NEUROPLASTICITY THE MIT PRESS ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE SERIES

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Neuroplasticity

Author : Moheb Costandi
ISBN : 9780262529334
Genre : Science
File Size : 50.22 MB
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The real story of how our brains and nervous systems change throughout our lifetimes -- with or without "brain training."
Category: Science

Paradox

Author : Margaret Cuonzo
ISBN : 9780262525497
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 63.72 MB
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An introduction to paradoxes showing that they are more than mere puzzles but can prompt new ways of thinking.
Category: Philosophy

The Conscious Mind

Author : Zoltan Torey
ISBN : 9780262527101
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 37.14 MB
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How did the human mind emerge from the collection of neurons that makes up the brain? How did the brain acquire self-awareness, functional autonomy, language, and the ability to think, to understand itself and the world? In this volume in the Essential Knowledge series, Zoltan Torey offers an accessible and concise description of the evolutionary breakthrough that created the human mind. Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and linguistics, Torey reconstructs the sequence of events by which Homo erectus became Homo sapiens. He describes the augmented functioning that underpins the emergent mind -- a new ("off-line") internal response system with which the brain accesses itself and then forms a selection mechanism for mentally generated behavior options. This functional breakthrough, Torey argues, explains how the animal brain's "awareness" became self-accessible and reflective -- that is, how the human brain acquired a conscious mind. Consciousness, unlike animal awareness, is not a unitary phenomenon but a composite process. Torey's account shows how protolanguage evolved into language, how a brain subsystem for the emergent mind was built, and why these developments are opaque to introspection. We experience the brain's functional autonomy, he argues, as free will. Torey proposes that once life began, consciousness had to emerge -- because consciousness is the informational source of the brain's behavioral response. Consciousness, he argues, is not a newly acquired "quality," "cosmic principle," "circuitry arrangement," or "epiphenomenon," as others have argued, but an indispensable working component of the living system's manner of functioning.
Category: Philosophy

Understanding Beliefs

Author : Nils J. Nilsson
ISBN : 9780262321136
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 22.60 MB
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Our beliefs constitute a large part of our knowledge of the world. We have beliefs about objects, about culture, about the past, and about the future. We have beliefs about other people, and we believe that they have beliefs as well. We use beliefs to predict, to explain, to create, to console, to entertain. Some of our beliefs we call theories, and we are extraordinarily creative at constructing them. Theories of quantum mechanics, evolution, and relativity are examples. But so are theories about astrology, alien abduction, guardian angels, and reincarnation. All are products (with varying degrees of credibility) of fertile minds trying to find explanations for observed phenomena. In this book, Nils Nilsson examines beliefs: what they do for us, how we come to hold them, and how to evaluate them. We should evaluate our beliefs carefully, Nilsson points out, because they influence so many of our actions and decisions. Some of our beliefs are more strongly held than others, but all should be considered tentative and changeable. Nilsson shows that beliefs can be quantified by probability, and he describes networks of beliefs in which the probabilities of some beliefs affect the probabilities of others. He argues that we can evaluate our beliefs by adapting some of the practices of the scientific method and by consulting expert opinion. And he warns us about "belief traps" -- holding onto beliefs that wouldn't survive critical evaluation. The best way to escape belief traps, he writes, is to expose our beliefs to the reasoned criticism of others.
Category: Philosophy

Crowdsourcing

Author : Daren C. Brabham
ISBN : 9780262314251
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 35.8 MB
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Ever since the term "crowdsourcing" was coined in 2006 by Wired writer Jeff Howe, group activities ranging from the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary to the choosing of new colors for M&Ms have been labeled with this most buzz-generating of media buzzwords. In this accessible but authoritative account, grounded in the empirical literature, Daren Brabham explains what crowdsourcing is, what it is not, and how it works. Crowdsourcing, Brabham tells us, is an online, distributed problem solving and production model that leverages the collective intelligence of online communities for specific purposes set forth by a crowdsourcing organization -- corporate, government, or volunteer. Uniquely, it combines a bottom-up, open, creative process with top-down organizational goals. Crowdsourcing is not open source production, which lacks the top-down component; it is not a market research survey that offers participants a short list of choices; and it is qualitatively different from predigital open innovation and collaborative production processes, which lacked the speed, reach, rich capability, and lowered barriers to entry enabled by the Internet. Brabham describes the intellectual roots of the idea of crowdsourcing in such concepts as collective intelligence, the wisdom of crowds, and distributed computing. He surveys the major issues in crowdsourcing, including crowd motivation, the misconception of the amateur participant, crowdfunding, and the danger of "crowdsploitation" of volunteer labor, citing real-world examples from Threadless, InnoCentive, and other organizations. And he considers the future of crowdsourcing in both theory and practice, describing its possible roles in journalism, governance, national security, and science and health.
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Machine Learning

Author : Ethem Alpaydin
ISBN : 9780262529518
Genre : Computers
File Size : 87.91 MB
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A concise overview of machine learning -- computer programs that learn from data -- which underlies applications that include recommendation systems, face recognition, and driverless cars.
Category: Computers

Memes In Digital Culture

Author : Limor Shifman
ISBN : 9780262525435
Genre : Computers
File Size : 74.82 MB
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Taking "Gangnam Style" seriously: what Internet memes can tell us about digital culture.
Category: Computers

Information And Society

Author : Michael Buckland
ISBN : 9780262533386
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 61.81 MB
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A short, informal account of our ever-increasing dependence on a complex multiplicity of messages, records, documents, and data.
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Synesthesia

Author : Richard E. Cytowic
ISBN : 9780262346290
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 58.65 MB
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One in twenty-three people carry the genes for the synesthesia. Not a disorder but a neurological trait -- like perfect pitch -- synesthesia creates vividly felt cross-sensory couplings. A synesthete might hear a voice and at the same time see it as a color or shape, taste its distinctive flavor, or feel it as a physical touch. In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Richard Cytowic, the expert who returned synesthesia to mainstream science after decades of oblivion, offers a concise, accessible primer on this fascinating human experience. Cytowic explains that synesthesia's most frequent manifestation is seeing days of the week as colored, followed by sensing letters, numerals, and punctuation marks in different hues even when printed in black. Other manifestations include tasting food in shapes, seeing music in moving colors, and mapping numbers and other sequences spatially. One synesthete declares, "Chocolate smells pink and sparkly"; another invents a dish (chicken, vanilla ice cream, and orange juice concentrate) that tastes intensely blue. Cytowic, who in the 1980s revived scientific interest in synesthesia, sees it now understood as a spectrum, an umbrella term that covers five clusters of outwardly felt couplings that can occur via several pathways. Yet synesthetic or not, each brain uniquely filters what it perceives. Cytowic reminds us that each individual's perspective on the world is thoroughly subjective.
Category: Psychology

The Technological Singularity

Author : Murray Shanahan
ISBN : 9780262527804
Genre : Computers
File Size : 38.35 MB
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The idea of technological singularity, and what it would mean if ordinary human intelligence were enhanced or overtaken by artificial intelligence.
Category: Computers