Technology Will Replace Many ..., and Other Professionals

by Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind
October 18th, 2016

Via Harvard Business Review: "The claim that the professions are immune to displacement by technology is usually based on two assumptions: that computers are incapable of exercising judgment or being creative or empathetic, and that these capabilities are indispensable in the delivery of professional service. The first problem with this position is empirical. As our research shows, when professional work is broken down into component parts, many of the tasks involved turn out to be routine and process-based. They do not in fact call for judgment, creativity, or empathy.

The second problem is conceptual. Insistence that the outcomes of professional advisers can only be achieved by sentient beings who are creative and empathetic usually rests on what we call the AI fallacy — the view that the only way to get machines to outperform the best human professionals will be to copy the way that these professionals work. The error here is not recognizing that human professionals are already being outgunned by a combination of brute processing power, big data, and remarkable algorithms. These systems do not replicate human reasoning and thinking. When systems beat the best humans at difficult games, when they predict the likely decisions of courts more accurately than lawyers, or when the probable outcomes of epidemics can be better gauged on the strength of past medical data than on medical science, we are witnessing the work of high-performing, unthinking machines.

Our inclination is to be sympathetic to this transformative use of technology, not least because today’s professions, as currently organized, are creaking. They are increasingly unaffordable, opaque, and inefficient, and they fail to deliver value evenly across our communities. In most advanced economies, there is concern about the spiraling costs of health care, the lack of access to justice, the inadequacy of current educational systems, and the failure of auditors to recognize and stop various financial scandals. The professions need to change. Technology may force them to."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Um, er...

How meaning varies between speech and its typed transcript
September 22nd, 2016

Via Cornell University Library: "We use an extract from an interview concerning gravitational wave physics to show that the meaning of hesitancies within speech are different when spoken and when read from the corresponding transcript. When used in speech, hesitancies can indicate a pause for thought, when read in a transcript they indicate uncertainty. In a series of experiments the perceived uncertainty of the transcript was shown to be higher than the perceived uncertainty of the spoken version with almost no overlap for any respondent. We propose that finding and the method could be the beginning of a new subject we call Language Code Analysis which would systematically examine how meanings change when the same words are communicated via different media and symbol systems."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

How to Know If You Talk Too Much

by Mark Goulston
July 23rd, 2016

Via Haward Business Review: "There are three stages of speaking to other people. In the first stage, you’re on task, relevant and concise. But then you unconsciously discover that the more you talk, the more you feel relief. Ahh, so wonderful and tension-relieving for you… but not so much fun for the receiver. This is the second stage – when it feels so good to talk, you don’t even notice the other person is not listening.
The third stage occurs after you have lost track of what you were saying and begin to realize you might need to reel the other person back in. If during the third stage of this monologue poorly disguised as a conversation you unconsciously sense that the other person is getting a bit fidgety, guess what happens then?
Unfortunately, rather than finding a way to reengage your innocent victim through having them talk and then listening to them, instead the usual impulse is to talk even more in an effort to regain their interest.
Why does this happen? First, the very simple reason that all human beings have a hunger to be listened to. But second, because the process of talking about ourselves releases dopamine, the pleasure hormone. One of the reasons gabby people keep gabbing is because they become addicted to that pleasure. [...]

In the first 20 seconds of talking, your light is green: your listener is liking you, as long as your statement is relevant to the conversation and hopefully in service of the other person. But unless you are an extremely gifted raconteur, people who talk for more than roughly half minute at a time are boring and often perceived as too chatty. So the light turns yellow for the next 20 seconds— now the risk is increasing that the other person is beginning to lose interest or think you’re long-winded. At the 40-second mark, your light is red. Yes, there’s an occasional time you want to run that red light and keep talking, but the vast majority of the time, you’d better stop or you’re in danger."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Can you think a thought which isn’t yours?

A remarkable new study, led by psychologist Jay Olson from McGill University in Canada, suggests you can.
June 27th, 2016

Via British Psychological Society: "Years before he was famous, stage illusionist Derren Brown wrote a book called Pure Effect, where he argued that presenting tricks as psychology could be an effective form of misdirection. In his innovative shows, Brown often claims he is debunking psychics by demonstrating how psychology can be used to manipulate people’s minds. In practice, his mind-reading and mind control feats can involve the same traditional techniques used by stage magicians, it’s just that he presents them as psychology rather than magic.

Olson and his colleagues from McGill took this approach a step further, telling their participants that they were taking part in a study to see if an fMRI brain scanner could read thoughts and influence their mind.

Hidden from the participants was the fact that the experiment was actually conducted in a mock scanner – something that exists in most neuroimaging facilities to test experiments before they are run on the genuine equipment. To add to the plausibility of the story, the participants went through a realistic briefing, safety screening, and calibration procedure for an fMRI brain scan.

Participants were then asked to complete what they thought were mind reading and mind influencing experiments.

In the mind reading stage, researchers asked each participant to lie in the scanner, silently think of any two-digit number and press a button when they were done. The fMRI machine then produced a number on screen and the researcher could be seen writing the result onto a clipboard.

Next, the participant was asked to name the number they had silently thought of. The researcher turned the clipboard, stunning the participant by showing exactly their number – seemingly read from their mind by the power of fMRI.

The researchers are coy about exactly how this was achieved, only referencing an old mentalism book. In fact, they likely used a variation on a technique called the "swami gimmick" where the mentalist – the researcher in this case – has a fake rubber tip on the end of their thumb, which includes a barely visible shard of pencil lead. Earlier, when the researcher appeared to be writing the fMRI mind reading results, he was just pretending. What really happened is that, in the split second after the participant announced their secretly selected number, the researcher discreetly wrote it down on the clipboard using their thumb."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Organised Sound

Volume 17 Issue 2
June 25th, 2016

Via ACM Digital Library: "Table of Contents:

Editorial by Nick Fox-gieg, Cindy Keefer, Margaret Schedel   

From sonic art to visual music: Divergences, convergences, intersections by Diego Garro
This paper introduces strategies for the electroacoustic community to relate to, and engage with, the visual music phenomenon. It addresses technological, historical, cultural and idiomatic intersections between the two art forms. From the personal viewpoint ...

Consonance and dissonance in visual music by Bill Alves
The concepts of consonance and dissonance broadly understood can provide structural models for creators of visual music. The application of words such as 'harmony' across both music and visual arts indicates potential correspondences not just between ...

Translation, emphasis, synthesis, disturbance: On the function of music in visual music by Anton Fuxjäger
Starting from the premiss that the central aesthetic feature of non-representational moving images (visual music) is their structuring of reception time, the function of the accompanying music in contributing to the total (combined) temporal structure ...

The evolution of notational innovations from the mobile score to the screen score by Lindsay Vickery
This article examines the evolution of music notational practices from avant-garde-era experiments in 'mobility' to the advent of the digital 'screen score'. It considers the varied goals of the composers who initiated these developments and the dissonance ...

The oramics machine: From vision to reality by Peter Manning
The pioneering contributions of Daphne Oram to visual music, notably the construction of her unique synthesiser known as the Oramics Machine during the 1960s, have yet to be fully recognised. The development of this synthesiser, in terms of both the ...

Audiovisual harmony: The realtime audiovisualisation1 of a single data source in construction in zhuangzi by Ryo Ikeshiro
This paper explores the context and technical and aesthetic considerations behind the author's generative and improvisational audiovisual work, Construction in Zhuangzi (2011), and in particular the approach of 'audiovisualising' the same source ...

Depth modulation: Composing motion in immersive audiovisual spaces by Ewa Trębacz
The field of electroacoustic music has witnessed years of extensive exploration of aural spatial perception and an abundance of spatialisation techniques. Today the growing ubiquity of visual 3D technologies gives artists a similar opportunity in the ...

Visual music after cage: Robert breer, expanded cinema and stockhausen's originals (1964) by Andrew v. Uroskie
Within William Seitz's 1961 exhibition The Art of Assemblage for the New York Museum of Modern Art, the question of framing-of art's exhibitionary situation within and against a given environment-had emerged as perhaps the major issue of postwar ...

Musique concrète thinking in visual music practice: Audiovisual silence and noise, reduced listening and visual suspension
by Joseph Hyde
This article is based on my creative practice as an electroacoustic composer who has developed a practice of audiovisual composition broadly sited within the field of visual music. A brief contextual survey sites my work by first presenting a personal ...

Acousmate: History and de-visualised sound in the schaefferian tradition
by Brian Kane
The word acousmatic has a strange and complicated history. Recent Schaefferian accounts have replicated François Bayle's sketch of the histoire du mot from his Musique acousmatique-in particular, the assumed synonymy between acousmatique ..."

Thanks to Marc Matter!

Filed under: Visual Music


The relationship between shots and the process by which they are combined
June 23rd, 2016

Via College Film & Media Studies: "Editing describes the relationship between shots and the process by which they are combined. It is essential to the creation of narrative space and to the establishment of narrative time. The relationship between shots may be graphic, rhythmic, spatial and/or temporal.

Filmmakers and editors may work with various goals in mind.  Traditionally, commercial cinema prefers the continuity system, or the creation of a logical, continuous narrative which allows the viewer to suspend disbelief easily and comfortably.  Alternatively, filmmakers may use editing to solicit our intellectual participation or to call attention to their work in a reflexive manner."

Here is their wonderful guide to those relationships.

Thanks to Marcus Schmickler!

Filed under: Wunderkammer

What Neuroscience Says about Free Will

New research suggests it might be nothing more than a trick
May 7th, 2016

Via Scientific American: "In a classic paper published almost 20 years ago, the psychologists Dan Wegner and Thalia Wheatley made a revolutionary proposal: The experience of intentionally willing an action, they suggested, is often nothing more than a post hoc causal inference that our thoughts caused some behavior. The feeling itself, however, plays no causal role in producing that behavior. This could sometimes lead us to think we made a choice when we actually didn’t or think we made a different choice than we actually did.

But there’s a mystery here. Suppose, as Wegner and Wheatley propose, that we observe ourselves (unconsciously) perform some action, like picking out a box of cereal in the grocery store, and then only afterwards come to infer that we did this intentionally. If this is the true sequence of events, how could we be deceived into believing that we had intentionally made our choice before the consequences of this action were observed? This explanation for how we think of our agency would seem to require supernatural backwards causation, with our experience of conscious will being both a product and an apparent cause of behavior.

In a study just published in Psychological Science, Paul Bloom and I explore a radical—but non-magical—solution to this puzzle. Perhaps in the very moments that we experience a choice, our minds are rewriting history, fooling us into thinking that this choice—that was actually completed after its consequences were subconsciously perceived—was a choice that we had made all along."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Language and thought are not the same thing

Evidence from neuroimaging and neurological patients
April 29th, 2016

Via National Center for Biotechnology Information: "Is thought possible without language? Individuals with global aphasia, who have almost no ability to understand or produce language, provide a powerful opportunity to find out. Surprisingly, despite their near-total loss of language, these individuals are nonetheless able to add and subtract, solve logic problems, think about another person's thoughts, appreciate music, and successfully navigate their environments. Further, neuroimaging studies show that healthy adults strongly engage the brain's language areas when they understand a sentence, but not when they perform other nonlinguistic tasks such as arithmetic, storing information in working memory, inhibiting prepotent responses, or listening to music. Together, these two complementary lines of evidence provide a clear answer: many aspects of thought engage distinct brain regions from, and do not depend on, language."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Getting clients

Jason Fried’s 13 unconventional rules
April 25th, 2016

Via Medium: "Much like Ogilvy’s approach, Jason Fried’s rules are timeless and apply to selling anything. And like Ogilvy, not all that much has changed in the world of selling services to clients. [...]

1. Sell your service like a product by removing the barriers and unknowns about what you’re selling.
2. Make your portfolio about ideas not pretty pictures of your work.
3. Take a shot at being yourself.
4. Don’t try to act bigger than you are, if you’re a freelancer use the word “I” instead of “we”.
5. Write and sell with short 1-page proposals.
6. Think about what you can get away with NOT doing.
7. Get things done without worrying about layers of red-tape.
8. Hire yourself and be your own client.
9. Don’t rush away from client work until it’s clear it’s the right choice.
10. Get a solid budget before you create a proposal.
11. Don’t work with bad clients.
12. Know when to say no.
13. Hire your clients."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

The serendipitous brain

Study directed by Prof. Fabrizio Doricchi, Lasaponara and colleagues
April 8th, 2016

Via Elsevier: "Sometimes you accidently find something new or valuable, for example an interesting idea for a new study or money in the pocket of an old coat, when you are actively looking for something else. This is called serendipity. [...]

This shows that when one is actively looking for an event with loose probabilistic and temporal expectancies on its occurrence, the awareness of otherwise unnoticed events improves. This finding provides new insights on the attentional mechanisms behind the initial stages of serendipity."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Romantic Agony of Modern Life

by Eva Illouz
April 3rd, 2016

Via brainpickings: "In the same way that at the end of the nineteenth century it was radical to claim that poverty was the result not of dubious morality or weak character, but of systematic economic exploitation, it is now urgent to claim not that the failures of our private lives are the result of weak psyches, but rather that the vagaries and miseries of our emotional life are shaped by institutional arrangements… What is wrong are not dysfunctional childhoods or insufficiently self-aware psyches, but the set of social and cultural tensions and contradictions that have come to structure modern selves and identities. [...]

Modernity sobered people up from the powerful but sweet delusions and illusions that had made the misery of their lives bearable. Devoid of these fantasies, we would lead our lives without commitment to higher principles and values, without the fervor and ecstasy of the sacred, without the heroism of saints, without the certainty and orderliness of divine commandments, but most of all without those fictions that console and beautify.

Such sobering up is nowhere more apparent than in the realm of love, which for several centuries in the history of Western Europe had been governed by the ideals of chivalry, gallantry, and romanticism. The male ideal of chivalry had one cardinal stipulation: to defend the weak with courage and loyalty. The weakness of women was thus contained in a cultural system in which it was acknowledged and glorified because it transfigured male power and female frailty into lovable qualities… Women’s social inferiority could thus be traded for men’s absolute devotion in love, which in turn served as the very site of display and exercise of their masculinity, prowess, and honor. More: women’s dispossession of economic and political rights was accompanied (and presumably compensated) by the reassurance that in love they were not only protected by men but also superior to them. It is therefore unsurprising that love has been historically so powerfully seductive to women; it promised them the moral status and dignity they were otherwise denied in society and it glorified their social fate: taking care of and loving others, as mothers, wives, and lovers. Thus, historically, love was highly seductive precisely because it concealed as it beautified the deep inequalities at the heart of gender relationships."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

New master's degree program

Form und Forschung, Master of Music
March 15th, 2016

In close collaboration with my inspired colleague Prof. Julian Rohrhuber we created the amazing Form und Forschung master's degree program at the Institute For Music And Media. Deadline to submit your application is 15 April.

Via Institute For Music And Media: "Following the principle of the unity of research and teaching, the Form und Forschung master’s degree program combines aesthetic, technical and theoretical approaches. The program benefits from the unique academic situation at the Institute for Music and Media: the multiple facets of time-based art, such as composition, performance, and algorithmic art forms, have been established here for many years.

IMM students autonomously develop their own stance, and learn to integrate it with a range of artistic, technological, economic, scientific and cultural contexts. Graduates of the Form und Forschung master’s degree program are ideally prepared to shape, influence, advance and even anticipate developments in the 21st century.

Musicality is not attached to musical instruments exclusively – it includes many aspects of artistic and scholarly work. That is not least of all the reason why this degree program is generally open to graduates from all disciplines.
It is therefore particularly appropriate for those who are interested in the diversity of media forms, schools of thought and topics. The institution of a Musikhochschule is ideally suited for promoting exchange among interests and abilities in different domains.

Student projects play a vital part in this exchange. In the course of their studies, students learn to re-conceptualize their proposed project on the basis of critical and differentiated feedback and to bring it to fruition at a high level through collaboration with other students. They carry out their project in one of two areas of focus – Artistic Research or Time-Based Form – both of which open up completely new perspectives in the environment of a state conservatory."

The fabulous flyer was designed by Double Standards, Berlin.

Filed under: Projects > Research

3900 Pages of Paul Klee’s Personal Notebooks

Presenting his Bauhaus teachings (1921-1931)
March 5th, 2016

Via open culture: "Paul Klee led an artistic life that spanned the 19th and 20th centuries, but he kept his aesthetic sensibility tuned to the future. Because of that, much of the Swiss-German Bauhaus-associated painter’s work, which at its most distinctive defines its own category of abstraction, still exudes a vitality today.
And he left behind not just those 9,000 pieces of art (not counting the hand puppets he made for his son), but plenty of writings as well, the best known of which came out in English as Paul Klee Notebooks, two volumes (The Thinking Eye and The Nature of Nature) collecting the artist’s essays on modern art and the lectures he gave at the Bauhaus schools in the 1920s. [...]

More recently, the Zentrum Paul Klee made available online almost all 3,900 pages of Klee’s personal notebooks, which he used as the source for his Bauhaus teaching between 1921 and 1931. If you can’t read German, his extensively detailed textual theorizing on the mechanics of art (especially the use of color, with which he struggled before returning from a 1914 trip to Tunisia declaring, 'Color and I are one. I am a painter') may not immediately resonate with you. But his copious illustrations of all these observations and principles, in their vividness, clarity, and reflection of a truly active mind, can still captivate anybody — just as his paintings do."

Filed under: People

It’s all there for you now! Go forth!

Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise (1963-67)
March 3rd, 2016

Via The Hum: "Treatise, which was composed between 1963 and 1967, is considered to be Cornelius Cardew’s greatest achievement. It’s also a total head-fuck for anyone who attempts to approach it. It’s a 193 page graphic score with no instruction – completely in the hands of the conductor and musicians who interpret it. Whatever you make of the music that grows from it, Treatise is an undeniable thing of aesthetic beauty. The work is rarely realized in its totality. Performers tend to focus on distinct passages. It can be performed by a single player, or by as large an ensemble as possible. There is no indication of preferred instrumentation or duration. Because the work bears no description beyond itself, there is little to say about it. Wanting to share it, I’ve included three realizations focused on pages 1-14, 57-58, and 140-165, by separate ensembles respectively. I’ve also included a series of images which depict the score in its totality, an image of the original bound score made by Cadrew, and scans of the each of its entire 193 pages. I hope you enjoy."

Filed under: Visual Music

The Third Brain in Autism

by Dr. Rajalakshmi Kandaswamy, Autism Expert
February 17th, 2016

"The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena; it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence." – Nikola Tesla

Via Journal of Neurology and Neurobiology:
"The First Brain - The Brain Occupying the Space in the Skull
All of us are familiar with the general presence and functioning of this brain as a receiver of information which then gets processed.

The Second Brain - The brain in the gut
It has been proven that the very same cells and neural network that is present in the brain in the skull is present in the gut as well and releases the same neurotransmitters as the brain in the skull. Not just that, about 90 percent of the bers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around.

The Third Brain - The Global Brain
This is connected to the neural network that extends from each being on this planet beyond the con nes of the skull and the anatomy of the gut. It is inter-dimensional in nature and contains all frequencies of energies (low and high) and their corresponding information. […]

Every human being is born with the three brains described above, but Autistic Beings are more connected and more in-tune with all three simultaneously. But make no mistake – most autistic beings are not necessarily aware of the existence or their connection to these three brains beyond their volitional control although they are accessing information from all three to varying degrees almost all the time.

One of the manifestations of being tuned-in to this third brain is Telepathy."

Filed under: Wunderkammer