Killing humans. By analyzing rocks. [Brake that rock!]

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University of California, Berkeley neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response to a perception.

Recording the electrical activity of neurons directly from the surface of the brain, the scientists found that for a simple task, such as repeating a word presented visually or aurally, the visual and auditory cortexes reacted first to perceive the word. The prefrontal cortex then kicked in to interpret the meaning, followed by activation of the motor cortex in preparation for a response. During the half-second between stimulus and response, the prefrontal cortex remained active to coordinate all the other brain areas. (1)

In another research, scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted – revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life. Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, captured images of molecular machinery called RNA Polymerase III in the act of transcribing a gene in exquisite and unprecedented detail. (2)

We apply human-related words to lifeless matter and we believe that this actually means something. The cortex “reacts”, the cortex “interprets”, the cortex “prepares a response”, cells “read” the DNA…

We have created a universe with no humans inside, where only “objects” exist. And then we have given to these objects life. We have not only excommunicated our soul from the universe. We have trapped it inside rocks…

The only way out is to break that rock.

To analyze everything and see for ourselves.

To search deep inside until we see everything.

And only then will we see…

That we are inside that rock…

New neural networks. Predicting. Machines. Humans. (From wisdom to knowledge to data)

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A new type of neural network made with memristors can dramatically improve the efficiency of teaching machines to think like humans. The network, called a reservoir computing system, could predict words before they are said during conversation, and help predict future outcomes based on the present.

Memristors are a special type of resistive device that can both perform logic and store data and require less space and can be integrated more easily into existing silicon-based electronics. This contrasts with typical computer systems, where processors perform logic separate from memory modules.

Reservoir computing systems built with memristors, can skip most of the expensive training process and still provide the network the capability to remember. This is because the most critical component of the system – the reservoir – does not require training.

When a set of data is inputted into the reservoir, the reservoir identifies important time-related features of the data, and hands it off in a simpler format to a second network. This second network then only needs training like simpler neural networks, changing weights of the features and outputs that the first network passed on until it achieves an acceptable level of error.

Reservoir computing systems are especially adept at handling data that varies with time, like a stream of data or words, or a function depending on past results. “We can make predictions on natural spoken language, so you don’t even have to say the full word […] We could actually predict what you plan to say next”, claim the scientists. “It could also predict and generate an output signal even if the input stopped” researchers explained. (1)

We like predicting.

But we are not who we are because we predict.

But because we do not.

We like understanding.

But we are not who we are because we understand.

But because we do not.

We believe that predicting based on data means something.

But it does not.

Humans used to be wise.

And then they replaced wisdom with knowledge.

Humans used to have knowledge.

And then they replaced knowledge with data.

At the end the computers will predict all words.

But there will be no one left to understand them…

“To be or not to…”

Yes!

The computer will predict the word.

But it will mean nothing at all…

Satellites, photos, Earth, humans.

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The WorldView-3 satellite, which launched on August 13, has sent back its first images.

The new satellite can see to a resolution of 31 centimeters. That means each pixel of the camera captures one square foot of land, which is sharp enough to see home plate at Yankee Stadium, to map crops by pattern and type, to identify the type and speed of cars and trucks, and measure population density, all from 383 miles above the Earth’s surface.

WV-3 isn’t the sharpest satellite ever–some military satellites have a resolution of 15 to 20 centimeters–but it does have the highest resolution of any commercial satellite in the world. (The previous record-holder, GeoEye-1, had a resolution of 46 centimeters.) (1)

Nice someone might say.

But also creepy, Heidegger would add.

This is what is disturbing with technology: The fact that it WORKS! (see his last interview at Spiegel)

See the Earth from a distance.

And you will see no humans.

We drift away from our home.

And we celebrate like brats…

PS. And no, I am not against space exploration. This is just a comment for how modern technology dehumanizes everything… (a small note for those who may read my post superficially)

Science and the New Dark Ages…

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Just in case you were looking for some ideas for your next dystopian novel… in a new feature, the BBC reports on ideas for combating anthropogenic climate change by engineering humans to use less resources.

How about giving people patches that would make them allergic to meat? As someone who is intolerant to alcohol, I can confirm this should dramatically cut people’s meat consumption. Or how about cutting people’s height by 25 percent? That should reduce how much food they eat and how much energy they need to get around.

Nobody is seriously considering these options, but they’re interesting conversation-starters. And anyway, societies have historically implemented “human engineering” to save their resources. The BBC points to China’s one-child policy as an example. (1)

But all serious things start as a joke.
All dark ages begin with a pointless idea.
Darkness is coming.
We are just too dazzled to see it…
The light of science impresses us.
And we are not realizing that it is slowly burning our eyes…

Seek ethics.
Seek goodness.
Seek not… “science”!

Wikipedia, robot writers, void era…

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You might think writing 10,000 articles per day would be impossible. But not for a Swede named Sverker Johansson. He created a computer program that has written a total of 2.7 million articles, making Johansson the most prolific author, by far, on the “internet’s encyclopedia.” His contributions account for 8.5 percent of the articles on Wikipedia, the Wall Street Journal reports.

But how can a bot write so many articles, and do it coherently? As Johansson–a science teacher with degrees in linguistics, civil engineering, economics and particle physics–explained to the WSJ, the bot scrapes information from various trusted sources, and then cobbles that material together, typically into a very short entry, or “stub.”

Several long-time members of Wikipedia are not happy that so many articles are being written by non-humans. But Johansson defends his bot, pointing out that the articles it writes are accurate (although there have been some glitches that he claims have been corrected), and can very useful. For example, Lsjbot wrote a stub about the town of Basey, in the Philippines. When Typhoon Yolanda hit the town, causing deaths, people were able to visit this stub and find out more about the town and its location. (1)

What a void era we live in.
We believe we are civilized when we are anything but.

We have stopped reading.
So we don’t care who writes.

We have “encyclopedias”, but we do not have pedia (Gr. παιδεία).
And no, you will not find an explanation for that in Wikipedia…