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Are we living in a computer simulation?

Perhaps what we see isn’t what we get. Instead, life is just computer code and humans are information. So does a simulated life mean that we can live forever? Says theoretical physicist James Gates: “If the simulation hypothesis is valid, then we open the door to eternal life and resurrection and things that formally have […]

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Tech is ‘the cigarette of this century’

Technology undermines human willpower by stealing our attention and supercharging information distribution. We are stuck in a gif loop of variable rewards while bombarded with trivial “breaking” news. We can’t escape the ‘hypnotic effect’ of digital stimuli because it’s got us hooked. We are stuck in destabilizing habits that resist self-regulation. Like lemmings, we keep […]

Guiding a neophyte mathematician to name the biggest number 🔢

People are afraid of big numbers because they have no spatial understanding; the largest numbers are beyond comprehension, as the multitude of chess moves or the unfathomable number of sand grains in the desert. Infinity appears impossible to count! University of Texas computer science professor Scott Aaronson believes the answer to naming the world’s biggest […]

Remembering Steve Jobs: ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish’ 📱

Steve Jobs died six years ago today. He was 56 years old. His uniqueness, unconventional leadership, and big-picture thinking will never be forgotten. Jobs made tech fashionable. He made sure to remind us that we are the creators. Below are some of my favorite Jobs’ quotes. “Make something wonderful, and put it out there.” “Don’t […]

A brain without a body

Artificial intelligence is like a brain without a body. Instead of billions of neurons, computers contain bits and bytes of varying voltage levels so it can do stuff like provide directions or beat humans at chess. Deep Blue beat Kasparov not by matching his insight and intuition but by overwhelming him with blind calculation. Thanks […]

Knowing it all exists

The internet reintroduces lost objects. Everything from rare reggae recordings to out of print books finds its way online to be consumed for the first time. Only physical objects like pieces of art retain their scarcity, and therefore their value. But digitization means one copy makes infinite shelf life. Sharing bytes of knowledge amplifies the value of […]

Pre-digital Pace

The brain’s wiring is remarkable, but it’ll never — without some form of unnatural augmentation — catch up with the algorithmic filtering of digital machines. We can only move as fast as the pre-digital brain space allows. The adaptation to robot falls short without Google as a second brain to supplement it. In our faster […]

Wikipedia vs. the Small Screen

Only 20 percent of the readership of the English-language Wikipedia comes via mobile devices, a figure substantially lower than the percentage of mobile traffic for other media sites, many of which approach 50 percent. And the shift to mobile editing has lagged even more. The concern in the Wikipedia movement and among people who study […]

For a Better Memory, Hit ‘Delete’

Keep forgetting your mother’s cell phone number? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. In this New Tech City interview, Columbia University Psychology professor Betsy Sparrow explains why it’s so hard to remember things in the digital age and what you can do about it.  Even with a second brain, we’re overloaded. At the end of the […]

The Science Behind Fonts (And How They Make You Feel)

Fonts impact the reading experience, especially on computers: “The researchers concluded that well-designed reading environments don’t necessarily help you understand what you’re reading better, but they do make you feel good, causing you to feel inspired and more likely to take action.” While it feels good to read line after line it feels best to […]