Categories
Life & Philosophy Science

Hardware of the head


The phone is negentropic; it gets better through software. Similarly, the human head carries a brain that improves over time.

Scientists have shown again and again that the mind, like a piece of software, is elastic. We are the sum of a hundred billion neurons that strengthen through knowledge and experience. Our skull evolves within a gooey flesh.

But there has to be a cap on human acuity, surely. At some point, exponents can’t go any further. We can’t get any smarter, nor pinpoint the largest number which is infinity and beyond. Even “Moore’s Law peters out, “as microchip components reach the atomic scale and conventional lithography falters,” says computer scientist Scott Aaronson.

The chances of maxing out our neurons or counting to the last number are just as slim as downloading the entire internet; it’s an impossibility, no matter how much time, cloud space or algorithms try to lead us there.

So we remain, fulfilled but never finished, searching beyond the robot and frazzled by immensity.

Categories
Psychology

Call to mind

photo by Wells Baum

When an image comes to mind, it goes from dreamy obscurity to reality.

Images don’t exist until our eyes give them an interpretation. They wait for the brain’s chaotic cellular information to connect. Our visions act like an aperture on the iPhone, rendering the highest pixel resolution.

What brings life into existence is the stimulus of biology. Otherwise, images, thoughts, and things are loose pieces of triviality. We make objects important.

Categories
Culture Social Media

Outsource Your Brain

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“Point your camera toward a math problem and Photomath will magically show the result” Photomath

And all I had was the TI-89 calculator!

The answers are already here at our fingertips. Not just for math but for foreign languages and all types of knowledge. What’s the capital of Uruguay? Just google it or ask Amazon’s Alexa. Can’t decide which photo to use? Ask an algorithm like the Roll to identify your best photo. Facebook automatically identifies people in photos just in case you can’t recall that person’s name from last night’s dinner party.

Knowledge has become a kind of obesity of the mind in the digital age.

Why remember anything or master a skill if you don’t have to? Could knowledge become a commodity? Perhaps people who know things without using Google or Photomath will be considered superior, maybe even genius.

Humans aren’t going to be running the show too much longer. The machines are learning fast and securing our dependency on them. They don’t just fix our brains; they ARE our brains.

Perhaps all that’ll make us human is the ability to feel emotion and dream. But is that enough?

Well, at least if the cars pilot themselves we can do more thinking about how human brains were once considered computers.

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Uncategorized

This Is Your Brain on Rhythm

 Adam Gazzaley, a superstar neurologist on why we need focus: 

“It allows us to interact with the world through our goals and not be led by or be a slave to our environment. It has allowed us to do every remarkable achievement — creation of society, culture, language. They are all dependent on being able to focus on our goals.”

Focus is a bicep curl for the brain.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Psychology

Harnessing Brain Power

Everything is just a matter of organization. The way we organize our thoughts, our fears, and our work helps us understand, perceive, and make decisions in the world around us.

There is no such thing as the perfect organization. There’s only a system that works for you or doesn’t work at all and needs change. But most people prefer to accept their own confusion as stupidity and ignorance rather than a disassembly of thinking systems. The brain is no different than a notepad and a shelf, it just needs to be sorted out so it can remember where it put things.

Smart people may actually have a bigger brain than you, but they also know how to leverage the brain’s hard disk space to create a critical system of folders that allows them to connect different pieces of information more quickly. They also excel at focusing, knowing when to use their brain’s bandwidth at its maximum capacity.

You’re not stupid, not at all, but possibly mentally disorganized. The good news is that brain is malleable and can be cleaned up.

Categories
Science Tech

Our brains have limited storage

Our brain capacity is limited. Our ability to digest new information dwindles with each piece of new information we take in.  

That’s why people are taking deliberate breaks away from the Internet. The only way to fight feed-based culture is to turn it off completely, whether that’s through a 5-minute meditation or more intensively, through a 5-day digital retreat.  

This may sound obvious but the fundamental way to reset the brain is to sleep more.  

Our brain works like a dishwasher draining unnecessary filler when we sleep. If we’re stoic enough, we can also choose to sit there and do nothing.  

‘Always on’ is a recipe for a clouded, confused brain that confuses multitasking with hard work. At the same time, the Internet is the most amazing invention since the railroad.

At the end of the day, maybe we should all just daydream more and create our own memorable fantasies. 

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Uncategorized

Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 28, Henry Miller

After all, most writing is done away from the typewriter, away from the desk. I’d say it occurs in the quiet, silent moments, while you’re walking or shaving or playing a game or whatever, or even talking to someone you’re not vitally interested in. You’re working, your mind is working, on this problem in the back of your head. So, when you get to the machine it’s a mere matter of transfer.

Your best thoughts occur when you’re not working, when your mind and body step away from your desk. But even in those dull moments your mind is working. And then you just copy-paste your thoughts at the computer. The hard part is the editing.

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Uncategorized

Burying the URL

URLs are the essence. They make hypertext hyper. The term “web” is no accident – it refers to this explicitly.

Unlike other modern technologies that have hidden as much complexity as possible, web browsers have continued to put this technical artifact top center, dots, slashes and all. The noble URL caused a revolution in sharing and publishing.

The web is a bit like the brain, complex, with new cells (links) blooming and old cells decaying simultaneously.

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Uncategorized

Meet The Super Taskers

His findings put a new spin on memory lapses, suggesting they may often be due not to recall errors, but a failure to tune out distractions.

Memory is a combination of focus and flow, both of bridge together during multi-tasking. That is, if you’re one of the 2 percent who’s a “Super Tasker.”

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Uncategorized

More Reflection, Less Action

Instead, we too often view the opposite of “doing” as “not doing,” and then demonize inaction. In fact, good judgment grows out of reflection, and reflection requires the sort of quiet time that gets crowded out by the next demand.

Don’t mistake inactivity for laziness, for doing nothing could also be deep thinking, or sleeping for that matter.  Clarity emerges from an over-connected mind trying to be blank.

Sometimes the mind needs nothing other to do than to rest.