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Comment: Re:Consciousness versus Intelligence (Score 1) 443

Consciousness, in my view, is the ability to synthesize a single and continuous experience out of disparate sensory and cognitive input. Conceptually that definition makes sense to me, and it's consistent with the observation that the prefrontal cortex (The part of the brain most associated with consciousness) is highly interconnected with the other regions of the brain.

From that definition, consciousness is a property of any information processing system, regardless of the underlying "hardware" (whether biological or electronic). The fact that the mammalian brain can create consciousness proves that consciousness can be created from physical processes, so I see no reason why a computer wouldn't be able to do the same.

Comment: Re:Wouldn't time be better spent... (Score 1) 474

How do you "teach" someone to not be a criminal? I can guarantee you that all men already know how to not rape. The grandparent post's point is that you can't stop everyone from doing bad things, so you should teach people how to avoid and handle those people doing bad things. Unless you think all it will take to end criminality once and for all in the human race is just a little more schooling telling kids "don't do bad things".

Comment: Re:Capitalism does not reward morality (Score 1) 197

by Kingofearth (#48430543) Attached to: Is a Moral Compass a Hindrance Or a Help For Startups?
A monopoly is the antithesis of a free market. How is a market free when it's controlled by a single entity? What does it matter if that entity calls itself a government or a corporation?

The thing libertarians constantly fail to recognize is that centralization of power itself is the problem. They recognize it in government, but then somehow think that a corporation wouldn't abuse it's power.

What happens when consolidation leads to a single company that controls the food supply? When they get to choose who gets to eat or starve, how is that any different from a government rationing food? Any sufficiently powerful organization becomes a de facto government.

Comment: Re:I really don't understand smart watches... (Score 1) 415

by Kingofearth (#48273965) Attached to: How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking
As the saying goes, "It's the little things in life..."

Having the current weather a glance away is really handy. Sometimes when I'm about to leave my apartment I'll check the time on my watch, notice that it's colder out than I expected and realize I should grab a warmer coat before getting outside and having to run back upstairs.

There's the convenience of being able to see text messages and phone calls even while your phone is plugged in somewhere to charge or play music
And when I get a text that doesn't require a reply, it's nice to be able to read it without having to dig my phone out of my pocket. It saves just a couple seconds, but it feels less clumsy and if I'm busy I can see if a message is important without breaking my train of thought.

I don't think smart watches are a great deal for everyone, but if you're willing to spend $100 to make life a little more streamlined I think it's worth it. I have a Pebble by the way, which only has to be charged about once a week.

Comment: Re:Prove him right some more (Score 2) 263

by Kingofearth (#48107565) Attached to: Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana
Why do you assume it's just a trick? And how do you reach that conclusion just from the premise that induction works? Psychoactive drugs change how the brain functions. That's as accurate of a statement as you can make about mind-altering drugs in general. Whether your perception is more accurate or less is not implicit, and you give no evidence or logic to back up your assertion that marijuana's effect on one's sense of profundity is just a "trick".

Little kids think all kinds of "random crap" is profound, are they tricked into it too? No, things just become mundane once they become common. If anything your sober mind is tricking you into thinking that common things aren't significant, and smoking weed or dropping acid allows your mind to overcome that and see how amazing most things really are.

Comment: Re:Prove him right some more (Score 4, Insightful) 263

by Kingofearth (#48107383) Attached to: Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana
If our perception is fallible and illusory, doesn't that necessarily imply that there is "something else out there" beyond what we perceive? How can someone believe their perception of reality is inaccurate while simultaneously dismissing the notion that there is more to our existence than we understand?

And how can our internal experiences (feelings) be meaningless when they're the essence of what we are as conscious beings and are the only things we can be certain of?

Comment: Re:Prove him right some more (Score 1) 263

by Kingofearth (#48107295) Attached to: Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana
Life is profound. The fact that anything exists at all is profound, and much more profound is the fact that over billions of years vast hydrogen clouds eventually turned into self-aware sentient autonomous beings capable of debating which chemical reactions should be prohibited from occurring inside others of their kind.

I don't see why having a sense of profundity from common things is something to ridicule. Most people are too jaded or ignorant to appreciate the awesomeness and incredible complexity of everything around them. Drugs can put the mind into a different context and change its functioning in a way that reduces the complacency most people have towards life. There's nothing inherently invalid with the sensations induced by psychoactive drugs any more than one's improved health after taking penicillin is invalid.

If you want to talk about obsession, how about the obsession our society has with the default mode of operation of the human mind. There is nothing wrong with the sober mind, but there is no reason why it should be considered the end-all and be-all of conscious existence. The environment it evolved in is much different than the ones we spend much of our time in. If you're a hunter-gatherer on the savanna keeping a watch for predators you need to stay focused on survival. If you're an economically well-off human sitting in the woods with some friends, why not appreciate the magnificence of the world around you? Our species has toiled for all of history to enable us to take survival for granted and be able to enjoy life, so what's wrong with dropping out from the normal state of existence and playing with all the fun hidden features of our minds from time to time?

Comment: Re:Agrarian shift caused mass underfeeding (Score 1) 254

by Kingofearth (#47668517) Attached to: The Benefits of Inequality
No, I simply said I heard another explanation for why people got weaker when they became farmers that complicates the causal link WillAffleckUW was implying. I just figured I'd throw that information out there and that maybe someone else would respond with more info.

Besides, how do you know Will didn't get his information from something he read (it was video lectures actually) on the internet? Are you really criticizing me for providing context and a reference for my knowledge?

Comment: Re:Agrarian shift caused mass underfeeding (Score 1) 254

by Kingofearth (#47666897) Attached to: The Benefits of Inequality
I heard that the reason people got smaller and weaker when they moved to agrarian societies was because they went from consuming a wide variety of foods which together provided ample nutrition to consuming mostly a single crop, generally a high-carb grain, which was enough to keep them alive, but didn't provide the necessary amounts of certain nutrients needed for optimal health.

I'm not nessessarily trying to dispute your implication, I just remember this from the Brief History of Humankind course I took on Coursera and thought it was relevant.

Comment: Re:Snake Oil (Score 2) 114

by Kingofearth (#47602717) Attached to: How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil
Facebook doesn't promise that your ads will only be shown to people who care about them, they offer the ability to target ads based on fine-grained characteristics. I often see ads for bands and DJs that I like when they're coming to my area. No one's guaranteeing I'll buy tickets, but if I "like" Bassnectar and "music festivals", and Bassnectar is playing a music festival in the midwest, (aside from the fact that I likely already know about it) targeting ads to people like me is about as effective as you can get for advertising.

Comment: Re:Snake Oil (Score 1) 114

by Kingofearth (#47602655) Attached to: How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil
I help run the NORML chapter in Wisconsin. I can target ads for our page to people who "Live in Wisconsin" and "Like 'marjuana', 'legalization', 'weed', etc". Users tell Facebook their demographic info and their interests, Facebook lets advertisers target ads based on that information. What part of that system is deceitful?

Maybe Computer Science should be in the College of Theology. -- R. S. Barton

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