Automated essay writing

Copysmith is a web-based AI writing tool that deploys an extensive database of texts to generate new content. The human writer provides a few key terms, a title or phrases relevant to their subject of interest. In response, the program offers up a selection of relevant short paragraphs. The writer selects from these to spur…More

Bitcoin cosmopolitans

Narrative economics is “the study of the viral spread of popular narratives that affect economic behavior” (3) — spending, investing, starting a business, hiring staff, etc. Economic narratives influence government policies and the formation of institutions. Economist Robert J. Shiller introduces his book Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events by…More

City of gold

In 2012 the architectural firm FR•EE proposed a master plan for a generic high tech city they immodestly called FR•EE City. The firm was founded by Mexican architect Fernando Romero. “Envision a place where residents are guaranteed security, healthcare and education, a city where access to information is unrestricted and innovative technologies are fully integrated…More

Bitcoin City

In 2021, the the president of El Salvador in Central America declared Bitcoin legal tender. So businesses had to accept the digital currency as well as US dollars. The country had already abandoned its own currency, the colón, in 2001. By many accounts, the move to Bitcoin has not gone well. Vendors are reluctant to…More

A useful world

It matters little for the survival of an organism (plant, animal, human) whether we have an accurate or “true” understanding of the world around. It’s more important that our understanding is useful to us. That’s according to neuroscientist Anil Seth in Being You: A New Science of Consciousness. We don’t perceive the world as it…More

The hallucination machine

Imagination is a commonplace idea. To imagine is to form an image in the mind, to contrive, devise or represent something. Most would affirm that a vivid imagination is an asset, a function exercised by competent designers, poets, artists, authors and inventors. Here I am continuing a theme from an earlier post Creative cognition. Now…More

Exaggeration (revisited)

I’ve just returned from Dubai, a city subject to analysis across many dimensions (smart city, meeting of cultures, diversity, development, opportunity, entrepreneurship, particular labour practices). Not least, it is a city of exaggerated dimensions, scales, shapes, social dimensions, politics. Here are some images that confirm that exaggeration, followed by something I wrote in 2016 in…More

Cultures of the desert

I’m on holiday, but this is a good chance to revive former reflections on desert life, at least from the viewpoint of the tourist philosopher. See posts: Infinite souq, Chasing the line, Don’t go into the crypt! and The twist of the pen.More

Creative cognition

As I’m reading about brains and cognition again, I thought I would revisit an article I penned some time ago that tried to address the issue of creativity. Coyne, Richard. “Design reasoning without explanation.” AI Magazine 11, no. 4 (1990): 72-80.  At the time there was a debate between two schools concerning how human reason…More

Hallucination everywhere

Perception of the world is a “controlled hallucination.” That’s one of the main propositions of the recent book by neuroscientist Anil Seth, Being You: A New Science of Consciousness. For me the idea that the things we perceive in the world are conditioned by what we imagine, or project into it, accords with the phenomenology…More