Collective Intelligence

Photo by batwrangler / CC BY-NC-ND

If you wanted to build a team in such a way that you maximized its overall intelligence, how would you do it? Would you stack it with high-IQ brainiacs? Would you populate it with natural leaders? Would you find experts on a wide range of topics? Well, those all sound like great ideas, but the latest research into collective intelligence suggests that none of them would work. In this episode we will discuss what factors constitute the best solution.

You Are Not So Smart

 

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How to Beat Distraction and Stay Focused

Today we discuss what goes on in our brains when we use our digital devices, why they distract us, and what we can do about it. Our guest walks us through the cognitive functions we use to focus our attention and to avoid distraction. He then explains why these evolved cognitive functions are mismatched to today’s constantly buzzing digital devices, using a theory of optimal food foraging borrowed from biology. We then discuss action steps grounded in science on how you can beat distraction and stay more focused throughout the day. We end our conversation talking about “prescription” video games that can be used to help elderly patients and individuals with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The Art of Manliness

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Contemplating Consciousness

The only way you know that you exist is that you have a conscious sensation but where does that come from? Does it come from outside our physical body or is there a center of consciousness in our brain? What is the nature of consciousness?  Philosopher David Chalmers, neuroscientist Olivia Carter, and Buddhist scholar Alan Wallace offer their take on consciousness.

All in the Mind

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The Measure Of Genius

Spectacular intelligence is the most conspicuous sign of genius. However, recent research indicates that various factors explain true ingeniousness, not just high IQ. They include creativity, perseverance and other traits. Claudia Kalb joins us to talk about what made Einstein, Michelangelo and others become the greatest minds of their times.

KERA’s Think

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Meditation Under Investigation

Silicon Valley CEOs, scruffy hippies, and Tibetan monks alike describe meditation as blissful and life-changing, but what does the science say? Can it reduce stress, increase your attention, and improve mental health — or is all this focus on breathing just a bunch of hot air? Sit back, get comfortable, focus your mind and let the experts to sort it out for you. Among them are Tim Ferriss, Professor Gaelle Desbordes, Dr. Clifford Saron, and Dr. Britta Hölzel.

Science Vs

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Are We Biased about Love?

Does romance makes us irrationally optimistic about our chances of happiness, despite all the evidence to the contrary? Are we just crazy when it comes to love? And if so, is that a good or a bad thing? David Edmonds speaks to Professor Lisa Bortolotti of the University of Birmingham.
Professor Lisa Bortolotti is a philosopher of the cognitive sciences at the University of Birmingham. She focuses on the philosophy of psychology and psychiatry. She is also interested in biomedical ethics. Her research projects include The Costs and Benefits of Optimism, and PERFECT – exploring the limitations of cognition. 
Illustration: 1904 halftone print of “Emma!…Je Vous Aime!” (Emma!…I love you!”) by Honore Daumier

Philosophy 247 | 18th January 2017

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Daniel Dennett about the Magic of Consciousness

The how’s and why’s of consciousness, from an evolutionary and neurological standpoint, and through the lenses of computer science and human culture. Beyerstein and Dennett catch up to discuss Dennett’s newest book, “From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds”. It’s a fresh look at Dennett’s earlier work on the subject of consciousness, taken in new directions as he seeks a “bottom-up view of creation.”

Daniel C. Dennett is best known in cognitive science for his multiple drafts (or “fame in the brain”) model of human consciousness, and to the secular community for his 2006 book “Breaking the Spell”. Author and co-author of two-dozen books, he’s the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, where he taught our very own Point of Inquiry host Lindsay Beyerstein.

Point of Inquiry | 17 January 2017

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The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution

How the human mind actually works? Starting in the late 1960s, the Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman began the movement — now known as behavioral economics — that has had a profound effect on academia, governments, and society at large. Michael Lewis’s, author of a new book “The Undoing Project”, explains how it all happened — what brought the two wildly different men together, and why the impact of their work was so far-reaching.

Freakonomics Radio | 5th January 2017

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Alien Intelligence

Free will, what it might be like to be an octopus, and which prehistoric animal would be the most interesting to resurrect. Jason Gots in discussion with Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Sydney in Australia. He has also spent a lot of time floating around in an octopus colony in Australia, studying smart cephalopods and taking photos and videos that have been used by National Geographic. His fascinating new book is “Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness”.

Big Think – Think Again | 24th December 2016

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