I recently finished reading The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil.  Ray predicts that human culture will be unrecognizably transformed by exponential technological paradigm shifts.  He talks about a lot of surprising research that is happening right now such as accurate modeling of parts of the brain, functioning medical nanobots, and evolutionary algorithms designing jet engines.  He builds a thoughtful and logical case that Genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics (strong A.I.) will combine to make virtual reality indistinguishable from reality, destroy scarcity economics, allow humans to “live” forever and so much more.  Sign me up!

I am also struggling through The Secret History of the World (as Laid Down by the Secret Societies) by Mark Booth.  I’ll call it a rambling description of the “esoteric tradition” (worldview of freemasonry, skull and bones, etc.) as told by an informed outsider.  The history described is really a pan-mythological mash-up that reads as though every world religion was combined and passed down through oral tradition.  It shows us a world in which matter slowly hardens over time, humans have a vegetable essence, and pineal glands once protruded from our heads like unicorn horns allowing man to interact with Gods and spirits.  Blah.

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Compassion

June 9, 2008

I had a breakthrough concerning compassion today.  I have been telling G that she needs to value compassion.  She has always claimed that she considered compassion to be a sign of intelligence.  Nonetheless, I have doubted this and thought that intelligence had a more technical definition like the ability to predict the future ala Jeff Hawkins.  But now I think that Compassion is a type of intelligence relating to causality.  Compassion is aided by the ability to imagine the causes of behavior that hurt or annoy us.  Thus, instead of visualizing the future, compassionate intelligence might help us to visualize the past (and really the present) reality of others.

I learned about dual N-back tasks the other day which have been shown to increase fluid intelligence (gF).
This site describes it well, and has an entry level test (only dual tests increase IQ):
http://dual-n-back.com/

This site is the best online site (close to the original protocol):
http://www.soakyourhead.com/N-Back.aspx

Here is an open source download:
http://pithyless.com/blog/2008/05/18/hback-haskell-n-back-memory-game/

If you read the study, it’s interesting to note that it doesn’t matter how high you N value is.

I missed the Bay Area Artificial Intelligence Meetup Group because I overslept.  However, I watched some of the video by the CYC guy anyway and I look forward to the next meetup.  In the meantime I signed up for the SF New Tech Meetup which might be fun…

We went to Chabot Science Center last night to see a planetarium show.  G left early, but I liked it.  I want to look at more astronomy stuff in relation to the crazy focus of the esoteric tradition.  Microsoft has a free astronomy tool:
http://worldwidetelescope.org/  The lines at the telescopes were too long to get in.  I missed my chance to see if saturn really was only white through a telescope.