Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryMedicine and Health

A man going through the dark old tunnel. Tunnel with traffic lights and a silhouette of a man

What If a Near-Death Experience Is a Vision of Hell?

Oddly, even distressing near-death experiences have had positive effects, say researchers

One researcher observes at Psychology Today that the strongest predictor of a successful suicide attempt is a previous failed suicide attempt—unless the person has had a near-death experience, in which case further suicide attempts are unlikely.

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female cyborg android character

Would You Want Immortal Life as a Cyborg?

Would you give up your right arm for a robotic device that performs better? Think about it

Transhumanism can mean uploading one’s mind into cyberspace. But some transhumanists hope to slowly morph into “immortal cyborgd” with endlessly replaceable parts. Five years ago, we were told, we were all turning into cyborgs: Did you recently welcome a child into the world? Congratulations! An upstanding responsible parent such as yourself is surely doing all you can to prepare your little one for all the pitfalls life has in store. However, thanks to technology, children born in 2014 may face a far different set of issues than you ever had to. And we’re not talking about simply learning to master a new generation of digital doohickeys, we’re talking about living in a world in which the very definition of “human” Read More ›

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Do Near-Death Experiences Defy Science?

NDEs do not defy science. They sometimes challenge human senses. which are based on our biology

For example, if the human eye’s usual limitations were not a factor, previously unknown colors—which we know from science to exist—might be perceived.

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Scalpel on model of brain

Some People Think and Speak with Only Half a Brain

A new study sheds light on how they do it

A range of neuroscience research findings is more readily explained by assuming that some aspects of thought–– abstract intellectual thought and free will–– are immaterial.

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light at the end of the tunnel

Why Medical Scientists Take Near-Death Experiences Seriously Now

Today, we know much more about what happens to people when they die—and what we are learning does not support materialism

Near-death experiences are generally seen as real, even among hardcore skeptics, and research focuses on how to account for them.

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Man trying to whistle

Google’s Secret Health Data Grab: The Whistleblower Talks

This is the fourth whistleblower in the last eighteen months

“The decision came to me slowly, creeping on me through my day-to-day work,” we are told, until it came down to “how could I say nothing?”

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Medical Research Scientist Typing Information Obtained from New Experimental Drug Trial. She Works in a Bright and Modern Laboratory.

The Nightingale Sings — About Your Health Data

The skinny from Google’s health care data grab: Your privacy may not be anywhere near as well protected as you might think

The biggest question coming into focus is whether traditional patient confidentiality protection really works in the age of the internet. As to what changes are needed and who will sponsor them, both US Sen. Amy Klobuchar and US Sen. Josh Hawley, on opposite sides of the aisle, are watching the file.

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Beautiful Male Computer Engineer and Scientists Create Neural Network at His Workstation. Office is Full of Displays Showing 3D Representations of Neural Networks.

How Algorithms Can Seem Racist

Machines don’t think. They work with piles of “data” from many sources. What could go wrong? Good thing someone asked…

Some of the recent conflicts around algorithms and ethnicity are flubs that social media entrepreneurs will regret. Others may endanger life.

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Former Microsoft Head of Research: Machines Will Soon Know Better Than Your Doctor

Other experts at the COSM Technology Summit were skeptical of Craig Mundie’s claims

Mundie, former Microsoft Chief Research & Strategy Officer, formerly told his audience that Big Data will enable each person to be “completely understood” by machines that can produce a computer facsimile of each detail. It would be far too complex for human physicians to make sense of, he said.

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Near-Death Experiences Are More Real Than Some of the Research

At Scientific American, we learn of an analysis that tries to link them to recreational drug highs, based only on language use

The scientific “method” of inferring a common biological cause of the experiences by analyzing the language used to describe them is junk science. One may as well infer that lung cancer and tuberculosis have a common cause because sufferers from both diseases report cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and weight loss.

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Tibetan Monks Can Change Their Metabolism

Far from disproving it, science has documented it

For decades, a default assumption was that claims that meditating monks in the Buddhist tradition could greatly raise their temperature or slow their metabolism were assumed to be exaggerations that would yield to a scientific explanation. The scientific explanation turned out to be that they can do exactly that.

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Google Glass Inventor to Speak at COSM, October 25

Babak Parviz, now an Amazon vice-president, is keenly interested in services for the swelling aged population worldwide
Joining Parviz on the panel will be Matt Scholz, CEO of Oisin Technologies (researching treatments for age-related diseases), George Gilder, philosopher of technology, and Lindy Fishburne, executive director of Breakout Labs, which funds innovative science ventures. Read More ›
Sport and travel memory photos on a table

Do We Actually Remember Everything?

Neuroscience evidence suggests that our real problem isn’t with remembering things but finding our memories when we need them

One of a pioneer neurosurgeon’s cases featured a patient who could, unaccountably, speak ancient Greek. The explanation was not occult but it was surely remarkable for what it shows about memory.

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Hype time concept

The Top Ten AI Hype Stories of 2018, Updated

You can segue to each in the podcast and read the accompanying Mind Matters News story, as well as key updates
2019 has seen some remarkable revelations about Google, DeepMind, Watson, Sophia, and other AI faves. Check them out here! Read More ›
Brain icon hologram with office interior on background. Double exposure. Concept of education

How Far Has AI Mindreading Come?

Further than we may think. And some trends are troubling
It’s becoming easier all the time to read signals from the human brain. But there are few or no safeguards, even in the free world, on who has a right to use the information and how. Read More ›
Medical and healthcare,Male doctor or medical students or surgeon,anesthesiologists using digital tablet during the conference,Health Check with digital system support for patient,background banner

Why Was IBM Watson a Flop in Medicine?

Robert J. Marks and Gary S. Smith discuss how the AI couldn’t identify which information in the tsunami of medical literature actually MATTERED

Last year, the IBM Health Initiative laid off a number of people, seemingly due to market disillusionment with the product.

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High Tech Can Help the Blind See and Amputees Feel

It’s not a miracle; the human nervous system can work with electronic information

The electronic devices communicate directly with sensory areas of the brain, bypassing damaged or destroyed eyes and limbs. 

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If Thinking Can Heal, Why Do We Need Antidepressants?

J.P. Moreland, who struggles with anxiety disorders, likens medications to engine oil for the brain

“If you’re driving your car and you’re low or don’t have any oil, parts of the engine are going to rub against one another and it’s going to cause a lot of friction and dysfunction.”

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human brain on a running machine

Up! Up! Up! Keep Those Hippocampi Up!

The lighter side of neurobabble about our brains and ourselves

Neurobabble is a full-employment campaign for neuroscientists. Recast obvious social or psychological facts as brain events and you’ll never be out of work.

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