Google and Your Memory – Online Colleges

the key passage in this interesting summary is:

“Our Recall is flawed. Every time we recall a memory we also remake it. Google acts like a fact checker, helping us avoid many errors.”

It’s not quite that simple because google gives you access to the wrong answers just as easily as the right ones, but with a bit of practice, you can learn how to assess the validity of the online sources. (The shortcut is to use wiki, which is now at least as reliable as the “professional” encyclopaedias)

Nevertheless, that key function is rapidly changing the world at micro and macro levels. Arguments over trivial facts (who sung that song, starred in that movie etc) were the first to go. Not because of google but rather because of broadband. Once we had a permanent online connection and it became trivial to fire up the browser and look up the answer to the question, many people, rather than argue the toss (and, perhaps more importantly, rather than be made to look foolish) started saying “why not look it up on the web”. Google’s dominance arose later, when it made itself the superior search engine.

Nowadays, the same functionality is available on any decent smartphone so the same access to instant answers is available wherever we have a decent signal.

The social and political significance of this technological achievement is even more important than it’s potential for changing our psychology and brain function. It means that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for politicians and other manipulators to lie to us. This is the root of the authoritarians’ battle to control the internet. Whether they’re conservatives, communists or creationists, they’d all prefer you to see only the messages they approve.
Google and Memory
Research and Design by: Online Colleges Site

Best Marijuana Argument Ever: Given By Superior Court Judge James P. Gray – YouTube

It’s rare that a video lives up to a title like the one they’ve given this, but, on this occasion, I have to agree. This is the most succint summary of the anti-prohibition argument I’ve ever heard. Now we need similar presentations on the medical case, the economics, the social benefits of alcohol mediation and reduction in consumption of the harder drugs, etc etc.

Then comes the awkward bit. Finding some way to get the people who need to listen to these arguments, to listen to these arguments.

Best Marijuana Argument Ever: Given By Superior Court Judge James P. Gray – YouTube.

Mind Uploading: Brain Facts

good to see it discussed so “matter of factly”.

What we’re talking about here is one of the most exciting prospects in human history: the nitty gritty of what it will take to map the mind for digital uploading – i.e. copying your brain to a digital environment, in order to (initially) act as a “backup” but ultimately to permit omortality, as described here

Mind Uploading: Brain Facts.

What If Humans Were Twice as Intelligent? | Digg Topnews

the major benefit of increased intelligence will be that the implementation of true democracy (which is critically dependent on intelligent debate) will become much easier.

The two biggest obstacles to democracy at the moment are the vested interests who are currently in control – who show no signs of wishing to relinquish or even dilute that control; and the generally high levels of ignorance and low levels of intelligence in the population at large. The widespread inability to understand and adopt the principles of rational epistemology make it very difficult to promote or even defend true democracy.

The web is slowly helping to overcome the ignorance problem, but it can’t do much to improve actual processing power. For that I think we’re going to have to wait a couple of decades for the first brain implants to arrive which begin to enhance our intellectual abilities. And the problem with that is that the early adopters will likely be those who need it least, thus widening the gap between top and bottom of the social ladder…

What If Humans Were Twice as Intelligent? | Digg Topnews.

Team creates computerized method for matching images in photos, paintings, sketches

Trying to wrap my head around how they encode – without apparent human interpretation – the unique aspects of a given image. If they have cracked that, the major problems associated with image recognition are about to melt away…
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Team creates computerized method for matching images in photos, paintings, sketches.

How Friends Ruin Memory: The Social Conformity Effect | Wired Science | Wired.com

How Friends Ruin Memory: The Social Conformity Effect | Wired Science | Wired.com.

We only KNOW what we remember and what none of us knows is whether or not what we remember is what actually happened.¬† This fascinating research confirms the impression we’ve collectively been forming over the past few decades.

I’m carefully observing my own memories (which probably affects them in unintended ways) and, for example, I know I did not witness the 9-11 attacks in real time. I was working at my main customer site and heard about them second hand from colleagues hearing about it on the radio. Only when I got home a few hours later did I start watching the TV coverage. I’m wondering how long it will be before my faulty memory tells me I watched it as it happened…

The Brain Joins The Dots When Drawing A Cartoon Face From Memory

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319102319.htm

clues emerging on how we memorise faces…