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What Is the Nature of Consciousness?
Consciousness, our experience of being in the world, is one of the mind’s greatest mysteries, but as the neuroscientist Anil Seth explains to Steven Strogatz, research is making progress in understanding this elusive phenomenon.
Is It Real or Imagined? How Your Brain Tells the Difference.
New experiments show that the brain distinguishes between perceived and imagined mental images by checking whether they cross a “reality threshold.”
How Loneliness Reshapes the Brain
Feelings of loneliness prompt changes in the brain that further isolate people from social contact.
Why and How Do We Dream?
Dreams are subjective, but there are ways to peer into the minds of people while they are dreaming. Steven Strogatz speaks with sleep researcher Antonio Zadra about how new experimental methods have changed our understanding of dreams.
Self-Taught AI Shows Similarities to How the Brain Works
Self-supervised learning allows a neural network to figure out for itself what matters. The process might be what makes our own brains so successful.
The Computer Scientist Challenging AI to Learn Better
Christopher Kanan is building algorithms that can continuously learn over time — the way we do.
By Exploring Virtual Worlds, AI Learns in New Ways
Intelligent beings learn by interacting with the world. Artificial intelligence researchers have adopted a similar strategy to teach their virtual agents new tricks.
The Year in Biology
The detailed understanding of brains and multicellular bodies reached new heights this year, while the genomes of the COVID-19 virus and various organisms yielded more surprises.
To Be Energy-Efficient, Brains Predict Their Perceptions
Results from neural networks support the idea that brains are “prediction machines” — and that they work that way to conserve energy.