Cosmic Quote #98: R.I.P. Stephen Hawking

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”–Stephen Hawking

Hawking–his sense of humor was his secret to survival

Boy, can I ever relate to that philosophy.  It’s what underlies this blog.  It’s what keeps me going.  It  has kept my marriage alive for 40 years–so far.   Forget all his cosmic stuff–that quote is the best part of his legacy.


Seeking Delphi: SXSW minicast #2, Can We Create Consciousness in a Machine?

My first foray into the SXSW mega festival and conference has been a memorable one.  In covering the Intelligent future track for Seeking Delphi™ and Age of Robots magazine I’ve been able to meet and mingle with some of the smartest thinkers on the planet.  The post below is re-blogged, containing links to two podcasts recorded and produced on site in Austin.  I also had the amazing experience of gaining a personal interview with tech guru whurley (William Hurley).  That will be posted in the next couple of days and will be expanded into a feature in Age of Robots.

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”–Albert Einstein

For anyone who has watched the HBO series Westworld,  the questions about creating machine consciousness run much deeper than “can we.”  These include,  should we?  How will we treat it?  How will it feel about its station as artificial life?  Will we be able to control it, and is that ethical?  And most profoundly,  how will that change what it means to be human?  The questions go beyond ethical to existential, and they were all addressed in the SXSW Intelligent Future track in a panel titled Can We Create Consciousness In A Machine? Not surprisingly, there were two techno-philosophers on the panel to explore these issues.  They are David Chalmers, with NYU’s Center for Brain an Mind Consciousness, and Susan Schneider, with the Department of Cognitive Sciences at the University of Connecticut.  This session was part of the IEEE Tech for Humanity series at SXSW.  My thanks to Interprose and IEEE for helping to arrange the interviews.

In this Seeking Delphi™ minicast,  I speak with both of them about some of these issues.   The third panelist mentioned in the podcast is Allen Institute physicist, Kristoff Koch.

A reminder that this and all Seeking Delphi ™podcasts are available on iTunes, PlayerFM, and  YouTube.  You can also follow us on Facebook and on twitter @MarkSackler

David Chalmers

Susan Schneider








Special Edition SXSW 2018 mini-cast #2.

YouTube slide show of  Seeking Delphi™ SXSW 2018 minicast #2

In case you missed it, the YouTube slide show link for SXSW 2018 minicast #1, on covering sessions on quantum computing and self-driving car safety, is below.

A reminder that this and all Seeking Delphi ™podcasts are available on iTunes, PlayerFM, and  YouTube.  You can also follow us on Facebook and on twitter @MarkSackler


Cosmic Quote #97: R.I.P. Ursula Le Guin

“There are no right answers to wrong questions.”–Ursula K. Le Guin

Photo© Marian Wood Kolisch

I only ever read a single Ursula Le Guin book.  But it was the only one I ever really needed.  The Lathe of Heaven remains–now and forever–my favorite Science Fiction novel of all time.  It is must reading for anyone seriously interested in how things interact in our complex world, and what that might mean for our future.  Systems thinking, unintended consequences, and “think globally, act locally,” resound as themes throughout.  Read it.


Cosmic Quote #96

“One human data is worth a billion mice.”–Bioviva CEO, Elizabeth Parrish**

So what about goldfish data?  And don’t even ask about the mice’s point of view on human data.  All they care about is the cheese.

**Don’t look for this quote anywhere else on the internet–yet.  It comes directly from my interview with Parrish that will air on the next Seeking Delphi™ podcast, and appear in the March issue of Age of Robots.


Cosmic Quotes #95

“Ring out the false; ring in the true.”–Alfred Lord Tennyson

Happy belated New Year.  Let your resolution be to ring in the true.  I’ll take care of the rest.


Cosmic Quote #94

“Let’s be naughty and save Santa the trip.”–Gary Allan

Santa would never dare mess with my lawyer.  And I had naughty nailed decades ago.  Naughty or nice, enjoy the holiday season.  In a few days, we return to reality.


Seeking Delphi: Podcast #19, Ending Aging with Aubrey de Grey

“Aging is mostly the failure to repair.”–Gregory Benford

One man who agrees wholeheartedly with Gregory Benford is Aubrey de Grey.  He’s the author of Ending Aging, and chief science officer of the SENS Foundation, a 501-(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to researching the reversal of human aging.  His approach focuses on 7 areas of cellular and molecular damage, the repair of which he believes are be the keys to effective rejuvenation therapy. He joins me in this episode of Seeking Delphi™ for a lively discussion on the present state of the anti-aging art.

Links to relevant stories appear after the audio file and embedded YouTube video below.  A reminder that this and all Seeking Delphi ™podcasts are available on iTunes, PlayerFM, and has a channel on YouTube.  You can also follow us on Facebook

Follow me on twitter @MarkSackler









Episode #19, Ending Aging With Aubrey de Grey

YouTube slide show of Episode #19


Relevant links

Aubrey de Grey wikipedia bio

SENS Foundation

Elizabeth Parrish self-tests Bioviva gene therapy

Brian Hanley’s bold experiment

George Church’s ambitious plans

Laura Deming’s Longevity Fund

Information injected into monkey brains

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Cosmic Quote #93

“We view ourselves as separate from the cosmos, and separate from each other. The truth is, we are a continuum.  One line of code in an enormously  complex computational system.”–Gray Scott


Let’s just hope that code isn’t corrupt.  I have my doubts.


Cosmic Quote #92

“I tell you, we are here on earth to fart around, and don’t let anyone tell you different.”–Kurt Vonnegut

I always knew Kurt Vonnegut was a class guy.  As for the kid in the cartoon? I think that’s an 8-year-old Benny Hill.


Cosmic Quote #91

“Have you ever noticed you never get laid on Thanksgiving? I think it’s because all the coats are on the bed.”–George Carlin

Or in my house, because all our dogs are on the bed.  Drive safely and enjoy your turkey.

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