Cognitive science

A Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind

In 2006, inventor Ray Kurzweil released the book The Singularity Is Near (Amazon Affiliate Link), with a bold prediction that by the year 2049 we’d enter a “technological singularity.” Around that time, he argued, the pace of improvement in technology would become a runaway phenomenon that would transform all aspects of human civilization. The word “singularity”

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Supersizing the Mind: The Science of Cognitive Extension

You enter your kitchen for a quick lunch: how is it exactly that your brain solves the problem “prepare lunch as efficiently as possible”? To view this post, become a Praxis member. You can join for $10 per month or $100 per year. Members get access to: Instant access to the full archive of past

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The World Beyond Your Head: How Distraction Shapes Who We Are

Matthew Crawford’s book The World Beyond Your Head (Affiliate Link) is the most important book I’ve read in quite some time. It makes a sweeping argument about what it means to be an ethical, autonomous human in the digital age. Crawford draws a strong connection from the distractions buzzing on our phones, to the evolving

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Mood as Extrapolation Engine: Using Emotions to Generate Momentum

I believe that moods (or less colloquially, states of mind) can be used not just defensively, making the best of whatever mood you’re in (as I described in Productivity for Precious Snowflakes). They can also be used offensively, to proactively create the conditions for rapid acceleration and value creation. Let’s begin with a simple question:

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A Theory of Unlearning: Ecstasis, Anamnesis, Kenosis

A year ago in Productivity for Precious Snowflakes, I introduced the idea of Mood-First Productivity — that our moods, or unique states of mind, are fundamental drivers of creative knowledge work. But something was missing: how does one advance in the practice of Mood-First Productivity, besides noticing what mood you’re in at any given time, and trying

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Experimental Habit Formation

A new framework for continuous learning One of the key challenges of living and working in the future will be continuous learning and experimentation. I’d like to propose a framework for this type of learning that is both feasible and focused on the individual: experimental habit formation. I believe it can help resolve one of

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