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Gary Marcus — Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust

Shermer and Marcus discuss: why AI chatbot LaMDA is not sentient • “mind”, “thinking”, and “consciousness”, and how do molecules and matter give rise to such nonmaterial processes • the hard problem of consciousness • the self and other minds • How would we know if an AI system was sentient? • Can AI systems be conscious? • free will, determinism, compatibilism, and panpsychism • language • Can we have an inner life without language? • How rational or irrational an animal are we?

Ogi Ogas — Journey of the Mind: How Thinking Emerged from Chaos

Michael Shermer speaks with computational neuroscientist, Ogi Ogas, about his unified account of the mind that explains how consciousness, language, self-awareness, and civilization arose incrementally out of chaos, and how leading cities and nation-states are developing “superminds,” and perhaps planting the seeds for even higher forms of consciousness.

eSkeptic for April 2, 2022

Michael Shermer speaks with computational neuroscientist, Ogi Ogas, about his unified account of the mind that explains how consciousness, language, self-awareness, and civilization arose incrementally out of chaos, and how leading cities and nation-states are developing “superminds,” and perhaps planting the seeds for even higher forms of consciousness.

eSkeptic for July 10, 2021

In episode 192, Michael speaks with husband-and-wife team Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson about the deep history of humankind discussed in their book, A Story of Us, in which they present this rich narrative and explain how the evolution of our genes relates to the evolution of our cultures.

Lesley Newson & Peter Richerson — A New Look at Human Evolution

In episode 192, Michael speaks with husband-and-wife team Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson about the deep history of humankind discussed in their book, A Story of Us, in which they present this rich narrative and explain how the evolution of our genes relates to the evolution of our cultures.

eSkeptic for August 20, 2019

In Science Salon # 79 Michael Shermer speaks with former dean of Yale Law School Anthony Kronman about his new book The Assault on American Excellence; PLUS psychologist John Glynn explores one of the most perplexing aspects of human behavior: why does anyone die by suicide?

Anthony Kronman — The Assault on American Excellence

The former dean of Yale Law School argues that the feverish egalitarianism gripping college campuses today is out of place at institutions whose job is to prepare citizens to live in a vibrant democracy. Where many see only the suppression of free speech, the babying of students, and the drive to bury the imperfect parts of our history, Kronman recognizes in these on-campus clashes a threat to our democracy.

Dr. Barbara Tversky — Mind in Motion: How Action Shapes Thought

In Science Salon # 69 eminent psychologist Dr. Barbara Tversky offers a major new theory of human cognition: movement, not language, is the foundation of thought.

Dr. Benjamin Bergen — What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves

In this lecture based on his new book, professor of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Benjamin Bergen, illuminates the controversial and complex nature of profanity and its relationship on our culture.

07-10-31

In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. Clive Wynne, a psychology professor at the University of Florida and the author of the authoritative textbook on the subject of animal cognition, revisits the debate about whether animals have language.

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Dr. Steven Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best — language and human nature — into his new book on how words can help explain our nature (for example, what swearing reveals about our emotions or what innuendo discloses about relationships). The author of the bestselling books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works and Blank Slate, Pinker reveals how our use of prepositions and tenses taps into peculiarly human concepts of space and time, and how our nouns and verbs speak to our notions of matter…

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