From the book Moonwalking with Einstein:
“…even if facts don’t by themselves lead to understanding, you can’t have understanding without facts. And crucially, the more you know, the easier it is to know more. Memory is like a spiderweb that catches new information. The more it catches, the bigger it grows. And the bigger it grows, the more it catches.
…memory and intelligence do seem to go hand in hand, like a muscular frame and an athletic disposition. There’s a feedback loop between the two. The more tightly any new piece of information can be embedded into the web of information we already know, the more likely it is to be remembered. People who have more associations to hang their memories on are more likely to remember new things, which in turn means they will know more, and be able to learn more. The more we remember, the better we are at processing the world. And the better we are at processing the world, the more we can remember about it.”
From the Connecticut Chronicle:
Legalizing gay marriage will affect every family in the land, claimed Christian Voice.
The UK-based lobby group issued the controversial remarks following news that the way has been cleared for same-sex marriages to proceed in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The Supreme Court’s decision not to intercede in the wave of gay marriage rulings will almost immediately increase the number of states allowing same-sex marriage. But Christian Voice has warned that as this happens it will undermine the integrity of every marriage in the land by rearranging the family’s relationship to the state.
Robin Phillips, who wrote the controversial Christian Voice report, stated that “A government that recognizes such a thing as gay marriage is one that has assumed the god-like power to determined which collections of individuals constitute a ‘family.’ But by this assumption government declares both marriage and family to be little more than legal constructs at best, and gifts from the state at worst.”
Phillips, who is the author of the book Saints and Scoundrels and has campaigned widely against same-sex marriage in both American and Britain, added that “without the intervention of government, there are no pre-political, existential state of affairs that mark certain types of same-sex relationships out as being marriage within a state of nature.”
Read the entire article in the Connecticut Chronicle
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God as the Better Story
My teenage son and I sometimes get together with friends to watch movies and then analyze the worldview behind it. The last time we did this we watched Life of Pi, a movie based on Yann Martel’s book by the same title. The award-winning 2012 production is a beautiful drama full of stunning visual sequences which takes the viewer to the edge of fantasy while exploring important spiritual themes.
Directed by Ang Lee, the movie opens with a man named Pi telling a writer of his perilous journey from India to the coast of Mexico following a disaster at sea. As Pi narrates his epic adventure, we watch his survival with an unlikely travel companion: a fearsome Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
In Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows, he has a fascinating section on the difference between reading online and reading offline, which supplements some of the observations I made in my Touchstone article ‘Scripture in the Age of Google.’ The study Carr sites can be found here.
Would you exchange your boyfriend for a robot if he was better able to meet your needs?
One final piece of the puzzle must be put in place to understand our imminent psychological readiness to begin marrying our machines. In this post I will suggest that our online interactions are already priming us for the type of disembodied and narcissistic relationships necessary for marriage to robots to seem normal. I will argue that as our digital networks continue to weaken our emotional intelligence, sociable robots may soon answer the need of our narcissistic moment.
Part 1 of this ongoing series on human-robot marriage explored how popular opinion is gradually shifting from considering anthropological robots to be potentially hazardous to considering them as help-meets towards greater human flourishing. Far from being a matter only of science fiction, many serious thinkers see human-robot relationships as the next stage in our evolutionary development.
Part 2 continued this discussion by looking at some of the legal issues that scholars around the world are exploring as they are seeking to discover whether the legal infrastructure is already in place to legitimize the principle of marriage to mechanical humanoids.
This post continues that discussion by showing that our society already entertains a number of assumptions about ourselves and our world that could enable machine-human marriages to achieve widespread acceptance in the near future.
Dr. David Levy told LiveScience that around 2050, Massachusetts will probably be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots.
Romancing Robots: Legal Ramifications
Three years ago when I first came across the idea of humans marrying robots, I thought it was little more than the latest gimmick of the sex industry. But I knew I had to take the issue seriously when I began to see law publications discussing the legal ramifications of machine-people marriages.
My Lawfully Wedded Robot
The Matrix imagined a world dominated by machines.
In the 20th century there was a great deal of angst about computers becoming our enemies and taking over the world. This was reflected in movies like Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 A Space Odyssey. Kubrick’s film tells the story of a space mission that goes terribly wrong after Hal, the computer controlling U.S. spacecraft Discovery One, turns sinister and kills Dr. Frank Poole. Some of these themes were echoed in the 1999 hit The Matrix, set in a future age after computerized machines have subdued most of the human race through a simulated reality. In 2004, Will Smith stared in the movie I, Robot about a time in the future when robots, designed to be human helpers, turn on their masters and try to take over the earth.
The film Her raises intriguing questions about whether it might be possible, and desirable, to overcome the tension between physical and virtual reality.
Apprehension about machines becoming our enemies is still a very potent feature of our society. But gradually another theme is beginning to emerge in the public discourse. Instead of a dystopian future where our machines are our enemies, many people are starting to experiment with the possibility that we may be heading towards a utopian future where machines are our lovers.
The intriguing possibility of having a love relationship with a robot was explored last year by Spike Jonze’s movie Her. Though the movie deals with the tension and ultimate incompatibility between physical reality and virtual reality, the film raises intriguing questions about whether it might be possible, and desirable, to overcome this tension.