25 November 2007


UPDATE: replaced 5star tag with rated.01 for my highest rated public Delicious bookmarks. still a silly name i know.

anyways, use it, don't use it...

21 November 2007

a good brain theory?

slightly annoying, but sharp..

i liked the bit about intelligence having more to do with predictive power than it does behavior .. Maybe if this idea holds out, we might eventually do away with the Turing test for artificial intelligence -which was always so anthropocentric as to be, well, just a little bit silly ;)

The idea is that the frontal neocortex -not the older (and possibly more complex) pre-mammalian brain- is basically a mechanism to predict the future. That the neocortex can be simply modeled as vast networks of hierarchical elements that predict their future input sequences.
So, as far as i can make out, predictive subsystems
- that are based on a hierarchical theory of memory,
- and are strongly sequential/temporal.

And the model of the neocortex plugs into other components of the brain (that aren't modeled here). The intelligence (the memory and predictive components) providing the input to the older, pre-mammalian brain, which then uses this intelligent prediction to drive action and behavior via those older systems.

Anyway, sounds good so far. Probably worth keeping an eye out for On Intelligence, his book on the subject

09 November 2007

The Unnatural History of the Sea

direct link to the mp3 from the Science and the City podcast.

Callum Roberts is a leading authority on the ocean environment and author of the new book The Unnatural History of the Sea, an unprecedented history of the exploitation of the ocean, its fisheries and marine life, and a look at what our future may hold. In this lecture, he shares his research, nicely highlighting the short sightedness of our past and current fishing strategies and policies.

His idea of what needs to be done is
- first, to fish less, or at least more intelligently - with more selection, and using less destructive means.
- to create marine reserves,
- and to eliminate risky decision making...

"One of the key things to do is to remove the decision making power of politicians in fishing. Politicians are not the right people to be making decisions about how many fish can be caught, because they think in the short-term, not in the long-term welfare of the industries, or the long-term welfare of the environment. Yet in most countries in the world politicians are the ones that make decisions about how much to catch.

The decisions also involve the very large presence of industry - this also involves the potential for risky decision making (what understatement!), because again, the perspectives are more in the short-term
we need to move to a system where we think much less about the short term and much more about the long term, because fishing and fish stocks are really too important to squander in the way that society is doing at the present."

i agree ..All serious collective decisions, like about things that impact our survival, or the future of the planet, amongst other things, deserve open processes with proper scientific rigor and method - a long way off the greedy, narrow minded bullshit we seem to put up with currently.

anyways, its a good listen. 30 minute..ish