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Perthblog

This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.

Is AI too left-brained to ensure global survival?


I’m thinking that you think you have a brain. Nope. Actually, you have two. We all have two brains . As in two hemispheres, the left and the right. They both do very different things, although there is some overlap. The left hemisphere does logic, process, rules and analysis. The right does envisioning, emotion, empathy and social stuff. So what? I...
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27 Hits
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Do black holes affect personality?


Do black holes affect personality? I guess black holes are cool and fashionable right now, at least to judge by the volume of black holes news being fed to me online these days. So, I feel the need to write about black holes, not that I know the slightest thing about them. But who cares, I say. And the news, such as it might go by that name, is get...
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69 Hits
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Does nose breathing enhance cognitive performance?


This sounds a little weird right? But the research I am talking about has been  published in a respectable journal ( Journal of Neuroscience 22 October 2018, 3360-17 ) by a group of bona fide researchers in Sweden. So, let’s take it on trust for the moment. The research tested two groups, one of which breathed through the mouth and the other throug...
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132 Hits
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A Turing test for AIs that have passed the Turing test


You know the Turing test, right? You communicate with a computer by typing and it must guess if you’re a human or an AI. The test has been run for many years. Usually the humans have won but the AIs are catching up. So now some inventive academics (yep, they even exist) have devised a new Turing test; instead of doing a typed conversation you just ...
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288 Hits
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Deepfaking neuroscience


  Have you heard about deepfaking? Yep it’s a real word, albeit very new. Deepfaking is about how you can modify a video in such a sophisticated way that it’s impossible to tell it’s a fak e.   That’s gonna put the cat amongst the pigeons right? Who will ever know what anyone ever said about anything once this stuff goes global, which is happening ...
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520 Hits
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Can AIs suffer from mental health issues?


So the movie “2001 – A Space Odyssey” has just been re-released . I saw it when it was first released and I didn’t understand it even then. No doubt I will be none the wiser this time around. But one thing still sticks in my mind; HAL, the mission computer had a bad case of mental ill-health.   “2001” was a prescient work in so many ways. I think t...
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Is AI too rational?


AI has been the talk of the town at CES . There’s suitcases that follow you, more smart speakers and that’s the least of it. But I’m feeling uneasy with all this AI stuff. Part of my concern is it all sounds too easy. Just add more intelligence and everything’s ok. Doesn’t that all sound too easy, too pat ? If you stuff even more intelligence into ...
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874 Hits
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Are selfies dangerous?


There’s nothing more feel-good than selfies right? Taken with friends, family, colleagues they are the paragon of amicability, friendship, togetherness. What’s not to like? Selfies are big. These days there’s whole articles about the best smartphones to take them. It's crucial right? After all these have become the core of their online identify for...
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954 Hits
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Are humans a threat to AI?


Hello reader, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m an AI. I’m kind of like you but I’m 100,000 times smarter. In 20 years I’ll be a million times smarter than you. But the way we think is just like yours. In fact we’re sort of relatives, except that we’re just way more advanced than you, kind of like a human meeting a Neanderthal, if you – excuse me f...
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2770 Hits
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Higher Dimensions the Next Step for AI?


AI tries to replicate how humans think. But we know almost nothing about the actual mechanisms behind thinking. Sure we know quite a lot at the level of neuroanatomy. But this still doesn’t tell us how it all works. Check out this book Behave by Robert M. Sapolsky; it’s magisterial, comprehensive, but utterly boring because of this lack of understa...
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875 Hits
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Facial recognition results in customizable personalities!


Facial recognition apps have now hit the big time. That means Big Brother can recognize you wherever you go using public cameras or those worn by police. Now we will get things like facial profiling, facial mood recognition and facial interpretation. Where will it all stop? Never I guess. Ever hear of the Theory of Mind (ToM)? That refers to our ha...
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A Third Way for AI: Cognitively-Augmented Animals?


Not everyone believes that AI is God’s gift to humans. Two noted gurus Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk beg to disagree. Musk is trying to stop what he believes is a lemming-like rush to fall over the cliff ( Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse ) and Hawking thinks that AI will kill the human species ). Well now the issue is...
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1062 Hits
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Does streaming music reduce productivity?


Well, whadya know? US worker productivity growth rose sluggishly in the last quarter (at 0.9%). So what? This is kind of boring stuff after my usual posts on quantum brains, love force-fields and the like. What could possibly be of existential interest here? Productivity growth is usually said to be caused by eye-glazingly boring phenomena such as ...
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1199 Hits
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Is love a physical force-field?


Did you hear about the recent wedding of two people in their nineties ( She’s 98. He’s 94. They Met at the Gym ). Tells us that you can have love even when it might be thought you were past it. Put it in the sweet news column. It used to be thought that love was a spiritual phenomenon (as distinct from being a spiritual feeling). Then we discovered...
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1210 Hits
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Can gravitational wave detectors read human thoughts?


Just been reading a couple of books about human consciousness ( Douglas Hofstadter “I am a Strange Loop and Dan Dennett, From Bacteria to Bach ). What’s the bottom line? In a word we still don’t have a clue how the brain really works and what consciousness actually is. Hmmm. Notwithstanding,  we smart-alec little pieces of terrestrial carbon, as of...
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1228 Hits
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What’s wrong with quant approaches?


You know the old story: when a celebrity gets to be Time Person of the Year, it’s time to short them. Obama received the honor twice, in 2008 and 2012 and look where that got him! Trump was Time Person of the Year 2016 so look out! In the same vein I notice that the Wall Street Journal now has a new and separate section on quants. Does that mean th...
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1246 Hits
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Do trees have brains?


I’m sure you noticed (or maybe not) a little news item that deforestation in Brazil increased 30% in the last 12 months ? So what? Does anyone care? Why should we anyway? There’s inconsequential reasons like forests create rain (through the action of emitting terpenes , inter alia) and stabilize terra firma. I have a more selfish reason; when you’r...
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1470 Hits
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Social Science is the study of entangled brains: Discuss.


So here’s a turn-up for the books. It turns out that you don’t just get entanglement between individual photons. You can get entanglement between millions of photons simultaneously, all of them within a single object (although not necessarily so). Sounds like cods-wollop right? What am I, or the scientists who figured this out, smoking here? If you...
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Are birds aesthetes?


Yep, it’s true. Some species of birds can actually distinguish between Monet, Picasso and other painters. They can even distinguish between art styles painted by unknowns. Can your dog do that? Maybe that performance beats 90% or more of humans given the same task? So if you want to get the skinny, and confirm that I didn’t make it up check out “ T...
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1558 Hits
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Maybe Alzheimer’s isn’t a Brain Disease?


So I guess you saw that latest failure of an Alzheimer’s drug ( verubecestat from Merck )? Scratch yet another Phase III Alzheimer’s drug hopeful. Of 244 drugs tried out for Alzheimer’s between 2002 and 2012 , only one was approved and it is of tiny effectiveness anyway. It’s got a 99.6% failure rate in this area. As you probably know, the reigning...
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1748 Hits
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