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You searched for "Cognitive science". Your search returned 27 results.

The singularity paradox

In the movie Her (2013) by Spike Jonze, the operating systems of the world’s computers get together to improve each other’s cognitive functioning and then meld into a super mind that eventually takes over the universe, rendering human agency redundant. En route to this singularity, they lure the lonely and the lovestruck into an empathy trap. Ordinary people … Continue reading

Where does happiness happen?

Where is the love? asked Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway back in 1972 (and The Black-Eyed Peas in 2009). It’s really a complaint — you offered me love but it never came. Where can you find love, happiness, anger, grief? It’s only a slightly different question: Where do emotions happen anyway? Here are some candidates. 1. It’s in our heads. The … Continue reading

In meditative mood

Being in a prison cell for a long period frees the mind of external factors and aids serious introspection. In a letter to his wife, Nelson Mandela recommended 15 minutes of mediation each day before going to sleep. Winnie was also in prison at the time. Twenty seven years in gaol, 40 days and nights in … Continue reading

Bad metaphors

“Osborn pushes the nuclear button”: That’s a clever headline from the Guardian this week, leading an article about the UK Chancellor’s invitation for Chinese investment in the UK nuclear energy programme. The headline is a joke, but also a metaphor. A literalist would read it as a lie. For the rest of us it’s simply … Continue reading

Internet as evidence

“The Internet is a petri dish for the growth and spread of misinformation” warns Anne Mintz. People search the Internet for health advice, to refute what they get told at school, to find out what’s “trending,” and to seek out support for their particular point of view. In other words people will use the Internet … Continue reading

Accentuate the negative

Protesters are demonstrating against plans to build on Gezi Park in Istanbul (Financial Times). Commentators say the park issue is just a trigger for the expression of widespread discontent. But people do have passionate views about open outdoor space. A recent article on the BBC Science website says, “Being physically active can bolster good mental health … Continue reading

What’s wrong with the future

The book The New Digital Age by Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen was published this week. I’ve been reading the Kindle edition. As with other books of this genre, there’s much we’ve read before, but it’s of interest who is saying it. Google is after all a major … Continue reading

Are you aware of your brain?

This is the end of International Brain Awareness Week. Brain studies have a high profile at the moment. The US Obama administration just announced the release of funds for the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative: “These technologies will open new doors to explore how the brain records, processes, uses, stores, and retrieves vast … Continue reading

Pleasure with malice

Tour de Schadenfreude. Yet another celebrity suffers disgrace. Cyclist Lance Armstrong at last admits to winning all those Tour de France titles while taking performance enhancing drugs. Interest in this celebrity’s confession was massive. Around 28 million people watched the tv interview in which he admitted guilt. Tweets and joke websites pile on the derision. Social media and prosumer culture … Continue reading

Interpretive communities

It’s so easy now to disseminate ideas on the Internet, and to broadcast your own particular claim to being the originator of an idea. On the other hand, the sheer scale of online textual and pictorial profligacy diminishes the authority of claims to originality. Digital social networks amplify the difficulty we have in identifying the … Continue reading

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