Show 479: Consciousness and the Social Brain

Consciousness and the Social Brain w/ Michael Graziano

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What is consciousness and how can a brain, a mere collection of neurons, create it? The human brain has evolved a complex circuitry that allows it to be socially intelligent. This social machinery has only just begun to be studied in detail. One function of this circuitry is to attribute awareness to others: to compute that person Y is aware of thing X. Can the machinery that attributes awareness to others also attribute it to one’s self? If we were to damage that machinery, therefore, would we disrupt our own awareness? We will discuss the science, the evidence, the philosophy, and the surprising implications of this new theory with its presenter, Dr. Michael Graziano.

Show 369: “The Singularity (Summit) is Near; Should we be Afraid?”

“The Singularity (Summit) is Near; Should we be Afraid?”

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On October 15th and 16 the Singularity Institute will convene in Manhattan at the ’92nd Street Y’ for a second NYC Singularity Summit. The annual Singularity summits began in 2006 and the first one held in New York City in 2009 was attended by hundreds of the world’s most intelligent and visionary people.

The Singularity Summit is the premier dialog on the “(Technological) Singularity” – the name given to a point in the not-so-distant future when artificially engineered intelligence will surpass the intelligence of humans.

A common belief about such an event is that it is fraught with danger for the human species. But when we think about the future of highly developed AI, is the scenario popularized in such sci-fi classics as “The Terminator’ and ‘The Matrix’ series really something we should expect? Might it be possible that such an event may instead facilitate the realization of humanity’s collective dream of a world free from scarcity, drudgery, sickness, and suffering?

To help us sought out these other related questions and we will be joined by scholar of futurism, and producer of the “Changesurfer Radio” podcast, Dr. James Hughes. And to tell us about the upcoming Singularity Summit we will also be joined by Singularity Institute President, Michael Vassar. So take your seats because the singularity (summit) will soon be here.

Show 281: Futurist, John Smart

Futurist, John Smart of the Acceleration Studies Foundation

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The world of the near future will bring challenges that are much stranger and far more disruptive than keeping your flying car from drifting out of its lane.

Casting off the limitations of traditional religious and cynical attitudes about humankind going to hell in a hand basket, it becomes possible to imagine a radically different future that may be highly desirable. That a happy future for humankind is possible, and that we need to begin preparing for, and ensuring the realization of such a future is the key concept with which all futurists are concerned.

On this installment of Equal Time for Freethought we consider our future with one of the preeminent futurists of our time John Smart.

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