Older blog entries for Flanneltron (starting at number 54)

Mel Hunter’s Lonely Robot

During my adventures through the mysterious evo-devo circus freakshow known as childhood, I found myself encountering a lot of science fiction stories and art from 1950s-1970s. Old issues of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction that I recovered from the dump were just as interesting to my larval mind as pornography. The one cover [...]

Syndicated 2011-02-28 03:14:36 from SynapticNulship

I Will Not Be Told: Stephen Fry’s Speech at Harvard

I just attended Stephen Fry’s acceptance of the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, given by the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard. His speech was quite different than the one he gave for the Intelligence² Debate. The main theme tonight was “I will not be told.” To be told is to wallow in revealed truths. [...]

Syndicated 2011-02-23 04:58:38 from SynapticNulship

What are Symbols in AI?

A main underlying philosophy of artificial intelligence and cognitive science is that cognition is computation.  This leads to the notion of symbols within the mind. There are many paths to explore how the mind works.  One might start from the bottom, as is the case with neuroscience or connectionist AI.  So you can avoid symbols at [...]

Syndicated 2011-02-22 07:38:04 from SynapticNulship

Roomba iDress Tester

Roomba and Scooba skins aren’t new, but I had never seen Amilo Tech’s iDress Tester website (started in 2010) until just now. According to Amilo Group’s website, Amilo Tech is going to extend iDress to Apple iPhones sometime this year.

Syndicated 2011-02-21 16:10:03 from SynapticNulship

5 Important Themes in Science Fiction Cinema, or Cultivating Bad Taste

Yesterday I attended the 48th episode of Boskone, a science fiction literature convention held in Boston.  I found that Boskone was not just about books however, illuminating me with discussion panels such as “The Five Definitive Criteria By Which SF Cinema Is to Be Judged.” The panel consisted of Esther Friesner, Craig Shaw Gardner (lord of [...]

Syndicated 2011-02-21 06:56:30 from SynapticNulship

When Mainstream Attacks: Robot Tropes That Never Die

Science comedian Brian Malow has made a video containing neither comedy nor science: When Robots Attack! Should We Fear a Singularity? And yes, I realize I shouldn’t have even bothered to watch it once I realized it was for a mainstream news outlet, but several people in my Twitter lists were tweeting it. Unfortunately, this video turned out [...]

Syndicated 2011-02-17 08:21:48 from SynapticNulship

Music and Machines: Highlights from the MIT Media Lab

I recently attended “Music | Machines: 50 Years of Music and Technology @ MIT,” part of MIT’s ongoing Festival of Art + Science + Technology (FAST). One of the most interesting demonstrations was the iPhone Guitar by Rob Morris of the Media Lab. Basically, he makes use of the iPhone’s accelerometer as an input for [...]

Syndicated 2011-02-15 06:01:52 from SynapticNulship

Fake Love with Robots

I noticed today that Kyle Munkittrick posted about Sherry Turkle’s concerns about people having emotional attachments to machines (The Turkle Test). Turkle, who’s been at MIT for a long time, is not against machines or emotional machines. She’s skeptical of taking advantage of the human tendency to be social and have emotional attachments to [...]

Syndicated 2011-02-07 07:52:02 from SynapticNulship

Should We Worry About the Anti-Makers?

As a riff off of Matthew T. Dearing’s “We Are All Makers” post, I wanted to rant about the anti-makers. I do like the fact that there are so many makers and hackers; I’m not sure if their numbers are increasing as there’s always been craftsmen and hobbyists, but I hope so.  Certainly it’s going on [...]

Syndicated 2011-02-07 07:20:49 from SynapticNulship

A Visit to the Museum of Sex

Recently I visited the Museum of Sex in New York City. Read more on my other blog…

Syndicated 2011-02-02 03:02:13 from SynapticNulship

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