Dress “Code”

This is from the “fun stuff with a point” files.

Last night I watched a very charming biography of Bill Cunningham – a famous New York Times journalist and “institution” whose specialty is a chronicle of women’s clothes as seen on the streets and venues of New York.  Some New York fashionistas measure their success by how often they have appeared in the Cunningham pages.  If you have the time, the program “Bill Cunningham – New York” is delightful.

But, the way we dress reveals much deeper stories than the latest designer.  For a link to the Cunningham story and some consideration of the deeper stories of fashion go to…(More)

Mind and Brain Perspectives

In the most recent previous post I looked at IBM’s computer, Watson, and how this may represent the first steps in a coming medical revolution.  We can also look at Watson from a different perspective: what it takes to create a computer which “thinks” in ways which may compete with how humans think (at least when playing Jeopardy, maybe when making a medical diagnosis).  Notice that I didn’t say “think in ways which are similar to how humans think”.  Watson has proven an ability to compete with humans; however, how it processes information may be significantly different from how humans process information, particularly in regard to how it generates abstractions.

Standing back, when we look at Watson’s performance how do we classify its “thinking”?  Does it have a mind?  Does its ability to abstract the subtle quirks of Jeopardy questions imply “insight”?  Does its ability to see through allusion mean that it “gets it”?  What do you think?

So, as we enter this fascinating era of opportunity, challenge, and perhaps epiphany, do we think science and concrete programming are telling us about the nature of the mind?  Opinions will vary.

For a different opinion and a fascinating discussion here is another place to look: the YouTube presentation by B. Alan Wallace, PhD to Google’s wunderkind at a Google Tech Talk titled: “Toward the First Revolution In the Mind Sciences”.  While I don’t agree with all of doctor Wallace’s positions, and think some of his “unanswered” questions do have answers, I believe his discussion dissects an area of academic and philosophical interest: is the mind completely explainable by the brain?  If the topic interests you have a look at his talk here.

Watson: Beats Jeopardy, Becomes Health Care Prophet

After IBM’s computer, Watson, beat Jeopardy, it was recently hired by Wellpoint to look into health care diagnosis and management.  At first blush the event signals an entry of computers into the health care diagnosis arena.  But it is more significant.  It is the beginning of a major reformation in the way health care is delivered, and even the definition of “doctor”.   For those of you who like to think about how things might operate in the future here are a few brief thoughts about problems in health care and how the future might unfold.  (MORE)