Saturday, August 14, 2010

Organs of Computation - A Talk with Steven Pinker


An article that first came to me via Misha Glouberman and his School of Learning (-esque) lay-course in Happiness, this is an informal discussion on a lot of juicy subjects dear to the thought of Steven Pinker.

Themes include how biological organisms look to repeat themselves, how our thinking on thought may be misrepresented by our desire for aesthetics, how robots fail to advance to the computational elegance of a four year old girl, how the Internet can be construed as basically an evolution in language, Rube Goldberg machines, complexity, the sometimes unfortunate plight of happiness within equilibrium-based decision-making, why magical thinking is not illogical but perhaps an evolutionarily vestige system, and why a mind is more like a computer than a toilet.

What I want to be an intentional joke is, perhaps, not. On the introductory page the article repeats its first several paragraphs, underlining the point that processing is often inelegant, and complex systems the work of machines within machines.

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