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When Good People Do Bad (And Why)

You might wonder how people who seem so good by occupation could be so bad in private. The theory of moral licensing could help explain why: When humans are good, it says, we give ourselves license to be bad. – Nautilus
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.05.19


Will AI Ever Be Artists? Be Creative? Produce Art? A Philosopher Argues No

“Human creative achievement, because of the way it is socially embedded, will not succumb to advances in artificial intelligence. To say otherwise is to misunderstand both what human beings are and what our creativity amounts to.” – MIT Technology Review
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.21.19


Machines Can Now Write Compelling Fake Stories. Soon We Won’t Be Able To Tell What’s Real

Jack Clark says it may not be long before AI can reliably produce fake stories, bogus tweets, or duplicitous comments that are even more convincing. “It’s very clear that if this technology matures—and I’d give it one or two years—it could be used for disinformation or propaganda,” he says. “We’re trying to get ahead of this.” – MIT Technology Review
Tags: Art, Ideas, Jack Clark, 02.14.19


The Inconveniences Of Truth In A Non-Objective Age

Scepticism about common-sense things has been on the agenda of philosophers for centuries, but only as a plaything confined to the study. It does not spill into everyday life. So, what on earth do people mean when they say we are living in a “post-truth” world? – New Statesman
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.18.19


Cultural Objects Versus Immigrants – A Disconnect

“Since the independence of West African countries throughout the late 1950s and early ’60s, the retention of objects and the simultaneous rejection of people has become ever more fraught. Young undocumented migrants from former French colonies stand metres away from the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, a museum in Paris full of their inaccessible patrimony. The migrants are treated with contempt while the objects from their homelands are cared for in museums and treated with great reveren...
Tags: Art, Ideas, Paris, SJ, Jacques Chirac, 02.20.19


How Leaders Bend History For Their Own Purposes

The past is once more being bent to suit present purposes in the hope of ushering in something that may one day look as bizarre as anything in this history of “past futures”.  – New Statesman
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.13.19


The Challenges Of Trying To Define “Cool”

What exactly is ‘intellectual cool’? For a start, although it includes intellectual trends, or what we sometimes call ‘fashions,’ it obviously is not just this. And here we run up against a very difficult problem – what we call ‘cool’ never describes itself, never declares itself, and never advises who it will be visiting next. People who write about Spinoza will never say they’re doing so because he’s really cool at the moment. Equally, ask a hipster who they hate the most and they will say, ...
Tags: Art, Ideas, Sydney, Spinoza, 02.07.19


Being Lost Can Be Terrifying And Disorienting. Or It Can Open Your Mind

Lostness has always been an enigmatic and many-sided state, always riven with unexpected potencies. Across history, all varieties of artists, philosophers, and scientists have celebrated disorientation as an engine of discovery and creativity, both in the sense of straying from a physical path, but also in swerving away from the familiar, turning in to the unknown. – The Atlantic
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.21.19


Philosophy Need Not Be Dense And Unreadable, Does It?

Most people do not realise that Aristotle wrote works designed for the general public. If they did, then perhaps more philosophers would automatically assume that they needed to follow his example.  – Aeon
Tags: Art, Ideas, Aristotle, 02.20.19


Forget Living Your Best Life — Here’s An Argument For Living The Good-Enough Life

Western philosophers from Aristotle to Kant to Marx to Ayn Rand (okay, bear with us here) may have differed on what constitutes greatness, but all of them held it as an ideal. Avram Albert argues for a different goal, one espoused by Buddhist thinkers and Romantics (and which we might call the Lake Wobegon ideal): good enough. And even that is difficult. – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Ideas, Aristotle, Marx, Buddhist, Lake Wobegon, Kant, 02.20.19, Good Enough Life, Avram Albert


What If We’re Trying To Find The Theory Of Everything In The Wrong Places?

“The ascension to the tenth level of intellectual heaven would be if we find the question to which the universe is the answer, and the nature of that question in and of itself explains why it was possible to describe it in so many different ways.” It’s as though physics has been turned inside out. It now appears that the answers already surround us. It’s the question we don’t know. – The New Yorker
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.19.19


Here’s A Good Primer On The Challenges (And Accomplishments So Far) Of Artificial Intelligence

In his masterpiece, “The Lady of Shalott”, Alfred Tennyson describes a character from the Arthurian legend who is cursed to remain in a tower, looking at the world only through a mirror, and weaving the “mirror’s magic sights” into her web. AI today is, it seems, in its Lady of Shalott stage, trying to weave four-dimensional reality into a two-dimensional web by looking into the dim, distorting, and often deceptive mirror of data. – 3 Quarks Daily
Tags: Art, Ideas, Alfred Tennyson, 02.18.19


Fakes Everywhere – It’s Just About Impossible Now To Figure Out What’s Real

Fakery is gushing in from everywhere and we’re drowning in it. “Deepfake” videos mash up one person’s body with someone else’s face. Easy-to-use software can generate audio or video of a person saying things they never actually uttered. Even easier? Fake clicks, fake social media followers, fake statistics, fake reviews. A gaggle of bots can create the impression that there’s a lot of interest in a topic, to sway public opinion or to drive purchases. It is even a breeze to create a fake newspap...
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.18.19


Stop For A Moment To Appreciate How Much We Depend On Standards

The basic irony of standards is the simple fact that there is no standard way to create a standard, nor is there even a standard definition of “standard.” There are, however, longstanding ways that industries and nations coordinate standardization efforts. In the United States, the system of voluntary consensus standards is coordinated by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute. – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Ideas, United States, ANSI, 02.17.19


When Science Became Stories (Surprise – It Got Popular)

“That professionalization process had the effect of setting up boundaries between ‘scientists’ and anyone else who might be interested in science, so it led to the exclusion of a whole bunch of people from formal scientific activity. Arguably, popular science created its own demise by making science too popular and too successful.” – Smithsonian
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.13.19


Study Suggests That Small Teams Of Scientists Are More Innovative Than Large Ones

In the largest analysis of the issue thus far, investigators have found that the smaller the research team working on a problem, the more likely it was to generate innovative solutions. Large consortiums are still important drivers of progress, but they are best suited to confirming or consolidating novel findings, rather than generating them. – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.14.19


Blow My Mind: How The Brain Constructs Timelines Of Memories

For us, time is a sequence of events, a measure of gradually changing content. That explains why we remember recent events better than ones from long ago, and why when a certain memory comes to mind, we tend to recall events that occurred around the same time. But how did that add up to an ordered temporal history, and what neural mechanism enabled it? – Quanta Magazine
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.12.19


Falling Into The Rabbit Hole Of The Internet (Never To Be Seen Again)

Previously these communities were imposed on us, along with their mental weather. Now we chose them – or believed we did. A person might join a site to look at pictures of her nephew and five years later believe in a flat earth. – London Review of Books
Tags: Art, London, Ideas, 02.21.19


Human Debate Champion Finally Beats IBM’s Artificial Intelligence Machine

A human has finally notched up a win against our future robot overlords. Champion debater Harish Natarajan triumphed in a live showdown against IBM’s Miss Debater AI at the company’s Think Conference in San Francisco on Monday.  – Engadget
Tags: Art, San Francisco, Ideas, Ibm, Artificial Intelligence Machine, Harish Natarajan, 02.12.19


How Neuroscience Is Going to Change The Business Of Finding An Audience

Neuroscience, it turns out, can help change how companies think about new opportunities, and specifically, within the emerging field of applied neuroscience. Applied neuroscience is best described as the use of neuroscience tools and insights to measure and understand human behavior. Using applied neuroscience, leaders are able to generate data about critical moments of decision making, and then use this data to make confident choices that help to navigate the future of an initiative. – Harvard...
Tags: Art, Ideas, Audience, 02.08.19


A Sense Of Doom In The Air (What, Me Worry?)

“Since the financial crash of 2008, across Europe and in the United States, there has been (to borrow a phrase from Frank Kermode) a “sense of an ending”. Liberal orthodoxies have fallen into radical doubt. Populist movements are arrayed against the political and economic order that has stood in place for the past fifty years. Electorates have leaped into unknown futures. The grounds of civilization won’t break up under our feet so much as recede under melting ice caps and rising seas, while th...
Tags: Art, Europe, Ideas, United States, Frank Kermode, 02.06.19


What Happened When Three Philosophers Put An ‘Ask A Philosopher’ Booth On A Manhattan Street Corner

Oh yes, people showed up, and they asked real questions. Lee McIntyre, author of Post-Truth and one of the three, offers a report. (The hardest part: the six-year-old girl who looked him in the eye and asked, in all seriousness, “How do I know I’m real?”) – The Conversation
Tags: Art, Ideas, Lee McIntyre, 02.06.19, Manhattan Street Corner


What Makes Us Human: Laughter?

Something that sets us apart from these ancestors and primate relatives, and should be of special interest to anthropology, is our unique propensity to laugh. Laughter is a paradox. We all know it’s good for us; we experience it as one of life’s pleasures and a form of emotional release. Yet to be able to laugh, we must somehow cut ourselves off from feelings of love, hate, fear or any other powerful emotion.  – Aeon
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.12.19


A Prescient Warning From 1994 About Dangers Of A Distraction Culture

Writing in 1994, Sven Birkerts worried that distractedness and surficiality would win out. The “duration state” we enter through a turned page would be lost in a world of increasing speed and relentless connectivity, and with it our ability to make meaning out of narratives, both fictional and lived. The diminishment of literature—of sustained reading, of writing as the product of a single focused mind—would diminish the self in turn, rendering us less and less able to grasp both the breadth of...
Tags: Art, Ideas, Paris, Sven Birkerts, 02.08.19


Choose: Through This Door The World Is Getting Better. Through The Other Door…

This may not feel like a particularly revolutionary time. But, if we look closely, we can see current economic, social, and political forces pulling us in two directions. One direction will accelerate us forward, the other backwards. We will decide our fate by the revolution we embrace. – The Walrus
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.08.19


Silicon Valley Tech Says It Wants To Save The World. The Reality May Be Quite Different

At some tech companies, faith in the mission is encouraged to the point that it resembles religious belief. Employees are invited to see themselves as proselytizers for the transformation of society, spreading the ideas of a company and its leaders around the world. What happens, though, when the mission doesn’t accord with the behavior of a company or the values of its employees? – The New Republic
Tags: Art, Ideas, Silicon Valley Tech, 02.07.19


Why Scientists Are Rethinking The Whole Idea Of Animal Consciousness

This idea that animals are conscious was long unpopular in the West, but it has lately found favor among scientists who study animal cognition. And not just the obvious cases—primates, dogs, elephants, whales, and others. Scientists are now finding evidence of an inner life in alien-seeming creatures that evolved on ever-more-distant limbs of life’s tree. 
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.11.19


Journalism Isn’t Dying

Yes, some newspapers are. But the myth of objectivity is – and journalism, at least in the U.S., is returning to its roots. – Wired
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.10.19


Apparently, The TV Show ‘Parks & Rec’ Killed Valentine’s Day

But don’t worry, capitalism was saved by the show’s “Galentine’s Day,” which has now become a very real thing. – The Wall Street Journal
Tags: Art, Ideas, 02.09.19


Use Your Creativity For… Evil?

Laypersons and academics alike have largely viewed creativity as a positive force, a notion challenged by the philosopher and educator Robert McLaren of California State University, Fullerton in 1993. McLaren proposed that creativity had a dark side, and that viewing it without a social or moral lens would lead to limited understanding. As time went on,  newer concepts – negative and malevolent creativity – included conceiving original ways to cheat on tests or doing purposeful harm to others,...
Tags: Art, Ideas, Mclaren, California State University Fullerton, Robert McLaren, 02.07.19



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