Thursday, May 23, 2013

Laughing at our Losses

As Prof. Michael Saler observes in a recent book review, Silicon Valley is the seedbed of a 21st-century ideology that's more readily mocked than negated. In To Save Everything, Click Here, Evgeny Morozov, dubbed by Saler today's H.L.Mencken, punctures the cyber-sect's banal platitudes in the most hard-hitting and sardonic critique published to date.

Laughter is often the last freedom of the vanquished, but considering the stakes at hand, it is no time for defeatism for defenders of a more human and humane culture. As a college basketball coach might urge his players, read and react!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rolling the Dice on Artificial Intelligence

In 2009, Henry Markram boldly proposed to create a computer replica of the human brain within a decade. Fellow neuroscientist Haim Sompolinsky at Hebrew University of Jerusalem calls the idea a fantasy. Will Markram succeed in replicating human consciousness, a challenge that has stymied researchers in Artificial Intelligence? At a time when austerity is being imposed at dire human cost across Europe, the European Union is betting $1.3 billion on it, while the United States contemplates it own multibillion-dollar project.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lethal Loneliness

"The problem is not that I am single and likely to stay single," confided Charlotte Bronte, "it is that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely." Psychoanalyst Frieda Fromm-Reichmann is best known ― or rather unknown as the "Dr. Fried" of  an erstwhile patient's autobiographical I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Her thoughts on The Science of Loneliness merit our consideration in an age in which we increasingly occupy ourselves with trivial pursuits to escape our essential loneliness.