Category: Current

You can't teach an old dog (or your brain) new tricks: why learning is hard

You can’t teach an old dog (or your brain) new tricks: why learning is hard

VIDEO EXPLAINER/ ARTICLE: The hallmark of intelligence is the ability to learn new tasks. How does the human brain go about the task? The human brain, remarkable as it is, does not go about the task of learning in a very efficient manner. It uses a highly inefficient approach called "Reassociation." We appear to  learn new tasks simply by repeating the original neural activity patterns and swapping their assignments. Although "quick and dirty" it's not the best way to learn. SOURCE: Quanta ...
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The best and the worst ways to argue: 7 levels

The best and the worst ways to argue: 7 levels

INFOGRAPHIC: Disagreement is a far more common form of response to statements and arguments. Agreeing tends to motivate people less than disagreeing; when you agree there's less to say. When we disagree, we should be careful to do it well. Most of us can tell the difference between crude name-calling and a carefully reasoned refutation, but it would help to put labels on the intermediate stages. Here's an outline for a disagreement hierarchy based on 2 elements: the quality of the statement(s) used and the underlying emotion that accompanies the disagreement. SOURCE: Paul Graham ...
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A "global useless class": the future as seen by Yuval Noah Harari

A “global useless class”: the future as seen by Yuval Noah Harari

VIDEO: Just as the Industrial Revolution created the working class, automation could create a “global useless class,” and the political and social history of the coming decades will revolve around the hopes and fears of this new class. The combination of biotech and I.T. might reach a point where it creates systems and algorithms that understand us better than we understand ourselves. The problem is understanding the “extremely complicated chains of cause and effect” in the world. “Time is accelerating,”. The long term may no longer be defined in centuries or millenniums — but in terms of 20 years. “My fear is that homo sapiens are not just up to it. We have created such a complicated world that we’re no longer able to make sense of what is happening.” SOURCE: The New York Times ...
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Talk to Books: A Google tool for browsing passages from books using AI

Talk to Books: A Google tool for browsing passages from books using AI

UTILITY: Type in a question or a statement, the model looks at every sentence in over 100,000 books to find the responses that would most likely come next in a conversation.  Although it has a search box, its objectives and underlying technology are fundamentally different than those of a more traditional search experience. It enables an AI to find statements that look like probable responses to your input rather than a finely polished tool that would take into account the wide range of standard quality signals. Talk to Books is more of a creative tool than a way to find specific answers. You may need to play around with it to get the most out of it. SOURCE: Talk to Books ...
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Machine learning’s ‘amazing’ ability to predict chaos

Machine learning’s ‘amazing’ ability to predict chaos

LONG ARTICLE FOR HARDCORE READERS: The pioneers of chaos theory discovered that the “butterfly effect” makes long-term prediction impossible. Even the smallest perturbation to a complex system (like the weather, the economy or just about anything else) can touch off a chain of events that leads to a dramatically divergent future. In a series of results, scientists have used machine learning to predict the future evolution of chaotic systems out to stunningly distant horizons. The approach is being lauded by outside experts as groundbreaking and likely to find wide application. (Read this article against the backdrop of the video with Yuval Noah Harari) SOURCE: Quanta ...
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How to stop someone from talking incessantly

How to stop someone from talking incessantly

INFOGRAPHIC/ VIDEO: Some people love to hear themselves talk so much that, try as you might, you can’t get a word in edgewise. One part art of the problem is that you’re waiting for them to pass the baton to you: they’re simply not going to do it. You don’t have to interrupt them; you can use your body language and shut them up with non-verbal cues . SOURCE: YouTube via Lifehacker ...
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To eliminate waste, we need to rediscover thrift

To eliminate waste, we need to rediscover thrift

VIDEO: There's no such thing as throwing something away -- when you toss a used food container, broken toy or old pair of socks into the trash, those things inevitably end up in ever-growing landfills. But we can get smarter about the way we make, and remake, our products. This video shares exciting examples of thrift -- the idea of using and reusing what you need so you don't have to purchase anything new -- as well as advances in material science, like electronics made of nanocellulose and enzymes that can help make plastic infinitely recyclable. SOURCE: TED ...
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How the progress bar on your computer screen keeps you sane

How the progress bar on your computer screen keeps you sane

VIDEO: A lot of time spent on the computer involves waiting -- for programmes to load, files to save and so on. The progress bar is our constant companion during these periods. We hardly ever give a thought to the progress bar. This delightful video tells you that there is a lot more behind this humble utility. The video traces the evolution of the device and the psychology that lies behind it. SOURCE: TED ...
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