“How are you doing?” We hear this question almost every day. For most of us, no matter how we are really feeling we simply reply, “I’m good.” But sometimes there just so…

Emotions are important, but there is the massive confusion in both popular and scientific conceptions of even what they are.  There is also a sizable structure of erroneous assumptions, such as venting…

Appearing on Conan, Louis C.K. brilliantly deconstructs why he hates the technology surrounding us and why he won’t allow his kids to have smartphones – they become tools for avoiding sadness and loneliness, and thus a true understanding of the self:

Android technology may reveal the inner lives of simple and mysterious creatures, in disturbing fashion. Via New Scientist:

Slime mold finds the quickest path between food and has even shown signs of having memory – despite not having a brain.

A human-like robot face has been hooked up so that its expressions are controlled by the electrical signals produced when yellow slime mold shies away from light, or moves eagerly towards food.

Physarum polycephalum is a common yellow slime mold which ranges in size from several hundred micrometres to more than one metre. It is an aggregation of hundreds or thousands of identical unicellular organisms that merge together into one huge “cell” containing all their nuclei.

Via orwellwasright: After over a century, mainstream scientists finally got around to acknowledging something anyone with pets or has watched nature documentaries has known all along – animals are conscious beings. A…

Will our machines acquire the ability to convince us that they are in fact alive? An unsettling study at the the Netherlands’ Eindhoven University of Technology:

This video shows an experiment in which participants are asked to switch off a robot and thereby killing it. The robot begs for its live and we measured how long the participants hesitated.

The perception of life largely depends on the observation of intelligent behavior. Even abstract geometrical shapes that move on a computer screen are being perceived as being alive… in particular if they change their trajectory nonlinearly or if they seem to interact with their environments.

The robot’s intelligence had a strong effect on the users’ hesitation to switch it off, in particular if the robot acted agreeable. Participants hesitated almost three times as long to switch off an intelligent and agreeable robot (34.5 seconds) compared to an unintelligent and non-agreeable robot (11.8 seconds).