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Are We As Humans Really That Different From Computers?

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 Psychologically and even physiologically we tend to think of our technology in anthropomorphic terms and these days sometimes our computers seem to almost be alive.

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There is ample science fiction written about machines becoming conscious and taking over, along with the famous Turing Test of whether a machine’s communication could ever be mistaken completely for human. So with my own background in software training, and looking ahead to this week’s Science and Nonduality Conference in San Jose where the nature of the “Self” is a huge topic, I want to explore this more deeply: where is the “identity” in the computer actually  located (if at all) and how does it coincide with our own similar inquiry.

The genesis of this is once again my own work with Michael Jeffreys who often does a similar inquiry, and comes up with the realization that the “I” is the earliest sensation that was ever felt— and then the question arises – “if I am a feeling — Who or What felt it?”

Where Is The “I” In Your Computer?

The first place to begin with the computer would be the CPU or the chip; we often describe a PC as its Pentium (Intel) chip as in “I bought an i5 from Hewlett-Packard or Gateway.” For apple users -who I notice tend to have a bit more of a tendency to personalize and even “fall in love” with their devices -it would be referred to as their iMac or Macbook Air for example.

But the chip -while it is certainly the brain and processing center for the information that flows through the computer -is clearly not its identity because there are millions of identical chips, and even though the ONE in your PC might have a unique serial number (like your own social security number), once the electricity is turned off, it’s dead.  When you go to sleep, at least you wake up. The chip alone does nothing.

If you’ve ever listened to the beep-beep when the computer “boots up” you may know that there is a “BIOS” or basic input/output system that comes with the chip as primary software before the hard drive is accessed.  This is what allows the disk to communicate with the peripherals like the hard drive and monitor so that anything can begin to happen.

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But this robotic set of commands isn’t a self—first of all every Gateway or Mac uses the same set of BIOS, and similarly we can dismiss the operating system, even though it may have another unique serial number, even if it can be “personalized” with a desktop or set of custom features. It is only when we begin to personalize further, with a set of programs and files that are created within the machine itself that a seemingly unique identity seems to take shape.

In fact the software, which can make calculations and even decisions like when to “wake up” (using commands that “you” have programmed) seems to be the “thinking” in the machine that makes it most human. But here we can begin to see that even such “thought” clearly does not constitute a self because it proceeds according to a program originally designed by others, and even if customized and personalized, with files saved in a personal repository or “memory,” there is always another program, file or thought that supersedes what has been “saved.”

Of course, who is making these decisions and “inputs” with a mouse or keyboard – “you” the “end user” – but that’s another “story,” isn’t it?

The Computer As We Know It

Let’s take this unit as an entity as we now know it—the computer no longer exists in isolation even with its operating system and programs and files and personal settings. After all, we can “back up” our data (or self perhaps) and reinstall it into another machine (different serial number) and it will behave almost identically as the original. Not only that, we now have merged our own information and settings with the Internet – a massive network or “cloud” from which our own data and that of others is sometimes indistinguishable.

What is so interesting about this is that in neuroscience, where we often look for a “self” organically and assume that one exists, we now know that nothing permanent really “exists” other than electrical signals between synapses (gaps between neurons) that also comprise “neural networks” of thought and presumably emotion and sensation. These of course are instructed by our own software (DNA) as well as what we now call “Epigenetics” or the “inputs” or influences of the environment –both in terms of impressions and the apparent behavior of other human “selves” and nature –weather, disease, food intake, and so on.

So indeed, the most advanced machine that we have created “in our own image” can begin to make us fathom the depth of our own inability to isolate an individual, permanent or even transitory but consistent Self. And if we look deeply we notice that indeed, our neural networks are one “self” with our family, another “self” with our colleagues and hundreds of other selves in different circumstances—some of which we seem to be able to influence, and others that seem to go on automatic pilot and “impulse.”

If we turn our attention finally to the energetic component of computers, we must eventually recognize that we are “software” –but not just any software but an application or executable –or a program that seems to do things for a limited period of time and then ends. As Buckminster Fuller once said,

“I seem to be a verb.”

This software or energetic component is the closest thing in a computer to what we call Life, but having done this inquiry we can now see clearly that in terms of identity, as Eckhart Tolle says,

“we don’t have a life [or permanent identity], we ARE Life.”

And like software or the temporary self of a computer, we are “no thing” but rather something fleeting, ephemeral, indefinable and mysterious—from which all further scientific investigation must proceed.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Beijing Doctors Said 7 Coma Patients Would Not Wake Up — AI Predicted The Opposite, And Was Right

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    AI technology has outsmarted doctors when it comes to coma patients. The lives of at least 7 individuals have been saved as a result.

  • Reflect On:

    Given the serious questions about AI, are there are ways that AI technology can aid our current systems on the planet? How do we decide when we have gone too far with AI?

Sometimes after tragic accidents, people lose their consciousness and enter a coma or unresponsive state. Doctors usually make the call as to whether or not there is any point in keeping these people alive or if the family should consider “pulling the plug.” Doctors know best, right?

Well, recently there were at least seven patients in Beijing who doctors said had no hope of being able to regain consciousness, they were then re-evaluated by an artificial intelligence system that predicted these patients would awaken within a year. Guess what? They did.

One of the awakened patients was a 19-year-old who spent six months with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome after an accident that left him with a severe injury to his left temple. Some of China’s top neurologists conducted numerous rounds of assessment to determine his potential for a recovery. They gave him seven out of a possible 23 points on the coma recovery scale, this score gave his family members the legal rights to take him off of life support if they chose to do so.

After going through his brain scans the computer software assessed him with over 20 points, which is much closer to the full score, which would mean a recovery.

Another patient was a 41-year-old female who was victim to a stroke; she had been in an unresponsive state for three months and had been assessed with a recovery score of six. The computers estimate? 20.23.

The two aforementioned individuals, in addition to five more patients who were also in an unresponsive state, who doctors had predicted would not recover or wake up, did within 12 months of the scan done by the artificial intelligence, just as predicted.

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The Machine Also Made Some Mistakes

Perhaps this is a good time to believe in the power of miracles, a 36-year-old man who had suffered bilateral brainstem damage after suffering from a stroke was given low scores by both the doctors and the AI. He still fully recovered in less than a year.

This AI system was developed after eight years of research, which was conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and PLA General Hospital in Beijing and so far has achieved nearly 90 percent accuracy on all prognostic assessments.

Some of the results of this research were published in the journal, eLife.

“We have successfully predicted a number of patients who regained consciousness after being initially determined to have no hope of recovery,” the researchers said in a statement.

“At present, there are more than 500,000 patients with chronic disturbance of consciousness caused by brain trauma, stroke, and hypoexic encephalopathy with an annual increase of 70,000 to 100,000 patients in China, which brings great mental pain and a heavy burden to families and society,” they added.

“The possible prediction of the recovery of patient consciousness will directly affect the choice of clinical treatment strategies, and even the choice of life or death by the patient’s relatives.”

Associate researcher with the Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the first author of this study, Dr. Song Ming, explained how the system they developed was different from other AI methods used in the diagnoses of diseases like cancer, “our machine can ‘see’ things invisible to the human eyes,” he said.

So How Does This Technology Work?

The patients are analyzed using a brain scan that includes functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI. This technology is able to chart the activity in the brain by measuring even the smallest changes in blood flow.

Because there are so many neural activities going on at once, they are not always directly visible to doctors, however the AI system is equipped with machine learning algorithms and is able to detect these changing details more accurately and recognize patterns that were previously unknown in past cases.

“The AI system assumes that every patient still has consciousness,” Song said. “Its job is to determine the likelihood they will come to within a certain period.

“It will never replace doctors. It is just a tool to help doctors and families make better decisions.”

The Positive Potential Of AI

Many, including myself for the most part, are generally under the impression that AI is something that we should be wary of, and I stand by that statement. But in instances such as these, we can see how this technology is developed and how when used by the right hands can actually be an amazing gift to humanity. There are many instances where AI and other forms of tech can drastically enhance our current models of doing things, with more precision and accuracy. It shouldn’t all be dismissed right away, and it shouldn’t all be given the green light either. We have to be able to use discernment and determine whether or not we are using this technology for the right reasons and what the potential implications of bringing in these new technological advancements to our lives and current system.

Much Love

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Scientists Discover A New & Efficient Way To Turn Sunlight Into Fuel

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new process is able to effectively turn sunlight into fuel by combining natural processes and human made technologies.

  • Reflect On:

    With all of the emerging alternative energy sources that are becoming available to us, do we really need to be burning fossil fuels any longer?

The sun is a big burning ball of fire and thus, energy. Really, everything is energy. We already know that it is the light and warmth of the sun that gives life to every living thing on this planet. We have already seen an example of how the sun’s energy can be utilized to create power with the rapidly increasing use of solar panels, but researchers from St. John’s College, University of Cambridge, have now discovered a new way to utilize energy from the sun and turn it into fuel. Yes fuel — the type of fuel that could directly compete with fossil fuels.

The researchers used semi-artificial photosynthesis to explore new ways to produce and store solar energy. Using natural sunlight to separate hydrogen and oxygen including the use of a combination of biological components and human made technologies.

This research could revolutionize the way we are currently utilizing the sun for renewable energy production. Their method was able to absorb even more solar light than the natural process of photosynthesis. A paper, published in the journal Nature Energy described how the researchers were able to develop this process of unassisted, solar driven water splitting.

One of the authors of the study and PhD student at St. John’s college, Katarzyna Sokól said, “Natural photosynthesis is not efficient because it has evolved merely to survive so it makes the bare minimum amount of energy needed — around 1-2 percent of what it could potentially convert and store. “

One of the keys to this process is an ancient enzyme known as hydrogenase.

“Hydrogenase is an enzyme present in algae that is capable of reducing protons into hydrogen,” Sokól added.

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“During evolution this process has been deactivated because it was necessary for survival but we successfully managed to bypass the inactivity to achieve the reaction we wanted — splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.”

The process of mimicking photosynthesis in order to collect and store energy is something that scientists have been experimenting with for years. However, according to Sokól, the earlier technologies are not capable of scaling up to industrial models for a myriad of different reasons — either they are too expensive, or inefficient of use materials could also pose a risk to the environment.

The team took the approach to create an electrochemical cell, similar to a traditional battery, but based on the light-collecting biochemistry of a process called photosystem II. This was able to provide the necessary voltage that is required for the hydrogenase enzyme to do do it’s job and reduce the amount of hydrogen in water so that it can separate from oxygen and become the gas it was born to be.

Although this process may sound simple, connecting artificial systems with natural and organic processes has proved to be quite challenging.

“This work overcomes many difficult challenges associated with the integration of biological and organic components into inorganic materials for the assembly of semi-artificial devices and opens up a toolbox for developing future systems for solar energy conversion,” says, Erwin Resner, author and laboratory head.

There is much more research that needs to be done, but this is a huge and important step towards being able to fully utilize this method for an alternate fuel source.

“This could be a great platform for developing solar technologies. The approach could be used to couple other reactions together to see what can be done, learn from these reactions and then build synthetic, more robust pieces of solar energy technology,” says Sokól.

“It’s exciting that we can selectively choose the processes we want, and achieve the reaction we want which is inaccessible in nature. This could be a great platform for developing solar technologies. The approach could be used to couple other reactions together to see what can be done, learn from these reactions and then build synthetic, more robust pieces of solar energy technology,” she added.

Final Note

While this is certainly a plus in the direction of moving toward new energy systems, these technologies have advanced counterparts in the realm of zero-point energy that can make an even greater impact on humanity, without the need for sunlight.

The challenge? It has often been said that if ‘free energy’ like technologies come out prior to humanity shifting their consciousness enough to truly handle these technologies, we will in essence use them in the exact same way we do now: patent them, limit them and then charge people extensively for energy. This does not help to free the population, but only keeps it enslaved, and abundance limited.

Much Love

 

 

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Wi-Fi Security – Measures to Prevent Technology Enabled Crimes

Every Wi-Fi user must know how to adopt security measures that will prevent them from becoming victims of wireless technology crimes.

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Considered as one of the greatest advancement since the Internet, Wi-Fi wireless networking technology has given mobility to computers. People use wireless technology in the office, at home, and in public places. Unless Wi-Fi users adopt some sort of security, various problems can result when computers transmit unsecured information to one another.

Bandwidth theft, exposed e-mail messages, password or user name theft, and hijacked online identity rank among the top problems brought about by unsecured Wi-Fi transmissions. Every Wi-Fi user must know how to secure their computer.

Use WPA Instead of WEP Encryption

Encryption protocols are used to make network traffic more secure by encoding data packets that are transmitted thereon. Unfortunately, some wireless routers don’t have encryption enable or use the weaker WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy) security protocol.

It is well known that WEP security keys are easy to break and therefore network administrators should use the WPA or WPA2 protocols. Even if a router doesn’t support the more secure WPA or WPA2 protocols, WEP should be used; it is better than nothing.

Install a Firewall on Every Computer and Server

A firewall is the most basic and fundamental network security measure there is to secure wireless networks. While Wi-Fi routers can be used to extend the range of networks, they also make the network more vulnerable. A firewall will need to be installed on every computer to ward off security threats. This should be done even if the wireless router has a firewall installed on it.

Use Virtual Private Network (VPN)

B­asically, VPNs form a private network that uses a public network (usually the Internet) to connect remote sites or users together. VPNs use authenticated links to make sure that only authorized users can connect to a network. It also uses encryption to make sure that others can’t intercept and can’t use data that travels over the Internet. Numerous websites offer both free and paid VPN versions. VPNbase is one of them.

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Reduce the Transmitter Power of Network Access Points

Part of the convenience of using wireless networks is the ability to access services remotely. This strength also becomes a weakness, because others can see, and potentially use the network as well, especially when a powerful transmitter/antenna is being used.

To limit how far outside the premises the wireless signal travels, reduce the power output of wireless antennas. This requires some tweaking to find the right setting, because reducing the signal output of antennas also reduces the network’s service delivery and quality.

Disable Remote Administration

WLAN (wireless local area network) routers often come with the ability for a network administrator to remotely configure the router. By default, this feature is usually turned off and should stay that way if remote administration is not absolutely necessary. While network administrators can usually set passwords, to secure access to the router’s control panel, leaving the feature enabled could leave the network vulnerable as well.

Remove or Disable Weak Passwords and Access Codes

Ensure that all default passwords and access codes that come preset on network equipment are changed or disabled. Access the router’s web interface and update all settings that have a bearing on network security. Be sure the use strong passwords as well.

Physically Secure your Wireless Network Equipment

Hardware devices typically come with a hard reset button. Making network equipment readily available to be physically handled by anyone who wishes to do so puts the network at risk. Secure all critical and sensitive equipment in rooms or equipment racks.

Don’t Broadcast the Network’s SSID

To allow for the easy setup of wireless clients, most wireless access points will broadcast the SSID (Service Set IDentifier), or network name. While broadcasting the SSID makes setting up wireless clients easier, it also makes WLANs visible to wireless devices that are within range, including those that are malicious. Turn off SSID broadcast to make the network invisible and more secure.

Simple Wireless Network Security

Ensuring that a wireless network is secure is an ongoing responsibility. Wireless network threats, such as those posed by hackers and viruses can be thwarted by some common sense approaches such as physically securing network equipment and using strong encryption methods and technologies. However, the most effective security measures are those that seek to cover all the known security vulnerabilities.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
Continue Reading
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