Friday, December 17, 2004


These are some possible answers for defining intelligence :
  • the ability to learn from experience
  • the power of thought
  • the power of insight
  • the ability to reason
  • the ability to perceive relations
  • the ability to use tools
  • intuition

Although agreeing on one defenition may seem hard, it seems that there has been a consensus that this quality is possessed by man and not machines.By rapid developments in artificial intelligence field, it's hard to be very sure about this anymore. The following piece is interesting as a test of telling if a machine is intelligent or not:

In his landmark 1950 paper Alan Turing suggested that the question "Can machines think?" was too vague and philosophical to be of any value. To make it more concrete, he proposed an "imitation game." The Turning test; as it came to be known, in­volves two people and a computer. One person, the interrogator,
sits alone in a room and types questions into a computer terminal. The questions can be about anything-math, science, politics, sports, entertainment, art, human relationships, emotions -anything. As answers to questions appear on
the terminal, the interrogaur attempts to guess whether those answers were typed by the other person or were generated by the computer. By repeatedly fooling interrogators into thinking it is a person, a computer can demonstrate intelligent behavior. If it acts intelligent, according to Turing, it is intelligent.

It is interesting that Turning actually believed that machines would be able to pass his test by the turn of the century. So far no computer has come close, in spite of 40 years of research on artificial intelligence.

(posted by Farid)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Learning to fly!

It is a dramatic title for a medical article, Is not it?! How to become master in your field of work. I have seen many worthless books in the market which are published to fool people and feed some businesses by some publishers. In the academic world, the story is different! To train people for high level of performance, practical theories are needed. Let’s start with this article. I will post some other links with regard to this issue!

We tell our residents that they need to be determined to do more than just survive. They must be ready to prevail over the circumstances that they find in their sometimes chaotic lives. One of these challenges is dealing with anxiety. We teach the residents that there is little physiological difference between anxiety and arousal. The paradox is that people spend a great portion of their lives trying to avoid anxiety and a great deal of therest of their lives trying to seek out arousal. If one realizes that the physiologic reaction of the body to both anxiety and arousal is similar, then one can approach situations that might seem anxiety provoking with a positive outlook instead of apprehension. One should channel thesefeelings of arousal into an energetic state of being that will allow one to do one is best.
Learning to fly: Teaching mental strategies to future surgeons addressed by Dr Curtis G. Tribble

(Posted by Iman)

Friday, December 10, 2004

On Self-Actualization

Maslow believed that the highest human need was to reach self-actualization . Based on Jones &.Crandall, Self-actualization is the possession of the following characteristics :

1- Being dedicated to a mission in life that transcends our selfish interests
2-Believing that people are essentially good and trustworthy
3-Loving others even when we do not like their behavior
4-Feeling adequate to deal with life
5-Being able to accept your own weaknesses
6-Not being dependent on the approval of others (preferring to be yourself than popular)
7-Being able to express your feelings even when they are unpopular
8-Being unashamed of all of your emotions, even negative emotions
9-Being unafraid of failure

In his hierarchy of motives, Maslow shows that lower needs have to be satisfied first, otherwise, higher needs will lie dormant. In other words, one will not care about higher motives, unless the lower ones in the pyramid are satisfied. Take a look at the pyramid here.

Although this theory can help explain why art , sciece and philosophy has had the greatest leaps when a nation could reach to some level of prosperity , it fails to expalin why someone may sacrifice his own immediate benefits or pleasures for the sake of others. It also cannot explain why someone aspires and strives for higher needs when the lower ones are not met yet, nor it can explain a hunger strike.

(posted by Farid)

The theory of multiple intelligences

One of subjects you might be interested is "intelligence". People usually talk about IQ and categorize people into intelligent and non-intelligent!. I recently came across the theory of multiple intelligences developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. ( because of my ignorance, I did not know that this theory has existed for 21 years!!)

It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead, He proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. He pointed out that I.Q. tests measure primarily verbal, logical-mathematical, and some spatial intelligence. Believing that there are many other kinds of intelligence that are important aspects of human capabilities, he proposed that they also include visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences. More recently he added naturalist intelligence to this list and suggested that there may be other possibilities including spiritual and existential.

Read about this theory and more.
(posted by Iman)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

To Restate The Obvious

Can you hear it?
If you can, it's yours

Do you like it?
If you do, it's your pleasure

Does it make you happy?
If it does, it's your happiness that you made

Can you conceive it?
If so, then you can create it

Is it beautiful?
If it is, then it's your beauty you see

Who's the final authority of music?
Who can say it's great?
Who can say it's beautiful?
Who can give music it's validity?

It's so simple, it's so obvious,
It gets hidden:
It's you for you
It's me for me
And it's them for them
So here's to a revitalization
In the freedom of choice
In music
~Chick Corea~
17 May, 1986

Sent by a "friend"
(posted by Iman)

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Gifted people

One of the interesting articles I have read this year was "Gifted People and their Problems"by
Francis Heylighen. I found it insightful. You may find some gifted people around! go ahead!

I like this quotation from a highly gifted 12 year old about friend "A real friend is a place you go when you need to take off the masks. You can say what you want to your friend because you know that your friend will really listen and even if he doesn’t like what you say, he will still like you. You can take off your camouflage with a real friend and still feel safe."

(posted by Iman)

Iman, you asked for an example, I think these lyrics talks of a good one

How Can I Keep From Singing

My life goes on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear it’s music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness ’round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

(done by Enya)
(posted by Farid)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Life is not worth living, unless you are ready to die for something.

(posted by farid)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Self-awareness and Self-control

For a long time, Farid and me did not update this weblog. I do not know why; maybe we were busy or other excuses! Anyway, I have had many things to do and many stuff to read and self-searching!. I think this is the toughest thing to do; a journey to know yourself. It is a continuous process. It needs close observation, reading, research, talking to other people and discussion to explore our unconscious part. I do not know how many people could do it in their lives. It will bring you self-awareness, self-control. I think one of the sources of anxiety is when we loss our control over the environment (external world), we cannot keep self-control too. In this situation we are overwhelmed by unknown stresses!

(Posted by Iman)

Be true to yourself
A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.
Self-actualizing people are, without one single exception, involved in a cause outside their own skin, in something outside of themselves. They are devoted, working at something, something which is very precious to them - some calling or vocation in the old sense, the priestly sense. Self-actualized people have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy, however stale these experiences may be for other people. It is easily possible for self-actualizing people to fall deeply in love with homely partners. ... The more mature they become, the less attracted they are by such characteristics as handsome, good looking, good dancer ... and the more they speak of compatibility, goodness, decency, good companionship, considerateness. Self-actualizing people enjoy life in general and in practically all its aspects, while most other people enjoy only stray moments of triumph, of achievement or of climax or peak experience.

Abraham Maslow
(posted by Farid)