If machines want to make art, will humans understand it?

Assuming that the emergence of consciousness in artificial minds is possible, those minds will feel the urge to create art. But will we be able to understand it? To answer this question, we need to consider two subquestions: when does the machine become an author of an artwork? And how can we form an understanding …

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Ancient animistic beliefs live on in our intimacy with tech

When Alexa replied to my question about the weather by tacking on ‘Have a nice day,’ I immediately shot back ‘You too,’ and then stared into space, slightly embarrassed. I also found myself spontaneously shouting words of encouragement to ‘Robbie’ my Roomba vacuum as I saw him passing down the hallway. And recently in Berkeley, …

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How Confucius loses face in China’s new surveillance regime

While conceived of and functioning differently in diverse contexts, ‘face’ describes a phenomenon that exists in every human society. Its most basic sense concerns the public presentation and perception of the self. Someone who has face possesses something of positive social value that arises from social approval of a person’s status, action or state of …

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Robogamis are the real heirs of terminators and transformers

Ask anyone what image comes to mind when you say the word ‘robot’, and there’s no doubt you’ll receive responses inspired by popular culture. For example, the liquid metal, shape-shifting T-1000 from the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991); or Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots and the main character in the Transformers (2014-) films. …

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First-Ever Wearable AI Device for Hearing Impairment – Best of Innovation CES

credit: cover photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash   First-Ever Wearable AI Device for Hearing ImpairmentWins CES 2020 Best of Innovation Award   OrCam Hear combines lip reading with simultaneous voice source separation  OrCam Technologies, a leader in personal, AI-driven innovations, will preview its breakthrough assistive technology device for hearing impairment – the wearable OrCam Hear – at the 2020 …

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Photo by Getty Images

Cheers! How the physics of fizz contributes to human happiness

Cover Photo by Getty Images Think of the last time you had something to celebrate. If you toasted the happy occasion, your drink was probably alcoholic – and bubbly. Have you ever wondered why it’s so enjoyable to imbibe a glass of something that sets off a series of microexplosions in your mouth? A glass …

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How do you teach a car that a snowman won’t walk across the road?

Picture yourself driving down a city street. You go around a curve, and suddenly see something in the middle of the road ahead. What should you do? Of course, the answer depends on what that ‘something’ is. A torn paper bag, a lost shoe, or a tumbleweed? You can drive right over it without a …

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Exploring the Astronomical Universe Within Us — Reflections from a Two-Day Tour of The Impossibly Magnificent Brain and The Unfathomable Mind

A Recap of BrainMind Summit — Stanford 2019 by: Karina Mendoza . . . “I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.” ― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone, in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, 1921 “It is essential to understand our brains in some detail if we are to …

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We have the tools and technology to work less and live better

In 1930, a year into the Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes sat down to write about the economic possibilities of his grandchildren. Despite widespread gloom as the global economic order fell to its knees, the British economist remained upbeat, saying that the ‘prevailing world depression … blind[s] us to what is going on under the …

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How Leonardo da Vinci made a living from killing machines

How Leonardo da Vinci made a living from killing machines Leonardo da Vinci, Study of Two Warriors Heads for the Battle of Anghiari, c. 1504-5. Black chalk or charcoal, some traces of red chalk on paper. Google Art Project. Wikimedia Commons. Susan Broomhall, University of Western Australia and Joy Damousi, University of Melbourne On the …

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