Tag Archives: pseudoscience

Some Notes for Thursday

Couple random items from around the web for you this morning:

First, a short Obama ad about a summertime reprieve from the gas tax, with a good point:

Second, I do enjoy lists. New Scientist offers a list of the Top Ten Fictional Scientists in popular culture.

Finally, it’s exciting that Kyle and Robin will be headed to Thailand next month to pick up Thanu, but I’m a little conflicted on their plans for conditioning him to accept the reality of the coming robot menace. I guess it will be up to MY children to lead the resistance.
Thanu's robot overlords
And a PS, not from the webs, but from the real world– today is Grandma’s birthday. She is 77!

An All-Too-Rare Occurance

I was thinking about the difference between the real world and a virtual one, like the online game “2nd Life“. I thought about how one might look at the “life” in the game to be a sort of cheating– for example, if your avatar could (relatively) quickly and easily gain a set of skills that you don’t have in real life, just by interacting with your PC. Maybe you can easily learn how to play the guitar in 2nd Life, even if you don’t in your real life.

This got me to thinking about the nature of knowledge and the act of creating it. If you think of knowledge as something with a static existence– a thing that does not necessarily require a human brain to possess it, but more just in terms of the electrical impulses and combinations of proteins that create thought– those things should, theoretically, be able to be extracted and contained in some other sort of medium. Right?

So, if knowledge exists, then teaching and learning is (again, theoretically) a big waste of time, because you’re re-creating knowledge that has already been created before. If you could keep a store of that knowledge, and just “upload” it into a person’s consciousness, you’d think we could advance as a species a lot faster, because everyone would start with the sum total of human knowledge that exists at the moment they receive the upload.

Even better, what if (scary-Borg-stuff) knowledge could be disseminated not as a “file” that gets posted into a person’s brain, but what if we networked everyone’s brains together? If we had on-demand access to all the knowledge that is being created all the time? Think how quickly we would advance THEN.

This is somewhat like the shit that’s in my very-hard-to-read book about The Singularity. That Kurtzweil is one brainy mofo.