What’s really in the air we breathe – Vicki Grassian at TEDxSanDiego 2017

Vicki begins by asking the question, “what do you think is in the air that we breathe?” Aerosols are rarely talked about, yet they are having a significant effect on the quality of the air we breathe.

These particles are typically a thousand times smaller than the width of a hair, and they come from a variety of sources, such as car exhaust and factories, as well as volcanoes and wildfires. The ocean also contributes to the story, with viruses, bacteria, phytoplankton and enzymes present in sea air.

In addition, dust particles from Asia find their way to the shores of the United States. Airborne particles such as these can negatively affect the upper respiratory tract, and recent research indicates that they can affect our brain.

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Is the universe a product of thermodynamic evolution? – Todd Hylton at TEDxSanDiego 2017

Todd Hylton suggests that the de facto assumption in most of the current scientific enterprise is that the organization of the universe is driven by a poorly understood or complex chain of causality that explains how everything works, and that the role of the scientist is to “get to the bottom of it”.

He begins his talk by questioning that no one can say with certainty how the universe came to be, but what if the answer was a non-mechanistic, anti-supernatural, evolutionary world view of how things came to exist? What if the big bang was simply an expression of pure potential leading to the creation, evolution, and existence of everything in the universe?

Could our existence be a product of thermodynamic evolution, he asks, and if so, can we someday build thermodynamic computers that evolve in the world on their own?

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Machine learning plus neuroscience equals biologically feasible computing – Benjamin Migliori at TEDx San Diego 2017

Benjamin begins by saying that it is not possible to make a correct assessment without perception. He argues we can train computers to identify, but humans make decisions based on personal experiences. In essence, the combination of human and artificial intelligence will define humanity’s future.

He shares a personal journey with his son who was born premature, and as a result of his untimely birth, his son’s experiences were different than those of other babies, in fact, some would say extraordinary. The algorithms of which his son perceives the world are different, as a result of his experiences, so his perception of the world is different as well. When Benjamin introduced his cat to his baby for the first time, he did not know what to expect, because each of them had a reason to be fearful of the other.

However, their connection was instant because both sets of algorithms were already established and able to respond, based on each of their experiences. He goes on to say that the process is much slower in teaching machines intelligence, as they need to process hundreds of algorithms to come up with the correct response in humans. But together, human and artificial intelligence will have an explosive effect on society.

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