Like all living things, humans are organisms, biological entities that function as physiological aggregates whose constituent parts operate with a high degree of cooperation and a low degree of conflict. But unlike other organisms, humans possess a rogue component – a brain network that can, at will, choose to defect and undermine the survival mission and purpose of the rest of the body. This is the network that underlies human consciousness, and especially our capacity for autonoetic, or reflective, self-awareness, the basis of the conceptions that underlie our greatest achievements as a species – art, music, architecture, literature, science – and our ability to appreciate them.

(Via Can our self-conscious minds save us from our selfish selves? by: Joseph LeDoux; picture Via Abishek on Unsplash)

I highly recommend reading the whole piece.

And They’re Running

I used to quite like poetry. Don’t tell my Dad, but for one brief moment in college I considered changing my major to poetry from journalism & broadcasting, a degree program he tolerated far more than philosophy (the other brief moment degree change I considered). Then I “got out of the habit” of reading poetry in so far as I read prose pretty much all the time since about 1995. Oh, sure, I would grab a New Yorker or some such and read its bit of poetry on my travels, but it was no longer a part of any kind of regimen or diet.

Recently I signed up for the 3 Quarks Daily RSS feed. I get a regular dose of poetry from it. Some of the poetry I don’t particularly care for, some I do, and to some I find myself indifferent. But I’m reading it, and I like what it is doing to me. Please see the above link for an example of a poem I like.

(Picture via Running in Floresville | HD photo by Jennifer Birdie Shawker (@nursebirdie) on Unsplash)

AI can now easily (8 seconds) change the identity of someone in a film or video.
Multiple services can now scan a few hours of someone’s voice and then fake any sentence in that person’s voice. […]
Don’t buy anything from anyone who calls you on the phone. Careful with your prescriptions. Don’t believe a video or a photo and especially a review. Luxury goods probably aren’t. That fish might not even be what it says it is.
But we need reputation. The people who are sowing the seeds of distrust almost certainly don’t have your best interests in mind-we’ve all been hacked. Which means that a reshuffling is imminent, one that restores confidence so we can be sure we’re seeing what we think we’re seeing. But it’s not going to happen tomorrow, so now, more than ever, it seems like we have to assume we’re being conned.
Sad but true.
What happens after the commotion will be a retrenchment, a way to restore trust and connection, because we have trouble thriving without it.

(Via The end of reputation; photo via Raphael Lovaski on Unsplash)

Apologies to Seth for quoting nearly his whole post, but it’s important and scary.

Neal Stephenson, in his book Fall; Or, Dodge in Hell 🇺🇸 🇯🇵, addresses this very issue of reputation and authenticity. In very simplistic & basic terms, it involves leveraging something like blockchain to “check in” or “sign in” to legitimate things by you or things you control. He also talks about Editors, who are human professional social media filters, which takes us down a different rabbit hole.

As I move my on-line life as much on to platforms I control or trust, I am thinking about how to validate “me” outside of that without that validation coming back to bite me later, assuming such a thing is possible.

What do you think?