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


Seeking Delphi: 3D Printing Explosion: Cars,Boats, Homes, Even Human Bodies

Another highlight from my Seeking Delphi  blog and podcast.  You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or YouTube or listen via the audio file embedded in each accompanying web page.


“Whatever good things we build end up building us.”– Jim Rohn

I can’t say for sure if the quote above was intended literally, but it is now becoming literally true.  The applications of additive manufacturing–better known as 3D printing–are expanding to include food, body parts, cars, and even entire buildings.  In this episode of the Seeking Delphi™  podcast, I talk with one of the gurus of this technology, Dr. Paul Tinari, of .  He’s working on a project the scope of which would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

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

Episode #7, Additive Manufacturing: We Are What We Print 21:07

(YouTube slideshow)

Paul Tinari Bio

Russian space agency recruiting cosmonauts for 2031 lunar landing mission

Ray Kurzweil revises his singularity forecast to 2029

The U.S. military seeks to “understand” its autonomous machines

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Seeking Delphi: The Abolition of Aging, Part 1

Note: In a shameless act of self promotion, I will occasionally share posts from my futurist blog/podcast Seeking Delphi on this site.  Today’s post is a reblog of the first podcast episode, originally aired in last January, on one of the most controversial topics facing futurists–and humanity–today.

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.”–Woody Allen

In episode one of Seeking Delphi, the podcast, I talk with David Wood, chair of  London Futurists, about his book The Abolition of Aging. Relevant links to this weeks’ show below the audio track.  This is part 1 of a two part program.  This week: can we do it?  Next week: Should we do it, and if we do it, what are the implications?  These podcasts are now available for subscription on YouTube and  iTunes.

David Wood

Episode #1: The Abolition of Aging, Part 1;  running time 26:9

David Wood bio

The Abolition of Aging by David Wood

Immortality by Dr. Ben Bova

Chinese exoscale computer

5G 2035 Economic Forecast

Airbus Flying Cars

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Cosmic Quote #76–YouTube and Seeking Delphi Podcast

“I’m sure if Shakespeare were alive today, he’d be doing classic guitar solos on YouTube.”–Peter Capaldi

Yeah…um….NO!  I doubt it.  Shakespeare had his anachronisms, but that’s pushing it.  As for the animals in my household, well, they’ll have to be satisfied with Tales of a Veterinary Spouse.  But my Seeking Delphi podcasts are indeed now on YouTube, as well as iTunes.  All the subscription links are below. Way below.  Below the embedded videos of the first three podcasts.   Sorry, no funny cat pictures–this stuff is too important to get flippant.  Our future depends on it.


Seeking Delphi YouTube Channel


Seeking Delphi on iTunes




Mark’s Neologisms #2

“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out the window.”–Steve Wozniak

computus interruptus— n. the spontaneous unwanted shutdown of a program or app on a computer, tablet or smart phone.



computus interuptus

We’ve all been there.   You’re just about done with the spread sheet, or you just found the eatery you want on Yelp, or you are on the verge of a record score on some dumb game.  And then you click or tap or swipe and the program or app shuts down.  Poof.  It’s gone.  Dear Mr. Hawking, please tell us which black hole it fell into and how do we get it back?  Or do we do the Wozniakian thing and throw the device out the window?  Oh look, I just created another neologism.  Wozniakian.  Isn’t this fun?



Cosmic Quote(s) #49

“Sometimes it is the people nobody imagines anything of who do things nobody can imagine.”–Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke in The Imitation Game

“Machines take me by surprise with great frequency”–Alan Turing

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game.  No, that is not Sherlock Holmes.

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game. No, that is not Sherlock Holmes.

Allow me for one second to depart from my usual flippancy and be serious for a minute.  The Imitation Game, starring Benecdict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, is one of the most important movies I have ever seen.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, there is a good chance you know who Turing is, or at least have heard the name.   Whether you do, or do not, you should see this movie.  It will leave you with an indelible impression of Turing’s profound contribution to the world we live in today.  I know it did me.


Equations of Everday Life #1.1: Smartphone Distraction Update

“What’s the killer app?  Making a phone call.”–Steve Jobs

“I only have dummy phones.”–Don Rickles

With the announcement of the new iPhone models 5S and 5C its time to revisit, with slight modification, the original post of this series.  Appropriately enough, I now use an app on my iPhone for tracking my bicycle treks.  So now I have distracted cycling to go along with distracted everything else.  To paraphrase Don Rickles, we only have dummies with phones.  Present company?  No comment.  For the original version of this post, click here.







Don’t be deceived.  It is far more complicated than it looks.   Where attention to the outside world in the absence of a smart phone (Aa)equals 1, then attention to the outside world in the presence of a smartphone (As) is approximately equal to the inverse of the number of cool apps on said smartphone (n) times the I-Phone or equivalent model number (m).    Yes, approximately equal to—because nothing is that precise in the quantum mechanical world of electronics, and anyway I like using that smart looking squiggly thingy over the equal sign.   Taking the example of my own I-Phone 4, I have 14 apps I would describe as being “cool.”  As 14 x 4 is 56, then when I am packing my phone, my attention level to the outside world is an astonishingly small 1/56th of normal.  This is dangerous.  As I’m reputed to be a major space shot to begin with,  I should probably be banned from breathing and texting at the same time.   But that calculation can wait for another day, as even the basics get much more complicated.


What will happen if I upgrade to the new I-Phone 5s and add the pernicious feature known as Siri?

It gets ugly in a hurry.  The equation now looks like this:


Yikes!  We now have to square the denominator and in the personal example stated above, my attention level would be 1/702of my normally spaced out self.  This computes to 1/4900.

I don’t know if the Planck length applies to this,  but a few more apps and new models and my attention level will certainly approach it.  Also note that the “s” on the right side of the equation stands for Siri and has no numerical value.  It just makes the equation appear more complex and disguises my general ignorance of advanced mathematics. Anyway, this demonstrates why I don’t yet have Siri.  If I did, I would have proposed to her long ago and been off to Vegas for a quickie divorce from my wife by now.  Ah, for the days when the internet was still in black and white.

Endnote:  The addition of the new model 5C creates a conundrum.  How should we calculate for that, and for that matter, what’s the difference? Well, C apparently stands for cheap, and that’s as in construction, not price.   Any suggestions how to compute that?


Google This! Search Term Haiku #2

“Anything too stupid to be spoken is sung.”–Voltaire Used by permission
Used by permission

If Voltaire were alive today, he would have said “anything too stupid to be spoken is Googled.”

And with that missive, folks, it’s time for another thrilling rendition of Search Term Haiku.   To recap,  this feature was inspired by blogger  Elkement  when she created search term poetry on her blog, Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything.     She suggested I try my hand at it, and I did her one better.   I created search term Haiku,  which must abide by the following rules:


  1. Every phrase must come from search terms actually used to find this blog, per my WordPress stats page.
  2. The poems must follow the accepted Anglicized format of the traditional Japanese art form: three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively.
  3. Each line must constitute an actual individual search term phrase, verbatim.  The only changes allowed are punctuation and truncation.  (Phrases may be taken from within search terms).
  4. Words may not be changed or rearranged. Typos and misspellings must not be corrected.

The poems below have all been created using search terms that have appeared on my WordPress stats page since the last Search Term Haiku post in January of this year.  It should be noted:  adding stories to this blog about my life as the husband of a veterinarian has opened up a whole new world of gross search terms.  I did not make these up, I swear it.  Enjoy.


What does poop look like?

Images found on Facebook

When you have pinworms


Science Class

Why is the sky plue*?

To Teach Physics to Your Dog

Erwin Schroedinger



Ah, Me

Mark Sacler* part 3

When you have enough quotes

Rat and pig cartoon



Canine Crazy

Dog eats brillo pad

At subatomic level

Mental enema




Small lazy black dog

Veterinarian spouse

The wife of Luffy

* SIC (typos reproduced accurately.)


Cosmic Quote #19

“Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born.”–Alan Kay

Image credit: Andy

Image credit: Andy Singer

Gee, the world hasn’t changed all that much in my lifetime, has it?  It’s not like people were still communicating with smoke signals in my infancy.  Let’s see–what didn’t exist when I was born?  Color TV.  Stereophonic sound.  Jet airliners.  Solid state circuitry.  NASA.  Computers smaller than a log cabin.   Ouch!  Mark!  Don’t remind yourself how old you are.  See folks, technology has me talking to myself.  I know… I know… that’s what blogging amounts to in the first place.  Now, back to the salt mines…


Time Out: Google This! Search Term Haiku

“If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.”–Jimmy Wales


The last thing you want to do is throw down a challenge to this blogger.  Ever.  But that’s exactly what Elke Stangl did when she created search term poetry on her blog, Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything.  First of all, Elke has a resume that reads like a character from The Big Bang Theory. She describes her self as a physicist turned IT security consultant turned renewable energy engineer–all this plus a stint with Microsoft.   But that aside, her big mistake was suggesting that I try my hand at search term poetry.  I will not be outdone.   Be careful what you wish for Elke, cause here comes Search Term Haiku.  The rules are simple, but the creation is anything but easy.

  1. Every word must come from search terms actually used to find this blog, per my WordPress stats page
  2. The poems must follow the accepted Anglicized format of the traditional Japanese art form: three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively.
  3. Each line must constitute an actual individual search term phrase, verbatim.  The only change allowed is punctuation.

You asked for it, Elke.  So here they are.  (Note:  I may have to bestow a BLAHS on Elke for inspiring this idea.  But not the next one, as that has already been determined and will be posted soon.)



Siri lacks humor.

Did Schroedinger’s Cat Blow up

Albert Einstein’s hair?


Non Sequitor

Stupid search engine:

16 Times 4 equals what?

Lawn bowling cartoons



What’s in a name?


Mahatma Gandhi

Luna Rosa Pirana

Lindsay Lohan meme



Canine Crazy


Are Dogs Chaotic?

If you roll the dice enough times

I’m part schipperke.



Quixotically Quantum


Haldane conjecture:

Many worlds are around us

so why don’t you leave.

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