 words: 120,155

Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference by David Halpern


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, collaborative consumption, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, happiness index / gross national happiness, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, libertarian paternalism, light touch regulation, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, nudge unit, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, presumed consent, QR code, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Simon Kuznets, skunkworks, the built environment, theory of mind, traffic fines, World Values Survey

Probably for as long as there have been human societies, each generation has sought to shape the thinking of those who follow and vice versa. Societies based on fishing or farming need different skills and temperaments from those living in times of conflict and war. We know so much more today than even a generation ago about how the way we raise our children affects their temperament and their ability to face life’s inevitable hardships. When we praise a child for their effort, rather than their ability, we instil in them a theory of mind that success in tasks, and the mastery of skills, is something that can be acquired through focus and effort. In contrast, if our feedback keeps linking their performance to inherent ability, when they struggle in the face of difficulty they will give up instead of striving harder.21 It is now thought that such patterns of thought, and mental resilience, not only affect how well a child will go on to perform at maths or music, but also ultimately affects their attainment and subjective well-being in later life.

In essence, children who are steered towards believing that a test result is a measure of their inherent ability (‘good result: you’re a smart kid’) show less persistence and lower subsequent performance on a difficult task than children who are steered towards believing that a test result is a measure of their effort (good result: good effort). In Dweck’s words, the latter type of feedback creates a ‘growth mindset’, or a theory of mind that personal achievements come from effort,8 leading the child to try harder and not give up in the face of personal challenge. As she demonstrates, these effects are very large. More positively, they suggest very practical and specific actions that parents and teachers can take to set a child on the road to personal discovery, resilience, and seizing the opportunities when they come along.

pages: 200 words: 61,579

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal From Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson


impulse control, theory of mind

This definition includes being aware of both emotions and intentions. Beyond just sympathy, it entails correctly reading people’s interests and how their will is being directed. The highest form of empathy requires an effort of imagination, which has been called mentalization (Fonagy and Target 2008), meaning the ability to imagine that other people have their own unique minds and thought processes. Developmental psychologists refer to this as having a theory of mind. Acquiring this ability is an important developmental milestone for children. Mentalizing allows you to grasp other people’s viewpoints and overall inner experience because you realize they have a mind of their own, different from yours. Good parents are excellent at empathizing and mentalizing; their interest in their child’s mind makes the child feel seen and understood. It’s also an indispensable characteristic for leadership in business, the military, or any situation where understanding and predicting the motives of others is central.

pages: 238 words: 77,730

Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything by Stephen Baker


23andMe, AI winter, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, commoditize, computer age, Frank Gehry, information retrieval, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, job automation, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, theory of mind, thinkpad, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Human grandmasters pondered a rich set of knowledge, jewels that had been handed down through the decades—from Bobby Fischer’s use of the Sozin Variation in his 1972 match with Boris Spassky to the history of the Queen’s Gambit Denied. Flipping through scenarios at about three per second—a glacial pace for a computing machine—these grandmasters looked for a flash of inspiration, an insight, the hallmark of human intelligence. Equally important, chess players tried to read the minds of their foes. This is a human specialty, a mark of our intelligence. Cognitive scientists refer to it as “theory of mind”; children develop it at about age four. It’s what enables us to imagine what someone else is experiencing and to build large and convoluted structures based on such analysis. “I wonder what he was thinking I knew when I told him . . .” Most fiction, from Henry James to Elmore Leonard, revolves around this very human analysis, something other species—and computers—cannot even approach. (It’s also why humans make such expert liars.)

pages: 271 words: 77,448

Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin


Ada Lovelace, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Black Swan, call centre, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, deskilling,, Freestyle chess, future of work, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial cluster, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, rising living standards, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs

CHAPTER TEN You’ll recall that teams have an intelligence all their own . . . The research was in Woolley et al., op. cit. (chap. 7, n. 7). You look at thirty-six black-and-white photos of just the eye region . . . You can take the RME test at In the new experiments, group members were separated . . . David Engel, Anita Woolley, Lisa X. Jing, Christopher F. Chabris, Thomas Malone, “Theory of Mind Predicts Collective Intelligence,” Proceedings of Collective Intelligence 2014, Cambridge, Massachusetts, When researchers studied one-year-olds . . . Svetlana Lutchmaya, Simon Baron-Cohen, “Human Sex Differences in Social and Non-Social Looking Preferences at 12 Months of Age,” Infant Behavior and Development, vol. 25, no. 3, 2002, pp. 319–325.

pages: 262 words: 80,257

The Eureka Factor by John Kounios


active measures, Albert Einstein, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, deliberate practice,, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Flynn Effect, functional fixedness, Google Hangouts, impulse control, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, pattern recognition, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, theory of mind, US Airways Flight 1549, Wall-E, William of Occam

Raichle, “The Brain’s Dark Energy,” Scientific American, March 2010, 44–49. Two recent fMRI studies investigated the relationship between the default-state network and mental travel. Spreng and Grady showed how different forms of mental simulation tap the same default-state network of brain areas: R. N. Spreng and C. L. Grady, “Patterns of Brain Activity Supporting Autobiographical Memory, Prospection, and the Theory of Mind, and Their Relationship to the Default Mode Network,” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 22 (2009): 1112–23. Tamir and Mitchell extended these results, also showing stable individual differences in the predilection to think about psychologically distant, rather than near, things: D. I. Tamir and J. P. Mitchell, “The Default Network Distinguishes Construals of Proximal Versus Distal Events,” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 23 (2011): 2945–55.

pages: 239 words: 64,812

Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty by Vikram Chandra


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Apple II, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, conceptual framework, create, read, update, delete, crowdsourcing, don't repeat yourself, Donald Knuth, East Village, European colonialism, finite state, Firefox, Flash crash, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, haute couture, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, land reform, London Whale, Norman Mailer, Paul Graham, pink-collar, revision control, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supercomputer in your pocket, theory of mind, Therac-25, Turing machine, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce

For pleasure, Chiti hides herself and reveals herself. One of the ways in which we know Chiti every day is in our recognition of the reality of other people’s individual subjectivities. Because we are aware of our own freedom (svatantrya) as subjects, because we are aware of our own self-awareness, we make a guess (uha) about the freedom inherent in other subjects, outside of one’s own individuality.15 And this theory of mind, this “awareness of the others’ existence is already a partial recognition of the universal Self.” The reality of Chiti also accounts for intersubjectivity: “If several subjects appear to share a single object of perception,” Isabelle Ratié explains, it is not because this object would have an independent existence outside of consciousness, as the externalists contend; nor is it because of a perpetual accidental correspondence between various particular illusions belonging to each cognitive series, as [the Buddhist] Dharmakīrti explains … rather, it is due to the absolute freedom of the single infinite consciousness, which is able both to present itself as scattered into a multiplicity of limited subjects, and to manifest its fundamental unity in these various subjects by making them one with respect to one particular object.16 The task of the seeker after truth, then, is merely one of recognition: recognition of the nature of the limited self and of that universal self, and recognition that the individual self is Chiti, the macrocosm.

pages: 846 words: 232,630

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel C. Dennett


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, assortative mating, buy low sell high, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, finite state, Gödel, Escher, Bach, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test

Ray Jackendoff (1993) and other linguists have identified fundamental structures of spatial representation — notably designed to enhance the control of locomotion and the placement of movable things — that underlie our intuitions about concepts like beside, on, behind, and their kin. Nicholas Humphrey (1976,1983,1986) has argued that there must be a genetic predisposition for adopting the intentional stance, and Alan Leslie (1992) and others have developed evidence for this, in the form of what he calls a "theory of mind module" designed to generate second-order beliefs (beliefs about the beliefs and other mental states of others). Some autistic children seem to be well described as suffering from the disabling of this module, for which they can occasionally make interesting compensatory adjustments. (For an overview, see Baron-Cohen 1995.) So the words (and hence memes) that take up residence in a brain, like so many earlier design novelties we have considered, enhance and shape pre-existing structures, rather than generating entirely new architectures (see Sperber [in press] for a Darwinian overview of this exaptation of genetically provided functions by culturally transmitted functions).

Making mistakes for all to see, in the hopes of getting the others to help with the corrections. It has been plausibly maintained, by Nicholas Humphrey, David Premack (1986), and others, that chimpanzees are natural psychologists — what I would call second-order intentional systems, capable of adopting the intentional stance towards other things. This is not surprising if our own innate equipment includes a theory-of-mind module, as Leslie, Baron-Cohen, and others have maintained, for perhaps this is part of the endowment chimpanzees and we inherit from a common ancestor. But even if chimpanzees are, like us, innately equipped as natural psychologists, they nevertheless lack a crucial feature shared by all human natural psychologists, folk and professional varieties: they never get to compare notes. They never dispute over attributions, and ask to know the grounds for each other's conclusions.

pages: 286 words: 90,530

Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think by Alan Grafen; Mark Ridley


Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, bioinformatics, cognitive bias, computer age, conceptual framework, Dava Sobel, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, Haight Ashbury, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, loose coupling, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, phenotype, profit maximization, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

There are many intermediate cases of quasi-knowing deception in animals—the distraction displays of such low-nesting birds as piping plovers are a well-studied instance31—as well as a bounty of tempting anecdotes about the ‘Machiavellian’ intelligence of primates.32 In fact the question of whether Washoe could tell a deliberate lie is a deeply interesting theoretical question, investigated at length with another chimpanzee, Sarah, by David Premack and his colleagues, and leading to some intermittently fruitful and important research on both animals and children, the ill-named ‘theory of mind’ contro-versy.33 The transition from mindless deceit to mindful deceit is a good manifestation of a major transition in evolution—not a metaphysical or cosmic distinction, an unbridgeable chasm, but a passage, with intermediate transitional cases of deceit that may not be so mindless. Once that transition has been clearly accomplished, it opens up a whole new world of deceit (and other sophisticated behavior).

pages: 287 words: 86,919

Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway


Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, packet switching, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor

Then he added: ‘No computer is a brain, but all brains are computers.’”73 This debate is ongoing, with one camp claiming that computers will someday perfectly model the workings of the human brain and the other camp claiming that the je ne sais quoi of human thought is fundamentally different than the hard, rigid world of computer code. Yet this book has very little to say about questions epistemological. Protocol is not a theory of mind. Nor, following Jonathan Crary and Sanford Kwinter in their forward to the fascinating collection Incorporations, is protocol a theory of the body. For, as they write, “Our topic is the problem of life itself, understood as a complex, labile, overtone structure, neither dependent upon, nor reducible to, an organic substrate or historical object—in short, to what contemporary habit too knowingly calls ‘the body.’”74 Instead protocological life is considered here as “the forces—aesthetic, technical, political, sexual—with which things combine in order to form novel aggregates of pattern and behavior.”75 Indeed, protocol is a theory of the confluence of life and matter (and ultimately we will see that protocol shows how life is matter).

pages: 358 words: 95,115

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman


affirmative action, Columbine, delayed gratification, desegregation, impulse control, index card, job satisfaction, lake wobegon effect, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, theory of mind

However, Talwar has since replicated this pattern in many subsequent studies: the percentage of children who peek and those who lie remain amazingly consistent. Additionally, other scholars have since replicated her work in their own versions of the peeking game. Lying’s connection with intelligence: Talwar has found that children with more advanced executive functioning and working memory are better liars. She’s also seen relationships between children’s lying and “theory of mind”—the ability to understand and keep track of multiple people’s points of view. Children’s lying to make a parent happy: Along with Talwar’s research, Bussey’s work fleshes out this insight. When Bussey has presented children with anecdotes, and asked them to predict if the protagonist would be truthful or not, the children’s responses were in part determined by whether or not the story had said if the protagonist would be punished for a misdeed or its admission.

pages: 392 words: 104,760

Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners by Michael Erard


Asperger Syndrome, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, complexity theory, European colonialism, pattern recognition, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Skype, Steven Pinker, theory of mind

They disputed the notion that Christopher is merely a good pattern recognizer—he fails to recognize them in music and games. And he got stumped when trying to learn an artificial language with a word whose meaning depended on where it was placed in a sentence. What does this remarkable man have to do with the rest of us? To Smith and Tsimpli, his case means that language learning doesn’t require some traits we take for granted, such as good general learning abilities, average cognition, and a theory of mind. Critics suggest that the only people who would want to perform like Christopher would be those who’d be satisfied with calquing their mother tongues—even though many language learners would happily accept his memory and skills at parsing and assembling words. This shows why language learning isn’t purely a memory feat: you have to make word orders more automatic than you can consciously retrieve through, say, a mnemonic.

pages: 360 words: 110,929

Saturn's Children by Stross, Charles


augmented reality, British Empire, business process, gravity well, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, loose coupling, phenotype, Pluto: dwarf planet, Plutocrats, plutocrats, theory of mind

For a moment my view blacks out as Lindy shields my face from the searing godwheel sun, then we roll around under the impulse of a tiny thruster and I see Mercury ahead of me, a half disk now visible, burnished and shining, larger than my fists held at arm’s length. “Two hours, and we’ll be down! Whee!” Lindy squeezes. “Are you worried? Be happy! I can relax you!” On a rail. I have an archaic emulation mode in my fight/flight module. It makes me swallow, my throat dry. “Massage. Please.” Resolved: If I’m to die at a time not of my choosing, I will die happy. But Lindy’s theory of mind is too weak to model me, and so she takes me at my word. I arrive on Mercury butt first, scared witless, with my spine totally relaxed. Just as well, really. Mercury’s escape velocity is over four kilometers per second, and there’s no atmosphere to speak of. We are coming in at just over orbital velocity, without a thruster pack, and there can’t possibly be enough orbital tethers for this crowd.

pages: 317 words: 87,566

The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being by William Davies


1960s counterculture, Airbnb, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, corporate governance, dematerialisation, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gini coefficient, income inequality, intangible asset, invisible hand, joint-stock company, lifelogging, market bubble, mental accounting, nudge unit, Philip Mirowski, profit maximization, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, theory of mind, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto

Precisely because he didn’t simply presume that the physical was prior to the psychological (as Bentham did), he needed to set about testing how one related to the other. This wasn’t a theory stating whether mental processes were really driven by biological ones, or vice versa. It was the opening up of a new field of scientific enquiry, which, by the end of the nineteenth century, would be populated by psychologists, economists and a nascent industry of management consultants. The quantitative and economic psychology in which theories of mind would be replaced by scales and measures, and which Bentham had merely speculated about, was now being assembled. The idea that individual feelings and behaviour might be amenable to expert adjustment was also now a technical, mechanical possibility. A democracy of bodies In the age of the fMRI scanner, it has become increasingly common to speak of what our brains are ‘doing’, ‘wanting’ or ‘feeling’.

pages: 370 words: 94,968

The Most Human Human: What Talking With Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive by Brian Christian


4chan, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, carbon footprint, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, complexity theory, crowdsourcing, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, George Akerlof, Gödel, Escher, Bach, high net worth, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, job automation, l'esprit de l'escalier, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

Stoics placed the mind at the heart, and appear to have taken a dramatic step of severing the notion of the “soul” from the notion of life in general: for them, unlike for Plato and Aristotle, plants did not have souls. Thus, as Stoicism ascended to popularity in Greece, the soul became no longer responsible for life function in general, but specifically for its mental and psychological aspects.7 No Dogs Go to Heaven Stoicism appears to have been among the tributary philosophies that fed into Christianity, and which also led to the seminal philosophical theories of mind of René Descartes. For the monotheistic Descartes, presumably the (Platonic) notion of multiple souls crowding around was a bit unsavory (although who could deny the Christian appeal of the three-in-one-ness?), and so he looked to draw that us-and-them line using just a single soul, the soul. He went remarkably further than Aristotle, saying, in effect, that all animals besides humans don’t have any kind of soul at all.

pages: 292 words: 94,324

How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman


affirmative action, Atul Gawande, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, fear of failure, framing effect, index card, iterative process, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, pattern recognition, placebo effect, stem cell, theory of mind

The vignette told by Karen Delgado about the purple pills shows that system-wide solutions still require communication and are not default remedies for errors in care. Doctors have to keep thinking until they find the answer. Index Footnotes *I quickly realized that trying to assess how psychiatrists think was beyond my abilities. Therapy of mental illness is a huge field unto itself that encompasses various schools of thought and theories of mind. For that reason, I do not delve into psychiatry in this book. [back]

pages: 290 words: 94,968

Writing on the Wall: Social Media - the First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage


Bill Duvall, British Empire, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, New Journalism, packet switching, place-making, Republic of Letters, sexual politics, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, yellow journalism

Review of General Psychology 8, no. 2 (2004): 100–110. ———. Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997. ———. “Neocortex Size as a Constraint on Group Size in Primates.” Journal of Human Evolution 20 (1992): 469–493. ———. “The Social Brain: Mind, Language, and Society in Evolutionary Perspective.” Annual Review of Anthropology 32 (2003): 163–181. ———. “Theory of Mind and the Evolution of Language,” in Approaches to the Evolution of Language, eds. Hurford, J. R., M. Studdert-Kennedy, and C. Knight. Cambridge University Press, 1998. Edwards, C. “Epistolography,” in A Companion to Latin Literature, ed. Harrison, S. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005. Edwards, M. U. Printing, Propaganda, and Martin Luther. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. Eisenstein, E.

pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey


3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, V2 rocket, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, from a fifteenth-century manuscript called Nuremberg Chronicles. Anaxagoras lived from 510 to 428 BC and was the first philosopher to propose a natural mechanism for the cosmos and embrace the idea of pluralism or “many worlds.” Anaxagoras moved from Ionia to Athens, where he gravitated toward the center of intellectual life. The great Greek playwright Euripides incorporated Anaxagoras’s theory of mind into his tragedies, and his friend Pericles became the greatest statesman and orator of the Golden Age of Athens. Anaxagoras was prolific in his novel ideas and revolutionary theories. He believed that the Sun was a mass of molten metal much bigger than the Peloponnese peninsula, the Moon was a rock like the Earth that didn’t emit its own light, and the stars were fiery stones. He thought that the Milky Way represented the light of countless stars.

pages: 264 words: 90,379

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell


affirmative action, airport security, Albert Einstein, complexity theory, David Brooks, East Village, haute couture, Kevin Kelly, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, new economy, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, young professional

The Diallo shooting, in other words, falls into a kind of gray area, the middle ground between deliberate and accidental. Mind-reading failures are sometimes like that. They aren’t always as obvious and spectacular as other breakdowns in rapid cognition. They are subtle and complex and surprisingly common, and what happened on Wheeler Avenue is a powerful example of how mind reading works—and how it sometimes goes terribly awry. 2. The Theory of Mind Reading Much of our understanding of mind reading comes from two remarkable scientists, a teacher and his pupil: Silvan Tomkins and Paul Ekman. Tomkins was the teacher. He was born in Philadelphia at the turn of the last century, the son of a dentist from Russia. He was short and thick around the middle, with a wild mane of white hair and huge black plastic-rimmed glasses. He taught psychology at Princeton and Rutgers and was the author of Affect, Imagery, Consciousness, a four-volume work so dense that its readers were evenly divided between those who understood it and thought it was brilliant and those who did not understand it and thought it was brilliant.

pages: 271 words: 83,944

The Sellout: A Novel by Paul Beatty


affirmative action, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, desegregation, El Camino Real, haute couture, illegal immigration, Lao Tzu, late fees, mass incarceration, p-value, publish or perish, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, telemarketer, theory of mind, War on Poverty, white flight, yellow journalism

Sometimes, while I’m sharpening the plowshare and shearing the sheep, I feel like every moment of my life isn’t mine but one of his “déjà vus.” No, I don’t miss my father. I just regret that I never had the nerve to ask him if it was really true that I’d spent the sensorimotor and preoperational stages of my life with one hand tied behind my back. Talk about starting life off with a handicap. Fuck being black. Try learning to crawl, ride a tricycle, cover both eyes while playing peek-a-boo, and constructing a meaningful theory of mind, all with one hand. Four You won’t find Dickens, California, on the map, because about five years after my father died, and a year after I graduated college, it, too, perished. There was no loud send-off. Dickens didn’t go out with a bang like Nagasaki, Sodom and Gomorrah, and my dad. It was quietly removed like those towns that vanished from maps of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, atomic accident by atomic accident.

Language and Mind by Noam Chomsky


Alfred Russel Wallace, finite state, John von Neumann, pattern recognition, phenotype, theory of mind

Lenneberg, Biological Foundations of Language (New York: Wiley, 1967), for evidence bearing on this issue. 164 Language and Mind for the acquired competence, then we will have good reason to believe that Putnam’s empirical hypothesis is correct. If, on the other hand, we discover that different innate systems (whether involving schemata or heuristics) have to be postulated, then we will have good reason to believe that an adequate theory of mind will incorporate separate “faculties,” each with unique or partially unique properties. I cannot see how one can resolutely insist on one or the other conclusion in the light of the evidence now available to us. But one thing is quite clear: Putnam has no justification for his final conclusion, that “invoking ‘Innateness’ only postpones the problem of learning; it does not solve it.”12 Invoking an innate representation of universal grammar does solve the problem of learning (at least partially), in this case, if in fact it is true that this is the basis (or part of the basis) for language acquisition, as it well may be.

pages: 369 words: 90,630

Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want by Nicholas Epley


affirmative action, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Cass Sunstein, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, friendly fire, invisible hand, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, payday loans, Peter Singer: altruism, pirate software, Richard Thaler, school choice, the scientific method, theory of mind

This is a fairly intuitive explanation for anthropomorphism. Ask a friend why people might believe that God causes earthquakes or floods or other catastrophes, and you are likely to get some version of “because they don’t know any better.” The interesting point is that the explanation that remains when someone “doesn’t know any better” is one that relies on our sixth sense, using our intuitive theory of minds. This has profound implications. In one set of experiments, those who tended to reason by relying on their intuition were also more likely to report believing in the existence of a mindful god, whereas those who tended to reason more deliberately reported significantly less belief.34 Religious beliefs are intuitively compelling because minds—in this case, the mind of a god—are intuitive explanations for the behavior of almost anything.

The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations by Christopher Lasch

cuban missile crisis, delayed gratification, desegregation, feminist movement, full employment, George Santayana, impulse control, Induced demand, invisible hand, Kitchen Debate, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Norman Mailer, road to serfdom, Scientific racism, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, yellow journalism

oriented personality, 63 fun morality, 65 futurology, 215 psychoanalysis. 42; on fear of compelition, 117; on sexual pleasure, 199-200; on suicide, 200 Hemy, Jules: on abdication of authorny, 181; on culture and family, 177-8; on culture and personality. 34; on emulation, 85; on parental authority. 180 n. hero worship: and narcissistic idealization. 84-5 highereducation. 145 ff. Hill. Christopher, xvn Hill, Napoleon; on love of money, 58 gallantry; decline of, 189-90 games, 100 ff. Hiss, Alger, 79 historical time; "irrelevance" of, xiv, also see continuity, history Freud, Sigmund, xiv, 34,35 n., 36, 37, 39,41,42, 162, 179, 193; on psychic impotence, 204: structural theory of mind, 32 Friedenberg, EdgarZ.: on high schools. 182 Fromm, Erich: on individualism 31-3; on market. gamesman, 61-2. 185-6. as narcissist. 45-7 general educal ion. 145. 151 Generation of Vipers (Wylie). 204 generations; see continuity Hobbes.Thomas,49,69 Genet. Jean. 89 Hollingshead, August: on decline of exclusive attach- geriatrics. 207 gerontology. 207. 215 Gerzon. Mark: on professional intervention in family. 168 Gesell, Arnold, 161 Hoch, Paul, 104, 114; on competition, 117. on machismo. 116 Hoffman.

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, British Empire, colonial rule, dark matter, delayed gratification, demographic transition, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, phenotype, sceptred isle, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus

The legion purveyors of ackamarackus4 love a real but tricksy scientific concept that they can bolt their quackery onto. It happens with words like ‘quantum’, which offers up some magical scienceyness, none more so than in ‘quantum healing’ – an unfathomable extension of reiki, which, let’s face it, is a load of old cobblers already. The annexing of this word from fundamental physics also ranges from washing powder branding to the theory of mind. Lots of real scientific terms get borrowed for a spot of buzzword scienceyness. We see the same effect with the words ‘neuro-’ or ‘nano-’ added to almost anything. Neuromarketing, neuroentrepreneurism, neuropolitics are all new fields in which flaky science is used to put a patina of science onto a product. Due to predictable quackery, possibly embiggened by some overstatement or questionable scrutiny within science, epigenetics is threatening to become the new quantum.

pages: 339 words: 57,031

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner


1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

After profiling Bateson for Harper’s magazine in 1972, Brand introduced him to readers of CQ in 1974. In a series of articles and interviews over the next seven years, Brand presented Bateson to his readers much as he had presented Buckminster Fuller some years earlier. Brand’s Bateson was an intellectual seeker, an autodidact and polymath possessed of an orphic speaking style and a childlike curiosity. Just as his theories of mind gave CQ’s readers a way to rationalize their return to society, Bateson himself served as an emblem of a possible adulthood. Like Fuller and, for that matter, like McLuhan and Wiener, Bateson had found a way to bridge high technology and communitarian idealism and to build a flexible career around their intersection. Tak i n g t h e W h o l e E a r t h D i g i t a l [ 125 ] Moreover, he had become an emotionally whole person.

pages: 474 words: 136,787

The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley


affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, assortative mating, Atahualpa, Bonfire of the Vanities, demographic transition, double helix, Drosophila, feminist movement, invention of agriculture, Menlo Park, phenotype, rent control, theory of mind, University of East Anglia, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

The faster mankind ran – the more intelligent he became – the more he stayed in the same place, because the people over whom he sought psychological dominion were his own relatives, the descendants of the more intelligent people from previous generations. As Pinker and Bloom put it, ‘Interacting with an organism of approximately equal mental abilities whose motives are at times outright [sic] malevolent makes formidable and ever-escalating demands on cognition.’35 If Tooby and Cosmides are right about mental modules, among the modules that were selected to increase in size by this intellectual chess tournament was the ‘theory of mind’ module, the one that enables us to read each other’s thoughts, together with the means to express our own thoughts through the language modules.36 There is plenty of good evidence for this idea when you look about you. Gossip is one of the most universal of human habits. No conversation between people who know each other well – fellow employees, fellow family members, old friends – ever lingers for long on any topic other than the behaviour, ambitions, motives, frailties and affairs of other absent – or present – members of the group.

pages: 404 words: 124,705

The Village Effect: How Face-To-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter by Susan Pinker


assortative mating, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, facts on the ground, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, Occupy movement, old-boy network, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ray Oldenburg, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Pinker, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tony Hsieh, urban planning, Yogi Berra

Given that Amanda Lenhart, from the Pew Center, has shown that teens communicate more through texts than through any other medium, including in-person socializing, it is important to convey that texts don’t always do the trick. Amanda Lenhart, Teens, Smartphones & Texting (Washington, D.C.: Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2012). 54. Ted Ruffman et al., “What Mothers Say and What They Do: The Relation Between Parenting, Theory of Mind, Language and Conflict/Cooperation,” British Journal of Developmental Psychology 24 (2006). 55. Barbara Schneider and L. J. Waite, eds., Being Together, Working Apart (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). 56. B. Campos et al., “Opportunity for Interaction? A Naturalistic Observation Study of Dual-Earner Families after Work and School,” Journal of Family Psychology 23, no. 6 (2009). 7.

pages: 445 words: 129,068

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon


bioinformatics, gravity well, hiring and firing, industrial robot, life extension, theory of mind

Most of the autistic behaviors have been presented to us as deficits, not strengths. Unsocial, lacking social skills, problems with attention control… I keep coming back to that. It is hard to think from their perspective, but I have the feeling that this attention control issue is at the middle of the pattern, like a black hole at the center of a space-time whirlpool. That is something else we are supposed to be deficient in, the famous Theory of Mind. I am a little early. No one else is parked outside yet. I pull up carefully so that there is the most room possible behind me. Sometimes the others are not so careful, and then fewer people can park without inconveniencing others. I could be early every week, but that would not be fair to others. Inside, Tom and Lucia are laughing about something. When I go in, they grin at me, very relaxed.

pages: 480 words: 138,041

The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry by Gary Greenberg


Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, back-to-the-land, David Brooks, impulse control, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, late capitalism, Louis Pasteur, McMansion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, selection bias, statistical model, theory of mind, Winter of Discontent

And it was psychoanalysis that claimed that when it came to our psychological lives, the line between illness and health could be drawn by determining if the problem was the result of intrapsychic conflict, of the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves, of the truths we dance around or repress and transmute into symptoms. Spitzer hadn’t much liked the psychoanalytic training that had been required of him and most psychiatrists of his era, and he really didn’t like being an analyst. “I was uncomfortable with not knowing31 what to do with their [patients’] messiness,” he said. “I just didn’t know what the hell to do.” And it was obvious to him that Freud’s theory of mind was a poor substitute for pathological anatomy, and the complexes and resistances and defense mechanisms—the psychoanalyst’s stock-in-trade—were far too ungrounded in any kind of empirical reality to be useful. Proving the existence of ego, id, and superego was like proving the existence of the Holy Trinity. These notions were more metaphysics than physics, psychoanalysis more religion than science, and the crises of the 1960s and 1970s were the result.

pages: 532 words: 140,406

The Turing Option by Harry Harrison, Marvin Minsky


industrial robot, pattern recognition, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics, theory of mind, Turing test

He was a psychiatrist working in the 1890s, before there were any computers. When he first proposed his theories—about how the mind is made of a number of different agencies—he gave them names like id, ego, superego, censor and so on. It is understood that every normal person is constantly dealing, unconsciously, with all sorts of conflicts, contradictions, and incompatible goals. That's why I thought you might get some feedback if you were to study Freud's theories of mind." "Sounds fine to me. Let's do it now, download all the Freudian theories into my memory banks." Snaresbrook was concerned. As a scientist, she still regarded the use of the implant computer as an experimental study—but Brian had already absorbed it as a natural part of his lifestyle. No more poring over printed texts for him. Get it all into memory in an instant, then deal with it later.

pages: 478 words: 142,608

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins


Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Brownian motion, cosmological principle, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, double helix,, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, invisible hand, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, unbiased observer

Religion can be seen as a by-product of the misfiring of several of these modules, for example the modules for forming theories of other minds, for forming coalitions, and for discriminating in favour of in-group members and against strangers. Any of these could serve as the human equivalent of the moths’ celestial navigation, vulnerable to misfiring in the same kind of way as I suggested for childhood gullibility. The psychologist Paul Bloom, another advocate of the ‘religion is a by-product’ view, points out that children have a natural tendency towards a dualistic theory of mind. Religion, for him, is a by-product of such instinctive dualism. We humans, he suggests, and especially children, are natural born dualists. A dualist acknowledges a fundamental distinction between matter and mind. A monist, by contrast, believes that mind is a manifestation of matter – material in a brain or perhaps a computer – and cannot exist apart from matter. A dualist believes the mind is some kind of disembodied spirit that inhabits the body and therefore conceivably could leave the body and exist somewhere else.

pages: 397 words: 110,130

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson


3D printing, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp,, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, iterative process, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, patent troll, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, spaced repetition, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, Vannevar Bush, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize, éminence grise

Some began editing one another’s posts to remove local jargon, reasoning that foreigners wouldn’t understand the references to, for instance, New Zealand’s national rugby team: “People in America won’t know what the ‘All Blacks’ are,” one student admonished another. “They were writing for a global audience,” one local literacy researcher, Colleen Gleeson, tells me. These are acts of self-awareness that professional writers struggle with: forming a theory of mind of one’s audience, the better to communicate with it. Or as Burt adds when I interviewed her: “The blogging environment gave the students an audience that had a choice not to read. So if they do choose to read it it’s because they want to.” A year into the program, the New Zealand schools decided to expand the experiment dramatically, by finding a way to get every student a netbook. It cost each family about twelve U.S. dollars per month per student—significant, but affordable—and after three years the student would permanently own the laptop.

pages: 539 words: 139,378

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

4chan, affirmative action, Black Swan, cognitive bias, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, index card, invisible hand, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, social web, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Spirit Level, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, ultimatum game

Cosmides, and J. Tooby, eds. 1992. The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. New York: Oxford University Press. Baron, J. 1998. Judgment Misguided: Intuition and Error in Public Decision Making. New York: Oxford. ______. 2007. Thinking and Deciding. 4th ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Baron-Cohen, S. 1995. Mindblindness: An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ______. 2002. “The Extreme Male Brain Theory of Autism.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6:248–54. ______. 2009. “Autism: The Empathizing-Systemizing (E-S) Theory.” In “The Year in Cognitive Neuroscience,” special issue of Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1156:68–80. Barrett, H. C., and Kurzban, R. 2006. “Modularity in Cognition: Framing the Debate.” Psychological Review 113:628–47.

pages: 756 words: 228,797

Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller


affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, conceptual framework, greed is good, laissez-faire capitalism, Milgram experiment, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, New Journalism, open borders, price stability, profit motive, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, wage slave, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration, young professional

Therein lies the rational foundation of all knowledge, she contended in Atlas Shrugged. She especially enjoyed talking to Nathaniel about psychology. Universities then favored Freudian psychoanalysis and behaviorism. Rand furiously disagreed with both. Freudianism seemed mystical to her; behaviorism was mechanical; and both lacked respect for the human will and the conscious mind. In conversations with him, she began to articulate her own theory of mind, based on her confidence in objective reality and her reverence for reason. She started with the concept of free will, which she defined not as freedom of decision and action, the usual definition, but as “the choice to think or not to think.” Thinking is tied to survival and is volitional, she argued; unlike animals with instincts, people must make the effort to think in order to obtain a steady supply of food, build shelter, make tools—and, eventually, create skyscrapers and trains.

pages: 662 words: 180,546

Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown by Philip Mirowski


Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, constrained optimization, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, joint-stock company, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, loose coupling, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, random walk, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, sealed-bid auction, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, working poor

Quite a few perceptive historians of the NTC have worried that this Protean entity might be a little too variable to underwrite serious intellectual analysis.66 “There may therefore be a certain degree of truth in what might otherwise seem to be a sloppy and unprincipled claim, that neoliberalism has become omnipresent, but it is a complex, mediated and heterogeneous kind of omnipresence, not a state of blanket conformity. Neoliberalism has not simply diffused as a (self-) replicating system.”67 Granted, the ectoplasmic theory of mind control is usually a poor way to contemplate analysis of politics; yet the point remains that the neoliberal ground troops seem to be fully capable of recognizing kindred spirits, fostering intellectual interchange among allies, and more to the point, funding and organizing political movements with stable objectives and repetitive arguments even in the face of the global economic crisis. Here we point to bellwether phenomena to be addressed, from the demonization of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to the neutralization of financial reform at both national and international levels, the promotion of class warfare against public employees by “populist” right-wing politicians to the total control over framing the problem of global warming, from the best-sellerdom of The Road to Serfdom to the astroturfing of the Tea Party, and, most notably, the pronounced shift of public attention from the culpability of banks and hedge funds to the predominant conviction that the crisis has been attributable to governmental fiscal irresponsibility.

pages: 600 words: 174,620

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van Der Kolk M. D.


anesthesia awareness, British Empire, conceptual framework, deskilling,, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, feminist movement, impulse control, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), theory of mind, Yogi Berra

., “Self-Reflection Across Time: Cortical Midline Structures Differentiate Between Present and Past Selves,” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 3, no. 3 (2008): 244–52; Y. Ma, et al., “Sociocultural Patterning of Neural Activity During Self-Reflection,” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 9, no. 1 (2014): 73–80; R. N. Spreng, R. A. Mar, and A. S. Kim, “The Common Neural Basis of Autobiographical Memory, Prospection, Navigation, Theory of Mind, and the Default Mode: A Quantitative Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 21, no. 3 (2009): 489–510; H. D. Critchley, “The Human Cortex Responds to an Interoceptive Challenge,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101, no. 17 (2004): 6333–34; and C. Lamm, C. D. Batson, and J. Decety, “The Neural Substrate of Human Empathy: Effects of Perspective-Taking and Cognitive Appraisal,” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 19, no. 1 (2007): 42–58. 13.

The Chomsky Reader by Noam Chomsky


anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, British Empire, business climate, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, feminist movement, Howard Zinn, interchangeable parts, land reform, land tenure, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, theory of mind, Thomas L Friedman, union organizing, War on Poverty, zero-sum game, éminence grise

Physics and biology, Skinner observes, “did not advance by looking more closely at the jubilance of a falling body, or … the nature of vital spirits, and we do not need to try to discover what personalities, states of mind, feelings, traits of character, plans, purposes, intentions, or the other perquisites of autonomous man really are in order to get on with a scientific analysis of behavior”; and we must neglect “supposed mediating states of mind” (p. 15). This is true enough, if indeed there are no mediating states that can be characterized by an abstract theory of mind, and if personalities, etc., are no more real than the jubilance of a falling body. But if the factual assumptions are false, then we certainly do need to try to discover what the “perquisites of autonomous man” really are and to determine the “mediating states of mind”—at least this is so if we wish to develop a science of human behavior with any intellectual content and explanatory force.

pages: 709 words: 191,147

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg


A. Roger Ekirch, back-to-the-land, British Empire, California gold rush, colonial rule, Copley Medal, desegregation, Donald Trump, feminist movement, full employment, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, joint-stock company, land reform, land tenure, mass immigration, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration

On mothers conniving illicit liaisons for daughters and poor white women having sex with black men, see “The Low-Down People,” Putnam’s Magazine (June 1868): 704–13, esp. 705–6. On filthy refugees in boxcars, see Reid, After the War, 248; also see W. De Forest, “Drawing Bureau Rations,” Harper’s Monthly Magazine 36 (May 1868): 792–99, esp. 794, 799. On Herbert Spencer, see Robert J. Richards, Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 303–4; Spencer first used “survival of the fittest” in his Principles of Biology (London, 1864), 1:444, 455. On the popularity of Darwin and Spencer, see “The Theory of Natural Selection,” The Critic (November 26, 1859), 528–30; “Natural Selection,” [New Orleans] Daily Picayune, January 9, 1870. And for an article underscoring Darwin’s tree analogy, and that the harsh law of natural selection meant that certain branches have “decayed and dropped off,” see “Review of Darwin’s Theory of the Origins of Species by Means of Natural Selection,” American Journal of Science and the Arts (March 1860): 153–84, esp. 159. 18.

pages: 1,079 words: 321,718

Surfaces and Essences by Douglas Hofstadter, Emmanuel Sander


affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brownian motion, Chance favours the prepared mind, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Flynn Effect, Georg Cantor, Gerolamo Cardano, Golden Gate Park, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, l'esprit de l'escalier, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, place-making, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

CRAC is a cooperative team whose members represent many diverse facets of developmental psychology and get along so well that many strong friendships have come to bloom within it. And thus a big thank-you to Jean Baratgin (whose specialty is the study of reasoning), Christelle Bosc-Miné (problem-solving), Rémi Brissiaud (educational psychology), Sandra Bruno (conceptual development), Anne-Sophie Deborde (attachment), Corinne Demarcy (problem-solving), Sabine Guéraud (understanding), Caroline Guérini (theory of mind), Frank Jamet (naïve reasoning), Hélène Labat (learning to read), Annamaria Lammel (cultural psychology), Jean-Marc Meunier (knowledge representation), Sandra Nogry (conceptual development), and Carine Royer (learning to read). Emmanuel’s doctoral students, current and former, have given much to him through their dedication and the freshness and openness of their thinking. They are a hard act to follow.

pages: 1,263 words: 371,402

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois


augmented reality, clean water, computer age, cosmological constant, David Attenborough, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, financial independence, game design, gravity well, jitney, John Harrison: Longitude, Kuiper Belt, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Paul Graham, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Skype, stem cell, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, urban renewal, Wall-E

Several times, Daniel found himself rewinding history, reversing his decisions and trying a new path. Keeping every Phite variant alive was impractical, but he did retain enough information to resurrect lost species at will. The maze of AI was still a maze, but the speed of the crystal served them well. Barely eighteen months after the start of Project Sapphire, the Phites were exhibiting a basic theory of mind: their actions showed that they could deduce what others knew about the world, as distinct from what they knew themselves. Other AI researchers had spliced this kind of thing into their programs by hand, but Daniel was convinced that his version was better integrated, more robust. Human-crafted software was brittle and inflexible; his Phites had been forged in the heat of change. Daniel kept a close watch on his competitors, but nothing he saw gave him reason to doubt his approach.