Turing Church newsletter 9/17/2021

Thoughts and news.

This week has been the Inspiration4 week.

I’ll have much more to say about the importance and especially the cultural importance of Inspiration4, but I’ll wait for the end of the mission.

Turing Church podcast and meetings

I have launched a Turing Church podcast and posted the first episode.

I have been thinking of doing a podcast for a while, but I never implemented the idea so far because I didn’t understand why people want to listen to podcasts and watch videos instead of reading. You see, the thing is that I love reading.

But I understand that one can listen to audio while doing other things like driving, hiking, jogging, house work and similar things. So podcasts are better for those who don’t have much time. I also understand that listening to a person speaking creates a sense of connection to that person, much more than reading, and this is important.

Some podcast episodes will be monologues like the first one. In other episodes I will chat with guests. I’m planning to use the Stage channel of the Turing Church Discord server to record podcast episodes with guests. This will also allow others to listen in and ask questions in real time. If you want to participate please join the Turing Church Discord server (see the About page).

A first episode with guests (Lincoln Cannon and Micah Redding) will be recorded tomorrow (Saturday September 18) at 11am Eastern time (New York time). You are welcome to listen in via the Stage channel of the Turing Church Discord server.

How to record Discord voice chat on a Mac

First you need to install audio routing software to record both your mic and the stage. Too bad MacOS software upgrades tend to break these tools - the audio routing software that I was previously using doesn’t work on Big Sur. So I found a tool called BlackHole (great name!) from Existential Audio (another great name!). Follow the instructions for “Route Mic and System Audio” on this page. For point 3, use GarageBand and follow the instructions on this page. Then open the GarageBand project file, open Audacity, set the input to BlackHole in Audacity, and now you can record Discord voice chat. Discord voice settings for I/O should be Aggregate Device and Multi-Output Device. EDITED: Input BlackHole works just as well in Discord. In Audacity, switch “Software playthrough of input” off in Recording, otherwise you will hear an echo.

Reading list

Being You: A New Science of Consciousness” by Anil Seth. A fascinate overview of consciousness theories and the author’s own theory. What is it like to be you? Seth defines consciousness as “any kind of subjective experience whatsoever” and argues that subjective experiences are predictive models of the body and its interactions with the rest of the world. These models are selected for their utility - their ability to keep us alive. Consciousness “operates from moment to moment always in light of a fundamental biological drive to stay alive.” I like this sober approach, but I think contemporary consciousness theories are still very preliminary. In the last sentence of the book, “a little mystery remains.”

Fear of a Black Universe: An Outsider's Guide to the Future of Physics” by Stephon Alexander. An introduction to much of contemporary physics with links to biology and consciousness, and a manifesto for diversity and inclusion in science. Not only inclusion in the usual sense (Alexander is president the National Society of Black Physicists) but also in the sense of intellectual diversity and openness to unconventional ideas. At the end of the book Alexander introduces highly speculative but highly intriguing and awesome ideas on universal consciousness. See also Alexander’s previous book “The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe.

The Science of Can and Can't: A Physicist's Journey through the Land of Counterfactuals” by Chiara Marletto. An explanation of a new conceptual approach to science called constructor theory, developed by Marletto and David Deutsch. Constructor theory is in its infancy but “keep in mind that you could be witnessing scientific history in the making,” says Sabine Hossenfelder. See also my “Thoughts on David Deutsch’s constructor theory,” and I’ll write more about this.