Mind Memes for March 4: H.I.V. Baby Cured, 'Human Exceptionalism,' and More

1. Are Intelligent Machines a Threat to 'Human Exceptionalism'?


"Is it time to take seriously the prospect of artificial intelligence emulating human abilities?"

Yes, says Ray Kurzweil in his book How to Create a Mindas does Matt Ridley in this recent Wall Street Journal article: "It would be foolish, not wise, to bet against the emulation of the human brain in silicon within a couple of decades." 

However, acknowledging the sentience of a silicon brain, Wesley J. Smith argues in The National Review, constitutes a threat to our 'human exceptionalism.' Smith argues: "Let’s drop the meme pushed by transhumanists (not Ridley in this piece) that AI machines would be people too."

2. HIV Baby Cured:

Doctors successfully cured a baby was born with H.I.V. in Mississipi using an aggressive treatment involving antiretroviral drugs shortly after birth. If this treatment can cure other babies it could be used globally. Read more here

3. You Can't Have It All and You Can't Work From Home

The Princeton University Professor and former State Department Official Anne-Marie Slaughter caused a stir last year with a controversial Atlantic article that argued women cannot "have it all." Now Slaughter has come to the defense of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer for her decision to ban telecommuting at the struggling company. Read it here

4. The 'Nuclear Renaissance' That Never Happened in the U.S. May, In Fact, Never Happen

While Japan and Europe reacted to the Fukushima disaster with vigorous public debate, that was not so much the case in the U.S., with notable acceptions such as this thread on Big Think. Nonetheless, according to the latest installment in a report published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the market is speaking loudly on the subject of nuclear energy, indicating that new reactors represent "an extremely unattractive investment prospect."

Read more here

5. Sign Us All Up For the Mediterranean Diet!

Do you like olive oil, nuts, fruit, vegetables, fish and moderate amounts of wine? The "energy-unrestricted" Mediterranean diet will not only make your stomach happy, it is also good for your heart. Read more here

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Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
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  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
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Mini-brains attach to spinal cord and twitch muscles

A new method of growing mini-brains produces some startling results.

(Lancaster, et al)
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new and inexpensive way to keep organoids growing for a year.
  • Axons from the study's organoids attached themselves to embryonic mouse spinal cord cells.
  • The mini-brains took control of muscles connected to the spinal cords.
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