Jack Ma believes that artificial intelligence can lead to the outbreak of the World War 3.


Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, president of Alibaba, joins the list of personalities including Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking – who are alarming about the disaster that artificial intelligence can bring.

Jack Ma/Alibaba artificial intelligence
Jack Ma

“The first technological revolution led to the First World War, the second technological revolution led to the Second World War. This is the third technological revolution, “said Jack Ma in an interview with CNBC at Gateway 2017.

To avoid this, I believe that governments need to help citizens adapt to new requirements by investing more in education. People will not be replaced, however, by robots, because they have a characteristic that the machines will lack: wisdom. “I do not think the cars or the artificial intelligence will be able to replace wisdom,” President Alibaba said.

Stephen Hawking Says Trump’s Climate Policy Could “Push Earth Over The Brink”


The legendary physicist Stephen Hawking is celebrating his 75th year on this planet with a grand cosmology conference in his honour held this week at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Ahead of this event Hawking spoke to BBC News, sharing his grave disappointment and concern with the direction Earth’s climate is taking, especially in light of US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

 “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” Hawking told BBC’s Pallab Ghosh.

“Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.”

Now, the famous scientist was certainly being a touch hyperbolic here, as is wont for someone who has spent his career in the public eye, making headlines with every new discovery and popular science book.

While our planet is without a doubt undergoing the effects of anthropogenic climate change, the kind of runaway greenhouse gas effect that is actually happening on Earth’s ‘evil twin’ Venus is not really our most immediate concern.

A 2013 study did predict that a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth “could in theory be triggered by increased greenhouse forcing”, but added that, based on the available data, emissions wouldn’t be enough to cause this.

But even if we’re not about to be melted down to our skeletons in sulphuric acid rain, Hawking still has a point.

 

“By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children,” he added.

It’s already too late to prevent the full effect that climate change is going to have on our planet. Over the course of the 20th century, Earth’s average temperature increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius), which may not sound like much, but actually amounts to huge environmental changes.

As that average temperature climbs even higher, temperature anomalies are going to swing all over the shop, with weather extremes hot on their heels. There will be more hurricanes, more heat waves, more record temperatures, loss of sea ice and changing seasonal patterns everywhere.

For people who accept the reality of scientific consensus on climate change, it’s now become a question of how best to mitigate all these effects, and the Paris Climate Agreement was the result of 195 countries coming together to say “let’s finally do this”.

When a major world power decides to renege on these international efforts, it’s natural to feel pessimistic – although Professor Hawking has seemed to be pessimistic about humanity’s prospects for a while now.

Just last month he reiterated that if humans are to persist as a species, our only choice is to explore other planets as quickly as possible, so that we can one day travel beyond our own Solar System.

“Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth,” Hawking said at a science festival in Norway.

The leap to a backup plan off world is a lot harder than fixing this one Goldilocks planetwe’ve got. But at least for worst case scenario planning, it’s good to know NASAJapan, and China are all working on new lunar missions as a stepping stone to putting spaceboots on Mars.

World Renowned Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease


We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.”  Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

It Is Not Working!

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.

Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.

Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defence to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process,a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.

What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body? Well,smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully.

The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart diseasestroke, diabetes and obesity.

Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.

Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.

Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.

How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?

Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.

When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.

What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.

While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.

Let’s get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6’s are essential -they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell — they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s.

If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation.

Today’s mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.

To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and finally, Alzheimer’s disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.

There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.

There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down on or eliminate inflammation- causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them.

One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef.

Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labelled polyunsaturated. Forget the “science” that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.

The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.

What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.

Edward Snowden Reveals Intricate Details about Earth’s Innermost Inhabitants. 


Among the groundbreaking disclosures forwarded by Edward Snowden to humanity, one speaks of the possibility of the inner earth being populated by an advanced civilization that had been monitoring us ever since the beginning.


By some he’s considered a traitor, but some think of him as a hero. Edward Snowden had the courage to reveal secrets that the world deserved to know, and among the relevant facts made public, few are told regarding UFOs and extraterrestrial beings.

According to some documents copied from the CIA, the U.S. government has long known about the existence of highly intelligent species, more advanced than humanity. While we were busy gazing the starts for an otherworldly race of humanoids with their disc-shaped UFOs, they were in fact under our very noses, probably for millions of years, and far ahead of us in technological development.

Taking a closer look at Earth’s geology and we’ll see its rigid crust, a rather thin layer of rock that divides the continents and the ocean floor. The crust sits on tectonic plates that shift slowly in time in the lithosphere. At the bottom of the tectonic plates, around 80 to 100 kilometers below the surface, the asthenosphere begins.

Earth’s inner flow occurs in the asthenosphere, and the convection phenomenon at this level is believed to assist the perpetual motion of tectonic plates, but the exact method and visual aspect of the frontier between the lithosphere and asthenosphere is not yet clear. The CIA stocks data tracking systems and deep-sea sonar imagery, but the high-level confidentiality status prohibits the scientists’ access in the absence of specific security clearance.

This type of intelligent Homo Sapiens may have evolved differently, considering the much more stable climate inside the planet. The general consensus is that we’re just ants from their point of view, and there is a small chance that they’ll intervene in our world’s affairs, of those from the surface who struggle with their not so beneficent existence.

So if you have an an alien civilization trying to listen for other civilizations, or our civilization trying to listen for aliens, there’s only one small period in the development of their society when all of their communication will be sent via the most primitive and most unprotected means.

So when we think about everything that we’re hearing through our satellites or everything that they’re hearing from our civilization (if there are indeed aliens out there), all of their communications are encrypted by default.

“So what we are hearing, that’s actually an alien television show, or you know, a phone call… is indistinguishable to us from cosmic microwave background radiation.”

 Having these uncertainties in reference to Earth’s inner structure and layer appearance leaves room for serious suspicions, since the Earth’s mantle could provide better living conditions than its surface. Jules Verne may have been onto something big that might prove to be as real as it can get, while we are taught to believe that everything related to fiction is rejected by the dull reality we live in.

But is this really the case? Is the material realm that we live in fully explored and understood by humanity’s scientific tools? Or is it rather a mirage from which we cannot escape unless we open our eyes and see beyond the illusions?

Despite the fact we had no problems with the occupants of the hallow earth so far, or recorded none that we would know of, the military are considering detonating a nuclear warhead that will seal the deep caves which connect the surface of the Earth with the settlers of the mantle, ultimately preventing the alleged passage from opening again. At least that’s what Snowden revelead in a recent interview.

The idea of our governments irrationally intervening into such important matters is not a foreign idea. NASA nuked the moon in 2009, destroying whatever alien outpost was located out there, and if you remember the Colares UFO incident where the military had gathered unquestionable proof of extraterrestrial existence but afterwards decided to evacuated the local population and set the dust on the entire report until recently. Even the US military officials warned about little green men and the threath they’ll pose in the near future.

With all these neglijent moves, the inner earth’s inhabitants might be up to something. With a wave of mysterious sounds that were heard all over the world, including the one from the Caribbeans that can be heard from outer space, there’s a good chance our intra-terrestrial neighbors are up to something.

If we’re going to assist to a clash between the earthly powers and the mythical dwellers of the far reaches of the Earth we’re yet to find out. Hopefully, this historic period of hasty transition will bring full disclosure for the human race. Everyone deserves to be aware and understand what’s going on.

Berkeley Doctor Claims People Die From Chemo, Not Cancer


According to one scientist, refusing chemotherapy may be the key to beating cancer.

Dr Hardin B Jones, formerly of Berkeley, says that compared to people who undergo chemo, patients who refuse treatment live an average of 12 and a half years longer.

Given that approximately 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer in their lifetimes, this is quite an extraordinary claim.

In the stunning video below, Dr Jones, a former professor of medical physics and physiology at the University of California, Berkeley, says ‘leading edge’ cancer treatment is a sham.

His personal research, he says, concludes that chemotherapy does more harm than good.

“People who refused chemotherapy treatment live on average 12 and a half years longer than people who are undergoing chemotherapy,” said Dr. Jones of his study, which was published in the New York Academy of Science.

According to the physician, the only reason doctors prescribe chemotherapy is because they make money from it.

Such an accusation doesn’t seem unreasonable, as cancer treatment runs, on average, between $300,000 – $1,000,000 per treatment.

Watch the video discussion. URL:https://youtu.be/5sJFyEDGpG4

Stephen Hawking: “I Am Convinced That Humans Need to Leave Earth”


Back in May, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking made yet another doomsday prediction. He said that humanity has 100 years left on Earth, which knocked 900 years off the prediction he made in November 2016, which had given humanity 1,000 years left.

With his new estimate, Hawking suggested the only way to prolong humanity’s existence is for us to find a new home, on another planet.

Speaking at the Starmus Festival in Trondheim, Norway on Tuesday, Hawking reiterated his point: “If humanity is to continue for another million years, our future lies in boldly going where no one else has gone before,” he explained, according to the BBC.

Specifically, Hawking said that we should aim for another Moon landing by 2020, and work to build a lunar base in the next 30 years – projects that could help prepare us to send human beings to Mars by 2025.

NASA lunar stopoverNASA’s lunar stopover. Credit: NASA

“We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other worlds. It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth,” Hawking added.

Hawking’s plea comes almost 45 years since NASA’s last lunar mission, and he’s not the only one thinking about revisiting the Earth’s cosmic satellite.

Even US president Donald Trump wants to put a human on the Moon by 2020. Various plans, both from government space agencies as well as private ones, are already in the works. NASA’s mission to Mars, for example, notes that setting up an orbital lunar station would be a key step for a future mission to the Red Planet.

Other nations are also working towards the same goal: China and Europe also hope toreach the Moon by the 2020s, and other countries are scrambling to set up their own lunar bases, too. It’s an echo of the Cold War era space race – except now, there are more nations in play.

For private space agencies, the Moon seems to be more of a special tourist attraction than a permanent domicile: SpaceX is already preparing for its first privately-funded round trip to the Moon, while Jeff Bezos envisions an opportunity for a special delivery service to facilitate the construction of any permanent off world settlement.

For Hawking, though, aiming for the Moon (again) is not only about survival, but strengthening humanity while we’re still on Earth – for however many years we have left here.

“I hope it would unite competitive nations in a single goal, to face the common challenge for us all,” he said.

“A new and ambitious space program would excite (young people), and stimulate interest in other areas, such as astrophysics and cosmology”.

Physicists Leak Evidence That Approve Elon Musk’s Theory – The Universe Is A “Computer” Simulation


Philosophers have long proposed that given that any civilization of remarkable intelligence and size would likely create simulations of other universes, and likely a great number of simulations), it may be that there are more simulated universes than real, and consequently more simulated worlds than real.

And now, some physicists say, we just may have the evidence that our universe is just one such simulation.

A team of researchers led by Silas Beane at Germany’s University of Bonn, have just released a paper titled “Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation,” in which they make the argument that any such simulation of a universe must, by nature of a simulation, put limits on the physical laws of that universe.

As Technology Review explains, making the same point, “the problem with all simulations is that the laws of physics, which appear continuous, have to be superimposed onto a discrete three dimensional lattice which advances in steps of time.”

For example, if a simulation, there would be clear limits on the amount of energy particles within the program can contain. And, researchers say, there’s evidence of exactly such limits in our universe.

In particular, we can consider what is known as the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin, or GZK cut off – which is a clear limit to the energy an cosmic ray particle can hold. Scientists argue this is the result of interactions with cosmic background radiation. Beane’s research team, however, argues that it is also exactly what you would expect from a simulation’s limits.

Of course, you should read the paper yourself to get a better feel for the science – but the argument is certainly an interesting one, and will only fuel more philosophers’ arguments about the nature of our world.

For more, consider what Elon Musk has to say about the theory in the video below:

Sources:

Science has outgrown the human mind and its limited capacities.


Cometh the man; Francis Bacon's insight was that the process of discovery was inherently algorithmic. <em>Photo courtesy NPG/Wikipedia</em>
Cometh the man; Francis Bacon’s insight was that the process of discovery was inherently algorithmic.

The duty of man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads and … attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency. 

– Ibn al-Haytham (965-1040 CE)

Science is in the midst of a data crisis. Last year, there were more than 1.2 million new papers published in the biomedical sciences alone, bringing the total number of peer-reviewed biomedical papers to over 26 million. However, the average scientist reads only about 250 papers a year.Meanwhile, the quality of the scientific literature has been in decline. Some recent studies found that the majority of biomedical papers were irreproducible.

The twin challenges of too much quantity and too little quality are rooted in the finite neurological capacity of the human mind. Scientists are deriving hypotheses from a smaller and smaller fraction of our collective knowledge and consequently, more and more, asking the wrong questions, or asking ones that have already been answered. Also, human creativity seems to depend increasingly on the stochasticity of previous experiences – particular life events that allow a researcher to notice something others do not. Although chance has always been a factor in scientific discovery, it is currently playing a much larger role than it should.

One promising strategy to overcome the current crisis is to integrate machines and artificial intelligence in the scientific process. Machines have greater memory and higher computational capacity than the human brain. Automation of the scientific process could greatly increase the rate of discovery. It could even begin another scientific revolution. That huge possibility hinges on an equally huge question: can scientific discovery really be automated?

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I believe it can, using an approach that we have known about for centuries. The answer to this question can be found in the work of Sir Francis Bacon, the 17th-century English philosopher and a key progenitor of modern science.

The first reiterations of the scientific method can be traced back many centuries earlier to Muslim thinkers such as Ibn al-Haytham, who emphasised both empiricism and experimentation. However, it was Bacon who first formalised the scientific method and made it a subject of study. In his book Novum Organum (1620), he proposed a model for discovery that is still known as the Baconian method. He argued against syllogistic logic for scientific synthesis, which he considered to be unreliable. Instead, he proposed an approach in which relevant observations about a specific phenomenon are systematically collected, tabulated and objectively analysed using inductive logic to generate generalisable ideas. In his view, truth could be uncovered only when the mind is free from incomplete (and hence false) axioms.

The Baconian method attempted to remove logical bias from the process of observation and conceptualisation, by delineating the steps of scientific synthesis and optimising each one separately. Bacon’s vision was to leverage a community of observers to collect vast amounts of information about nature and tabulate it into a central record accessible to inductive analysis. In Novum Organum, he wrote: ‘Empiricists are like ants; they accumulate and use. Rationalists spin webs like spiders. The best method is that of the bee; it is somewhere in between, taking existing material and using it.’

The Baconian method is rarely used today. It proved too laborious and extravagantly expensive; its technological applications were unclear. However, at the time the formalisation of a scientific method marked a revolutionary advance. Before it, science was metaphysical, accessible only to a few learned men, mostly of noble birth. By rejecting the authority of the ancient Greeks and delineating the steps of discovery, Bacon created a blueprint that would allow anyone, regardless of background, to become a scientist.

Bacon’s insights also revealed an important hidden truth: the discovery process is inherently algorithmic. It is the outcome of a finite number of steps that are repeated until a meaningful result is uncovered. Bacon explicitly used the word ‘machine’ in describing his method. His scientific algorithm has three essential components: first, observations have to be collected and integrated into the total corpus of knowledge. Second, the new observations are used to generate new hypotheses. Third, the hypotheses are tested through carefully designed experiments.

If science is algorithmic, then it must have the potential for automation. This futuristic dream has eluded information and computer scientists for decades, in large part because the three main steps of scientific discovery occupy different planes. Observation is sensual; hypothesis-generation is mental; and experimentation is mechanical. Automating the scientific process will require the effective incorporation of machines in each step, and in all three feeding into each other without friction. Nobody has yet figured out how to do that.

Experimentation has seen the most substantial recent progress. For example, the pharmaceutical industry commonly uses automated high-throughput platforms for drug design. Startups such as Transcriptic and Emerald Cloud Lab, both in California, are building systems to automate almost every physical task that biomedical scientists do. Scientists can submit their experiments online, where they are converted to code and fed into robotic platforms that carry out a battery of biological experiments. These solutions are most relevant to disciplines that require intensive experimentation, such as molecular biology and chemical engineering, but analogous methods can be applied in other data-intensive fields, and even extended to theoretical disciplines.

Automated hypothesis-generation is less advanced, but the work of Don Swanson in the 1980s provided an important step forward. He demonstrated the existence of hidden links between unrelated ideas in the scientific literature; using a simple deductive logical framework, he could connect papers from various fields with no citation overlap. In this way, Swanson was able to hypothesise a novel link between dietary fish oil and Reynaud’s Syndrome without conducting any experiments or being an expert in either field. Other, more recent approaches, such as those of Andrey Rzhetsky at the University of Chicago and Albert-László Barabási at Northeastern University, rely on mathematical modelling and graph theory. They incorporate large datasets, in which knowledge is projected as a network, where nodes are concepts and links are relationships between them. Novel hypotheses would show up as undiscovered links between nodes.

The most challenging step in the automation process is how to collect reliable scientific observations on a large scale. There is currently no central data bank that holds humanity’s total scientific knowledge on an observational level. Natural language-processing has advanced to the point at which it can automatically extract not only relationships but also context from scientific papers. However, major scientific publishers have placed severe restrictions on text-mining. More important, the text of papers is biased towards the scientist’s interpretations (or misconceptions), and it contains synthesised complex concepts and methodologies that are difficult to extract and quantify.

Nevertheless, recent advances in computing and networked databases make the Baconian method practical for the first time in history. And even before scientific discovery can be automated, embracing Bacon’s approach could prove valuable at a time when pure reductionism is reaching the edge of its usefulness.

Human minds simply cannot reconstruct highly complex natural phenomena efficiently enough in the age of big data. A modern Baconian method that incorporates reductionist ideas through data-mining, but then analyses this information through inductive computational models, could transform our understanding of the natural world. Such an approach would enable us to generate novel hypotheses that have higher chances of turning out to be true, to test those hypotheses, and to fill gaps in our knowledge. It would also provide a much-needed reminder of what science is supposed to be: truth-seeking, anti-authoritarian, and limitlessly free.

The Case Against Reality.


A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses..

As we go about our daily lives, we tend to assume that our perceptions—sights, sounds, textures, tastes—are an accurate portrayal of the real world. Sure, when we stop and think about it—or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion—we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Still, we bank on the fact that our simulation is a reasonably decent one. If it wasn’t, wouldn’t evolution have weeded us out by now? The true reality might be forever beyond our reach, but surely our senses give us at least an inkling of what it’s really like.

Not so, says Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. Hoffman has spent the past three decades studying perception, artificial intelligence, evolutionary game theory and the brain, and his conclusion is a dramatic one: The world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality. What’s more, he says, we have evolution itself to thank for this magnificent illusion, as it maximizes evolutionary fitness by driving truth to extinction.

Getting at questions about the nature of reality, and disentangling the observer from the observed, is an endeavor that straddles the boundaries of neuroscience and fundamental physics. On one side you’ll find researchers scratching their chins raw trying to understand how a three-pound lump of gray matter obeying nothing more than the ordinary laws of physics can give rise to first-person conscious experience. This is the aptly named “hard problem.”

On the other side are quantum physicists, marveling at the strange fact that quantum systems don’t seem to be definite objects localized in space until we come along to observe them. Experiment after experiment has shown—defying common sense—that if we assume that the particles that make up ordinary objects have an objective, observer-independent existence, we get the wrong answers. The central lesson of quantum physics is clear: There are no public objects sitting out there in some preexisting space. As the physicist John Wheeler put it, “Useful as it is under ordinary circumstances to say that the world exists ‘out there’ independent of us, that view can no longer be upheld.”

So while neuroscientists struggle to understand how there can be such a thing as a first-person reality, quantum physicists have to grapple with the mystery of how there can be anything but a first-person reality. In short, all roads lead back to the observer. And that’s where you can find Hoffman—straddling the boundaries, attempting a mathematical model of the observer, trying to get at the reality behind the illusion. Quanta Magazine caught up with him to find out more.


Gefter: People often use Darwinian evolution as an argument that our perceptions accurately reflect reality. They say, “Obviously we must be latching onto reality in some way because otherwise we would have been wiped out a long time ago. If I think I’m seeing a palm tree but it’s really a tiger, I’m in trouble.”

Hoffman: Right. The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions—mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.

Gefter: You’ve done computer simulations to show this. Can you give an example?

Hoffman: Suppose in reality there’s a resource, like water, and you can quantify how much of it there is in an objective order—very little water, medium amount of water, a lot of water. Now suppose your fitness function is linear, so a little water gives you a little fitness, medium water gives you medium fitness, and lots of water gives you lots of fitness—in that case, the organism that sees the truth about the water in the world can win, but only because the fitness function happens to align with the true structure in reality. Generically, in the real world, that will never be the case. Something much more natural is a bell curve—say, too little water you die of thirst, but too much water you drown, and only somewhere in between is good for survival. Now the fitness function doesn’t match the structure in the real world. And that’s enough to send truth to extinction. For example, an organism tuned to fitness might see small and large quantities of some resource as, say, red, to indicate low fitness, whereas they might see intermediate quantities as green, to indicate high fitness. Its perceptions will be tuned to fitness, but not to truth. It won’t see any distinction between small and large—it only sees red—even though such a distinction exists in reality.

Gefter: But how can seeing a false reality be beneficial to an organism’s survival?

Hoffman: There’s a metaphor that’s only been available to us in the past 30 or 40 years, and that’s the desktop interface. Suppose there’s a blue rectangular icon on the lower right corner of your computer’s desktop — does that mean that the file itself is blue and rectangular and lives in the lower right corner of your computer? Of course not. But those are the only things that can be asserted about anything on the desktop — it has color, position, and shape. Those are the only categories available to you, and yet none of them are true about the file itself or anything in the computer. They couldn’t possibly be true. That’s an interesting thing. You could not form a true description of the innards of the computer if your entire view of reality was confined to the desktop. And yet the desktop is useful. That blue rectangular icon guides my behavior, and it hides a complex reality that I don’t need to know. That’s the key idea. Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. They guide adaptive behaviors. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be. If you had to spend all that time figuring it out, the tiger would eat you.

Gefter: So everything we see is one big illusion?

Hoffman: We’ve been shaped to have perceptions that keep us alive, so we have to take them seriously. If I see something that I think of as a snake, I don’t pick it up. If I see a train, I don’t step in front of it. I’ve evolved these symbols to keep me alive, so I have to take them seriously. But it’s a logical flaw to think that if we have to take it seriously, we also have to take it literally.

Gefter: If snakes aren’t snakes and trains aren’t trains, what are they?

Hoffman: Snakes and trains, like the particles of physics, have no objective, observer-independent features. The snake I see is a description created by my sensory system to inform me of the fitness consequences of my actions. Evolution shapes acceptable solutions, not optimal ones. A snake is an acceptable solution to the problem of telling me how to act in a situation. My snakes and trains are my mental representations; your snakes and trains are your mental representations.

Gefter: How did you first become interested in these ideas?

Hoffman: As a teenager, I was very interested in the question “Are we machines?” My reading of the science suggested that we are. But my dad was a minister, and at church they were saying we’re not. So I decided I needed to figure it out for myself. It’s sort of an important personal question—if I’m a machine, I would like to find that out! And if I’m not, I’d like to know, what is that special magic beyond the machine? So eventually in the 1980s I went to the artificial-intelligence lab at MIT and worked on machine perception. The field of vision research was enjoying a newfound success in developing mathematical models for specific visual abilities. I noticed that they seemed to share a common mathematical structure, so I thought it might be possible to write down a formal structure for observation that encompassed all of them, perhaps all possible modes of observation. I was inspired in part by Alan Turing. When he invented the Turing machine, he was trying to come up with a notion of computation, and instead of putting bells and whistles on it, he said, Let’s get the simplest, most pared down mathematical description that could possibly work. And that simple formalism is the foundation for the science of computation. So I wondered, could I provide a similarly simple formal foundation for the science of observation?

Gefter: A mathematical model of consciousness.

Hoffman: That’s right. My intuition was, there are conscious experiences. I have pains, tastes, smells, all my sensory experiences, moods, emotions and so forth. So I’m just going to say: One part of this consciousness structure is a set of all possible experiences. When I’m having an experience, based on that experience I may want to change what I’m doing. So I need to have a collection of possible actions I can take and a decision strategy that, given my experiences, allows me to change how I’m acting. That’s the basic idea of the whole thing. I have a space Xof experiences, a space G of actions, and an algorithm D that lets me choose a new action given my experiences. Then I posited a W for a world, which is also a probability space. Somehow the world affects my perceptions, so there’s a perception map from the world to my experiences, and when I act, I change the world, so there’s a map from the space of actions to the world. That’s the entire structure. Six elements. The claim is: This is the structure of consciousness. I put that out there so people have something to shoot at.

Gefter: But if there’s a W, are you saying there is an external world?

Hoffman: Here’s the striking thing about that. I can pull the W out of the model and stick a conscious agent in its place and get a circuit of conscious agents. In fact, you can have whole networks of arbitrary complexity. And that’s the world.

Gefter: The world is just other conscious agents?

Hoffman: I call it conscious realism: Objective reality is just conscious agents, just points of view. Interestingly, I can take two conscious agents and have them interact, and the mathematical structure of that interaction also satisfies the definition of a conscious agent. This mathematics is telling me something. I can take two minds, and they can generate a new, unified single mind. Here’s a concrete example. We have two hemispheres in our brain. But when you do a split-brain operation, a complete transection of the corpus callosum, you get clear evidence of two separate consciousnesses. Before that slicing happened, it seemed there was a single unified consciousness. So it’s not implausible that there is a single conscious agent. And yet it’s also the case that there are two conscious agents there, and you can see that when they’re split. I didn’t expect that, the mathematics forced me to recognize this. It suggests that I can take separate observers, put them together and create new observers, and keep doing this ad infinitum. It’s conscious agents all the way down.

Gefter: If it’s conscious agents all the way down, all first-person points of view, what happens to science? Science has always been a third-person description of the world.

Hoffman: The idea that what we’re doing is measuring publicly accessible objects, the idea that objectivity results from the fact that you and I can measure the same object in the exact same situation and get the same results — it’s very clear from quantum mechanics that that idea has to go. Physics tells us that there are no public physical objects. So what’s going on? Here’s how I think about it. I can talk to you about my headache and believe that I am communicating effectively with you, because you’ve had your own headaches. The same thing is true as apples and the moon and the sun and the universe. Just like you have your own headache, you have your own moon. But I assume it’s relevantly similar to mine. That’s an assumption that could be false, but that’s the source of my communication, and that’s the best we can do in terms of public physical objects and objective science.

Gefter: It doesn’t seem like many people in neuroscience or philosophy of mind are thinking about fundamental physics. Do you think that’s been a stumbling block for those trying to understand consciousness?

Hoffman: I think it has been. Not only are they ignoring the progress in fundamental physics, they are often explicit about it. They’ll say openly that quantum physics is not relevant to the aspects of brain function that are causally involved in consciousness. They are certain that it’s got to be classical properties of neural activity, which exist independent of any observers—spiking rates, connection strengths at synapses, perhaps dynamical properties as well. These are all very classical notions under Newtonian physics, where time is absolute and objects exist absolutely. And then [neuroscientists] are mystified as to why they don’t make progress. They don’t avail themselves of the incredible insights and breakthroughs that physics has made. Those insights are out there for us to use, and yet my field says, “We’ll stick with Newton, thank you. We’ll stay 300 years behind in our physics.”

Gefter: I suspect they’re reacting to things like Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff’s model, where you still have a physical brain, it’s still sitting in space, but supposedly it’s performing some quantum feat. In contrast, you’re saying, “Look, quantum mechanics is telling us that we have to question the very notions of ‘physical things’ sitting in ‘space.’”

Hoffman: I think that’s absolutely true. The neuroscientists are saying, “We don’t need to invoke those kind of quantum processes, we don’t need quantum wave functions collapsing inside neurons, we can just use classical physics to describe processes in the brain.” I’m emphasizing the larger lesson of quantum mechanics: Neurons, brains, space … these are just symbols we use, they’re not real. It’s not that there’s a classical brain that does some quantum magic. It’s that there’s no brain! Quantum mechanics says that classical objects—including brains—don’t exist. So this is a far more radical claim about the nature of reality and does not involve the brain pulling off some tricky quantum computation. So even Penrose hasn’t taken it far enough. But most of us, you know, we’re born realists. We’re born physicalists. This is a really, really hard one to let go of.

Gefter: To return to the question you started with as a teenager, are we machines?

Hoffman: The formal theory of conscious agents I’ve been developing is computationally universal—in that sense, it’s a machine theory. And it’s because the theory is computationally universal that I can get all of cognitive science and neural networks back out of it. Nevertheless, for now I don’t think we are machines—in part because I distinguish between the mathematical representation and the thing being represented. As a conscious realist, I am postulating conscious experiences as ontological primitives, the most basic ingredients of the world. I’m claiming that experiences are the real coin of the realm. The experiences of everyday life—my real feeling of a headache, my real taste of chocolate—that really is the ultimate nature of reality.


Source: Quanta Magazine.

When Your Doctor Suggests Regular Mammograms, This Is What You Need To Say Back


Dr. Ben Johnson: I wrote a book for women, The Secret of Health Breast Wisdom because we, as a medical society, are giving women breast cancer with our demanding that they get mammograms. Mammograms cause breast cancer. Period. So mammograms are not healthy for women. Women should not be getting routine mammograms. That’s crystal clear, published in the peer review literature.

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And yet today, if a woman went to her gynecologist or family doc, she would have this shoved down her throat, extreme coercion to get this mammogram that is causing breast cancer. It’s not saving lives. You have a 4% increased risk of dying if you get mammograms, period.

Ty Bollinger: So the detection technique that we’re using, the primary technique that we use to detect breast cancer, is causing breast cancer.

Dr. Ben Johnson: Absolutely, it’s a terrible test; you know smashing women’s breasts and then irradiating with cancer-causing radiation. And then it’s so insensitive. For women under 50, it’s only like 52% effective, sensitive. That means 52 is pretty close to 50, right?

Ty Bollinger: Yeah.

 Dr. Ben Johnson: So about half. That means that half the women that have breast cancer, it would not detect their cancer. That’s a terrible test. And so there are much better tests. And yet this is what’s still being crammed down women’s throats today. Terrible test causes breast cancer.

Ty Bollinger: And it doesn’t detect, it detects 50% and causes cancer. You said there were better options. What are better options there for detecting breast cancer?

Dr. Ben Johnson: Well there’s two better options. If you’ve got a lump, if you think you’ve got something, ultrasound is great. It’s a test of anatomy. Mammograms are tests of anatomy. Ultrasounds are tests of anatomy. MRIs are tests of anatomy. So if you’ve already got a lump, you want a test of anatomy.

So, that would be like an ultrasound because they can see the lump, they can see its consistency. They can see where there’s calcium in it. And they can look at blood flow because tumors are going to have increased blood flow. So, for instance, a sensitivity of ultrasound is up around 80%. It’s much higher than mammograms. And the sensitivity is higher too.

But if you’re looking for prevention, if you’re talking about screening, there’s really only one device out there, and that is thermography. An infrared thermal camera. Nothing touches the lady. Nothing smashes her breasts. There’s no cancer causing radiation.

 As we sit here, we are omitting heat in the spectrum called infrared. There’s infrared, visual, and ultraviolet. So this is the infrared spectrum of light, which our eyes don’t see, but which is very detectable by the camera. The military developed this so that they could see people sneaking at them at nighttime and so that they could shoot down missiles and things because they’re producing heat.

Ty Bollinger: Sure, like night vision goggles.

Dr. Ben Johnson: There you go. Night vision goggles are infrared goggles. So we use it as a medical application to detect hotspots in the breast.

Well long before there was a tumor there, there were cancer cells. Probably 8 to 10 years before there was a tumor, there were cancer cells starting to grow. Two cells, four cells, 16 cells, 144 cells, etc. It takes about eight years until you get to about a centimeter in size for a mammogram or an ultrasound to detect it. Well, that’s too late. Because of that one-centimeter tumor, about five-sixteenths of an inch, less than half an inch, is about one billion cells.

When you get to one billion cells, cancer has already eroded into the lymphatic system and the venous system, and it’s shedding cancer cells all through the body. So that’s why mammograms—one of the many reasons mammograms don’t save lives,
it is NOT early detection. That’s one of the little lies they’ve propagated along. “Early detection saves lives. Get your mammogram today.”

Ty Bollinger: Right.

Dr. Ben Johnson: Well, that statement’s true. Early detection does save lives. It’s just that mammography is not early detection; it’s too late. And then the cancer-causing radiation. So the long and the short is you’re causing much more breast cancer with mammograms than you are detecting.

The Truth About Cancer

The Truth About Cancer

The Truth About Cancer is committed to ending the cancer pandemic once and for all. Every single day, tens of thousands of people, just like you, are curing cancer (and/or preventing it) from destroying their bodies.

They are dedicated to helping others take matters into their own hands by educating them on real prevention and treatments.

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