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When we consider the future of knowledge, we must consider whether something like knowledge can exist without a human mind to grasp it.

My latest...

#knowledge #AI
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+Teodora Petkova is one of my favorite people here on G+. Aside from just being a really good person, she always inspires me with the incredible passion she shows for linking the meaning of words. Somehow she straddles the geeky with the poetic in her love for moving human understanding to the next level.
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Research shows that LSD stimulates the semantic networks of the brain, leading to increased conceptual flexibility. Their next step is to map these findings against neural imagery to see what parts of the brain actually light up.

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+The Economist has a nice write-up on education technology showing promising signs that this field is finally ready. One of the conclusions: the way we think about schools -- and teaching -- will have to change too. In this sense, technology's impact on education is no different from any other field. Throwing tools at a problem isn't nearly as effective as using tools to rethink our approach to a problem.
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Did the Absence of German Copyright Laws Drive Its Industrial Expansion?

The German book market in the 19th Century was not protected by copyright laws. As a result, publishers were forced to adopt a mass publishing strategy with low-priced paperbacks that provided little room for copycat publishers (simultaneously using hardcovers to skim the high end of the market). As a result, a mass market emerged, which in turn encouraged many authors to write.

There are lots of interesting points that follow, but one I find particularly interesting is how this mass market created lucrative opportunities for technical publishing:

The German proliferation of knowledge created a curious situation that hardly anyone is likely to have noticed at the time. Sigismund Hermbstädt, for example, a chemistry and pharmacy professor in Berlin, who has long since disappeared into the oblivion of history, earned more royalties for his "Principles of Leather Tanning" published in 1806 than British author Mary Shelley did for her horror novel "Frankenstein," which is still famous today.

Special thanks to +Pan Darius Kairos for flagging this one for my attention.


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Learn How Bacteria Communicate -- and Coordinate

I don't use the adjective "delightful" very often, but I just don't have any choice here. This talk by molecular biologist, Bonnie Bassler is just downright delightful.

In it, she describes how bacteria use molecules to communicate with one another. The most interesting idea here is "quorum sensing," which is the ability for individual bacteria cells to sense one another's presence and then coordinate their actions in synchrony.

(If anyone has any good references or resources on quorum sensing, by the way, please let me know.)

PBS NewsHour is doing an interesting series right now on bacterial resistance to antibiotics, so the second part of this task is particularly interesting because it highlights one promising path to a solution here through blocking bacterial communication systems.

PBS NewsHour Part One:

PBS NewsHour Part Two:

Finally, I just love the ending, where she talks about the vital role that young people play in the advance of science. You can tell that she loves her work and the people who help her do it. That's the part that I find most delightful. :)
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Amazon is hoping to one day to offer machine learning-based translation services to help you understand your dog or cat. But some say it's not so easy since these wonderful friends of ours have animal communication systems but lack true language.

Here's some more background on this question:

Words Are The Bridge Between Digital And Analog Reality
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Can machines help us digest the flood of information regularly face? Some thoughts about using technology to help us process and understand the countless terms of services notices we regularly sign without reading.
Teaching Machines to Understand, and Summarize, Text

*We humans are swamped with text. It’s not just news and other timely information: Regular people are drowning in legal documents. The problem is so bad we mostly ignore it. Every time a person uses a store’s loyalty rewards card or connects to an online service, his or her activities are governed by the equivalent of hundreds of pages of legalese. Most people pay no attention to these massive documents, often labeled “terms of service,” “user agreement,” or “privacy policy.”

These are just part of a much wider societal problem of information overload. There is so much data stored—exabytes of it, as much stored as has ever been spoken by people in all of human history—that it’s humanly impossible to read and interpreteverything. Often, we narrow down our pool of information by choosing particular topics or issues to pay attention to. But it’s important to actually know the meaning and contents of the legal documents that govern how our data is stored and who can see it.

As computer science researchers, we are working on ways artificial intelligence algorithms could digest these massive texts and extract their meaning, presenting it in terms regular people can understand..."

#Future = #REALnews #robots #tech #innovation #science #design #singularity #engineering #automation #AI #artificialintelligence #economy #finance #universalbasicincome #basicincome #money #UBI
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Talent Risk Management

Companies think about succession planning, but this is usually only concerned with the very top tiers of the company. Talent Risk Management drives this kind of longer-term orientation and planning lower down into the org chart for a much more comprehensive analysis of the organization’s true talent vulnerabilities.

Steve Trautman knows a lot about the intersection of people and knowledge. This book, his third, is as informative as it is pragmatic.

If you are in organizational management, I recommend getting this book. It's a fast read, and it will leave you with a concrete understanding of how to think more clearly about your people, what they bring to your organization -- and how you deal with the comings and goings that are now so common in today's workforce.

Here's the link on Amazon:

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Giving Away Your DNA Rights - to

A few years ago, I ended up using the website to track down ancestors. My mom was Mormon growing up so we have a pretty rich family history going back pretty far in that service - at least on that side of the family.

So it was with some alarm that I read this rather dense analysis of the terms of service. If you use the service, you should read this, and then decide whether you are willing to put up with these terms.

Don’t use the AncestryDNA testing service without actually reading the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. According to these legal contracts, you still own your DNA, but so does
To use the AncestryDNA service, customers must consent to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. These are binding legal contracts between the customer and The most egregious of these terms gives a free license to exploit your DNA for the rest of time.

Customers must understand that turning over their DNA means a loss of complete ownership and control. customers should also know they’re giving up the genetic privacy of themselves and their relatives.

Before purchasing, individuals are advised to fully read and consider the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. If you become a customer, owns your DNA for life and longer.

Edit: I think it is important to point to the company's response to these claims are they appear to be taking it quite seriously and have clarified their terms of service. Thanks to +fil smyth​ for pointing this out:

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