Ryan Blitstein has a fascinating article on the work of David Cope, whose fascinating efforts in the field of AI and AC (artificial creativity) brought us Emily Howell, the first Computer Composer.
Emily Howell's sound can be found here.
26 February 2010
Fig. to talk with someone to find out information about something.
According to ehow:
When you really want to get someone's ideas or feelings about a subject, you need to learn to pick their brain. Tapping into someone else's experience and inspiration doesn't require literal brain surgery, but it does take a deft touch to elicit ideas carefully. Here's how to pick someone's brain.
Step 1 Approach your subject carefully. You want to make the person feel comfortable sharing ideas and insights with you. Don't push the person to reveal more than he wants to. Give the person an advance look at your questions or discussion topics if possible, to allow him to organize his thoughts.
Step 2 Frame good questions. Nobody has all day for you to do a Vulcan mind meld and download everything they know about every subject. Choose several key areas to explore, and take notes or record your conversation so you won't have to go back and ask everything again.
Step 3 Accept your subject's insights uncritically. You've come to pick this person's brain because you believe they have valuable information, so don't be critical of or argumentative about what she has to say.
Step 4 Pay attention to body language. Learning nonverbal cues is crucial to picking someone's brain. People say a lot without speaking, and you can learn from what's unsaid, too.
Step 5 Agree to return the favor. When you've benefited from picking someone's brain, it's a good deed to volunteer yourself for a similar exercise at another time, when your own insights and experience might be of equal value to someone else.Just in case you were wondering!
22 February 2010
14 February 2010
Nicholas Kristof's latest essay in the New York Times falls into both socio-biological and brain-centered fallacies. Like George Lakoff and others, Kristof seems to endorse a naturalizing understanding of politics and the brain. While Kristof is subtle enough not to fall into the trap of making one political position normal and the other pathological, he nevertheless embraces the new cultural discourse that centers knowledge of the brain and the nervous system as preeminent. The similarity in this language with older Eugenic language, the inferences that it allows "thoughtful people" to draw, the metaphors and analogies it offers up as concrete facts, and the complexity it belies, make articles like Kristof's extremely ill-advised. Both politics and the brain are subjects too complex to reduce to reflex patterns or functional-MRI images.
05 February 2010
CfP -- The Stimulated Body and the Arts: The Nervous System and Nervousness in the History of Aesthetics
For the artistically minded: Conference to be happening in Durham, UK, which "aims to illuminate the influence that different medical models of physiology and the nervous system have had on theories of aesthetic experience." The CfP can be found here.