IdeaFestival

One minute video explanation of "dark energy"

A one minute video explaining the concept behind the Nobel-winning physics discovery that the universe is rushing away from us at an accelerating pace? Take it away Sean Carroll.

Sean is a CalTech theoretical physicist. He appeared at the 2010 IdeaFestival, and recorded this video on the arrow of time that you may enjoy.

Wayne

Wikipedia: dark energy

IdeaFestival Uncut - Stephen Cave, Immortality

We are not immortal, THAT is why we need not fear death. Quoting Wittgenstein, "We do not live to experience death." - @stephenjcave - IdeaFestival 2014

Whether physically, spiritually or perhaps through a legacy, the quest to live forever has been one of the defining features of human experience. Philosopher Stephen Cave discusses how the quest to live forever has influenced and shaped civilization since the dawn of humankind.

The IdeaFestival Uncut video series brings you speaker presentations in their entirety, and can be found on IFTV. Please subscribe! And don't forget to follow the festival on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

A note to blog readers: if you get the IdeaFestival web log via RSS, please be aware that the festival will soon be adopting a generic feed. Please use it instead of the one you use now! If you like getting blog posts by email, just visit the IdeaFestival front page and subscribe to the IF Newsletter.

Stay curious.

Wayne

Thank You!

Thank you for making IdeaFestival 2011 so wonderful! We couldn't do it without you, our fans and sponsors, who for four days make the IdeaFestival the most creative and inspiring place to be in the world.

Wayne

Image: Geoff Oliver Bugbee

Will Shortz on the"Grab-bag Brain" - IdeaFestival Conversation

New York Times crossword editor, puzzle master for npr's Weekend Edition Sunday and enigmatologist, Will Shortz, on the "grab bag brain". Filmed in Louisville, Kentucky at the ideafestival, September, 2008.
From: IFTV
Views: 130
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Time: 01:37 More in Gaming

Creativity is the Mistakes You've Made

We are drawn to edges, to our own / parapets and sea-walls -  'Apart', Robin Robertson

The human mind is able to produce fantastic explanations before all the evidence is in. It's messed up like that.

It also may be the most valuable asset we have. Discussing this unique human ability in context of artificial intelligence, philosopher David Deutsch, explains why knowing, and its contribution to innovation, can't be reduced solely to precedent.

Deutsch:

What is needed is nothing less than a breakthrough in philosophy, a new epistemological theory that explains how brains create explanatory knowledge....

Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of knowledge.

Unfortunately, what we know about epistemology is contained largely in the work of the philosopher Karl Popper and is almost universally underrated and misunderstood.... For example, it is still taken for granted by almost every authority that knowledge consists of justified, true beliefs and that, therefore, an [artificial intelligence] must include some process during which it justifies some of its theories as true, or probable, while rejecting others as false or improbable.... The prevailing misconception is that by assuming that ‘the future will be like the past’, it can ‘derive’ (or ‘extrapolate’ or ‘generalise’) theories from repeated experiences by an alleged process called ‘induction’. But that is impossible...

...the truth is that knowledge consists of conjectured explanations — guesses about what really is (or really should be, or might be) out there in all those worlds. Even in the hard sciences, these guesses have no foundations and don’t need justification. Why? Because genuine knowledge, though by definition it does contain truth, almost always contains error as well.

What's so fascinating to me is that knowledge on this account isn't the ability to make predictions based on the past. It isn't inducted, only. Rather, it's an ability to create new explanations that aren't warranted by any known precedent. Those explanations may of course ultimately prove to be wide of the mark.

Or not.

But in contrast to any artificial intelligence (so far!), the human mind, by incorporating error, knows what it knows. And if artificial intelligence is ever to approach the human prowess for developing useful explanations, it will according to Deutsch have be tolerant of misinformation and of ambiguities, the sand-in-the-gears for any generative process based solely on logic.

Deutsch calls this ability to "violate predetermined constraints" and to transcend the past, "creativity." It's the very thing the IdeaFestival celebrates year after year. His essay may be found here.

Stay curious.

Wayne

A note to blog readers: if you get the IdeaFestival web log via RSS, please be aware that the festival will soon be adopting a generic feed. Please use it instead of the one you use now. If you like getting blog posts by email, just visit the IdeaFestival front page and subscribe to the IF Newsletter. And, as always, connect with us on Twitter or Facebook

Image: Geoff Oliver Bugbee


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