December 8, 2013

voice control for your home for time and money savings

Being hands free and well be freeing. I've been experimenting with an older version of dragon naturally speaking for the last couple of years. I started using it for just commanding my  pc but quickly started messing around with it for my AI robotics projects, syncing it up with various devices attached to my house like our lighting, heating, water, window systems and my cell phone. I have found great time savings in using these technologies.

Advantages of using a voice control system for your house

When i walk into my house i don't have to turn on 3-5 light switch's. When i leave my house my kids are running around over 3 floors and its time consuming to have to go back checking every light to make sure they are all off. Its easier just to speak into your cell phone "shut it all down" and your good to go. When you are doing something in a room for a long period of time you can save electricity by telling your system to shut everything else off. Many appliances get left on especially if you area busy person or have kids running all over your house like I do. You can hook up your water sprinkler  systems to this also but it really isn't necessary if you get a cheap 5$ timer from your local hardware store.

What i found is a way to hook all this up with some free software online. You will of course need to get the right devices to control each. Afterwards you will have to sync them up with your controller of choice(desktop computer, cell phone, tablet etc) and do some adjustments with voice control software. But it is very doable even for the non-techie.It you really want to go all out you could hook up mics in each room or wear a bluetooth or headset around the house

Epeaking software is the free one I was talking about. Its biggest benefit is that's its free. The downside is that you will have to do a little more tinkering with it.

The best software thats the easiest to use that i started with was dragon naturally speaking. It runs about 60$


There are lots of reasonably priced mics for under 100$ that will suit your needs.Make sure they are omni-directional which means they will pick up sound from the entire area around the mic and not just directly in front of it.

October 14, 2013

Are We Still the Same Person After a Consciousness Upload?

How Realistic is This?

Ok, this one is a bit of a leap. We’re nowhere near uploading our entire minds into a computer, depending on who you ask. But there are definitely some folks working on figuring out how to do it. Earlier this year, famous futurist (and director of engineering at Google) Ray Kurzweil said a conservative estimate would have us uploading our brains into a computer by 2045. And, hey, if Google says it will happen there’s no reason to think it’s not possible. Though, in the same speech he also said the singularity would be upon us by 2100. So, grain of salt. Others argue uploading our brains may actually never be possible at all.

The Ethical Conundrum

You’re going to have to decide how much you like your body and want to hang on to it. Once you upload your consciousness there’s very likely no going back. You also have no idea what to expect from living inside a computer, which means you’ll have to accept the fact that your very idea of consciousness might change once you’ve become fully digital. If your friends and family aren’t uploading themselves you’ll also have to decide if you’re willing to give up your current way of interacting with them. Or accept the fact that you may never see them again. But if the singularity has already happened, then you’ll get the added benefit of being smarter, faster, and better than a human.

What the Ethicists Say

There isn’t a whole lot of legitimate writing on the ethics of uploading the brain. But those considering it often point to The Ship of Theseus, or Theseus’s Paradox, which goes something like this (excerpt from Logical Paradoxes):
Theseus is remembered in Greek mythology as the slayer of the Minotaur. For years, the Athenians had been sending sacrifices to be given to the Minotaur, a half-man, half-bull beast who inhabited the labyrinth of Knossos. One year, Theseus braved the labyrinth, and killed the Minotaur.
The ship in which he returned was long preserved. As parts of the ship needed repair, it was rebuilt plank by plank. Suppose that, eventually, every plank was replaced; would it still have been the same ship? A strong case can be made for saying that it would have been: When the first plank was replaced, the ship would still have been Theseus’ ship. When the second was replaced, the ship would still have been Theseus’ ship. Changing a single plank can never turn one ship into another. Even when every plank had been replaced, then, and no part of the original ship remained, it would still have been Theseus’ ship.
Suppose, though, that each of the planks removed from Theseus’ ship was restored, and that these planks were then recombined to once again form a ship. Would this have been Theseus’ ship? Again, a strong case can be made for saying that it would have been: this ship would have had precisely the same parts as Theseus’ ship, arranged in precisely the same way.
If this happened, then it would seem that Theseus had returned from Knossos in two ships. First, there would have been Theseus’ ship that has had each of its parts replaced one by one. Second, there would have been Theseus’ ship that had been dismantled, restored, and then reassembled. Each of them would have been Theseus’ ship.
Theseus, though, sailed in only one ship. Which one?
In other words, if we upload our consciousness into a computer, removing our physical brain and body from the equation entirely, are we still human? At this point you have to ask, what makes us human? Another nearly impossible question to answer -- though some argue it’s our intelligence and creativity. According to The American Museum of Natural History, our brains play the biggest role:
All species on Earth, including humans, are unique. Yet our intelligence and creativity go well beyond those of any other animal. Humans have long communicated through language, created and appreciated art and music, and invented complex tools that have enabled our species to survive and thrive, though often at the expense of other species.
We owe our creative success to the human brain and its capacity to think symbolically. While some other species can solve problems and communicate with each other, only humans use symbols to re-create the world mentally and dream up endless new realities. Although humans have not lost their selfish motivations, symbolic thought has opened our minds to spirituality and a shared sense of empathy and morality.
Will we still be capable of these things once we’re inside the machine? And do we care? Maybe by the time we upload ourselves being human don't be so important anymore. It will be time to evolve beyond that.
So what say you? Should we leave our fragile bodies behind and embark on a brave new world of consciousness inside the computer? Or will uploading our minds make us lose everything that makes us human? Discuss!

May 18, 2013

Benefits of Nicotine for Improved Performance

Most people think that the main negative impact of cigarette smoking is from nicotine but that's pretty
misleading. There are 1000's of chemicals that are far stonger and more dangerous than nicotine. In fact there many studies that have been done that showing there can be benefits when using small amounts of nicotine.

There are several studies done that show Nicotine has quickened the response time and helped concentration in rats and humans alike. An article in Cosmos links to several studies that show it has shown to help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and dementia sufferers as well.

The Study titled "Effect of nicotine on brain activation during performance of a working memory task" showed that 4mg of nicotine gum or two pieces of polacrilex gum to chew for 15 min at a rate of one chew every 3 sec which is the same as the average American cigarette improved small improvements in finger-tapping rate, motor response on tests of focused and sustained attention, and recognition memory.

If you've decided to try it out the biggest health risk that I could find any information on showed that you need to be concerned with long term use and of course addiction if you overuse it. There is one study that blamed long-term use of nicotine gum leads to insulin resistance, metabolic abnormalities associated with the insulin resistance syndrome, and increased cardiovascular morbidity. Thus, the use of nicotine replacement therapy during smoking cessation should be transient and limited.You can see the study here.

Just make sure you don't use it regularly. To a large extent people frankly eat shit all day long and don't eat a healthy diet. The increase in cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance can pretty much be reduced with a low inflammation diet  and a healthy lifestyle. A great little site "The Conscious Mind" I found the other day has tons of free information on it.

 Also one more caveat. If you are new to using this and don't smoke then start small. Use 2mg at first or even half a piece and use for about 10-15 mins. If you use the full 4mg like I did it'll likely be too much or for too long then you'll probably experience light-headedness or dizziness and some nervousness.

If you have decided to give it a shot there is a great deal at amazon right now on equate for 20 pieces 4mg mint flavored nicotine gum.You can find it below