Category: Materialism


Will Androids Ever Feel Real? The Turing Test and Cultural Autism

25th May

Have you ever heard of the Turing test? Years ago, I encountered it in Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter’s 1981 book The Mind’s I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul. It’s bugged me ever since. Put forth by Alan Turing in a 1950 paper on computing and intelligence, Turing proposed a simple and apparently straightforward way to assess whether computers could actually think. Since defining “thinking” is tricky–because immediately we find ourselves grappling with questions about the nature of consciousness or intelligence–Turing suggested that we skip all of the deeper philosophical questions with an empirical test: if a human interviewer was to receive written answers to questions posed to two entities hidden from view, a computer and a person, would it be possible for the computer to “trick” the interviewer into believing that it was the human? If so, if the computer was able to convince someone that it is capable of doing what we (thinking … Read More »


What Is Spirituality?

9th May

Today Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber did their first audio internet-based seminar—bringing the much loved Guru and Pandit dialogues from EnlightenNext magazine live into homes around the world. (There were over 600 who signed up for the seminar, hailing from all over the globe—including New Zealand, Dubai, India, and China.) These two pioneering thinkers worked seamlessly together to open up our understanding of Spirit in the four quadrants of Integral Theory, as the three faces of God, from the ground of Being to the creative thrust of Eros, and across the evolutionary trajectory. It was quite a ride!

One of the points that Ken made at the end of the day really struck me. He said that mainstream liberals (those folks who are reviled by the Right for highjacking our media, among other dastardly deeds) make no distinctions about anything that … Read More »





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