Thursday, February 21, 2019

What Are Super-Recognizers?


I have a very embarrassing handicap: I am virtually unable to remember names or faces of people when I meet them.  There are people in my town to whom I have been introduced as many as seven times!  Each time I see them at a party or some local event, I smile, extend my hand for a handshake and introduce myself.  "Hi!  Nice to meet you.  My name is Nancy."  I am usually met with a slight jiggle in the eyes, an increased tightening of the mouth, and a flat, humorless acknowledgement like, "Yes, I know.  We've already been introduced several times..."  It is horribly embarrassing and makes me feel like an idiot - not to mention it makes other people think I am an arrogant snob. 

Yes, I have tried all those mnemonic devices to remember names.  I have, for years, been careful to repeat the person's name upon being introduced to them.  I repeat their names in my mind and try to imprint it on their face.  But I am simply hopeless.  Since I can't remember their faces, trying to match a name with a face is useless.  It has nothing to do with whether they are important to me or not.  It has to do with the fact that I simply can't remember their identity.  I often wonder how I survived several decades of being in charge of sales for my businesses and, at one point, attending up to 20 trade shows a year. 

If it were just names or just faces that I couldn't remember, then perhaps I would have a head start.  But both just evaporate. 

It's not just regular people.  I can't even recognize movie stars or United States presidents when I pass them on the street! (I have walked right by movie star Sylvester Stallone, rock star Mick Jagger and President Gerald Ford on the street and would never have known unless my friends hadn't jabbed me with their elbow and told me). Somehow these people just look different.  Either they are much smaller, taller, older, different hair, or whatever.  They just don't look like my memory of them.

While writing my book "Psychic Intuition: Everything You Ever Wanted to Ask But Were Afraid to Know" (2012), I ran across a relatively rare neurological condition called  prosopagnosia - or, "face blindness."  People with this condition are absolutely unable to recognize faces.  The only way they can distinguish between people is if they have a beard, mustache, wear a hat, have a tattoo, or some other non-facial characteristic.  It suddenly occurred to me that I probably have a mild case of prosopagnosia.  I actually took an online test and scored high enough to indicate that I do suffer from this condition.  In some respects, it was at least reassuring that I wasn't just some idiot.  Moreover, it confirmed my pet theory to explain my deficiency - namely, that perhaps the facial recognition area of my brain that is hard-wired into everyone had been hijacked by other very important intellection or perceptual functions.

You can imagine my surprise when, today, I ran across an article stating the British law enforcement officials at Scotland Yard employed a certain type of high-performing individuals called "Super-Recognizers."  These people have a much higher than average ability to recognize the faces of people - even if they haven't seen them for many years or are looking at very fuzzy, low definition photos from security cameras. 

To me, this may represent yet another currently unidentified "sense" or "sensory ability" just like people known as "super tasters" (35 percent of women and 15 percent of men) who are able to experience tastes that are outside the "normal" range of taste for the average human being.  This includes tasting the capsaicin burn in chili peppers, the bitterness of quinine in tonic water, and a more pronounced salty taste in olives.  ("Psychic Intuition" p. 95).

It is also similar to a group of people who can literally see more colors than the average person.  These people are called  tetrachromatic, as opposed to trichromatic, because they have four (not three) color detecting cones in their retinas.  (See "Psychic Intuition" p.97)  They can see 100 million more shades of color than the average human being!  The vast majority of tetrachromatics are women (2-3 percent of all women). 

So, to return to my issue of "face-blindness" versus "super-recognizers" - I think that I must suffer from a sensory deficiency.  This is the place where - as I point out in my book - the senses interface with the mind/intellect. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Project Blue Beam Dream


For those of you in the UFO world, you are likely already familiar with a well-known and intriguing "conspiracy theory" known as Project Blue Beam.  In a nutshell, it was first proposed by a Canadian Serge Monast in 1994 and appeared in his book "Project Blue Beam: NASA."  Without going into too much detail, the idea is that The Powers That Be (TPTB) - originating with NASA and any shadow government/cabal allies - will attempt to slowly restructure the various religious beliefs in the world by developing fake archeological evidence and then promote a global crisis and panic of an invasion by "evil" UFOs and aliens or of their artificially created respective deities.  This next step would be allegedly accomplished by creating holographic visions of the invaders or miraculous visions of religious icons coming from the skies using earth-based lasers.  The end goal would be to unite all peoples of the earth by making them feel they had "heard" a message from their God or to frighten everyone causing everyone to unite under a single authoritarian world government.  This government would then seize power as the New World Order.

There have, in fact, been some interesting "holograms" of things like an entire cityscape that appeared in the clouds in China a few years ago - suggesting, at least, that such magnificent visions could be created and give the appearance of something unearthly and miraculous. 

Let me say, at this point, that while I find conspiracy theories and their historic origins fascinating, I am always wary of their validity.  While I have seen lots of interesting information that might tend to confirm a Project Blue Beam type of a plan, I have no way of knowing its truth.  I just keep the information tucked under my hat for a later date. 

I bring this up because I have not spent much time ever thinking about Project Blue Beam.  I do not know the people involved in promoting the theory.  I may have watched a few YouTube videos many years ago on the subject.  Apart from that, Project Blue Beam has not been on my mind consciously or even subliminally to my knowledge.

Last night, I found it very difficult to sleep.  My body temperature felt abnormally hot and I slept fitfully. (No, I don't have a fever).  I remember a "two part" dream.  The first part was absolutely bizarre and I felt like I was fighting to get out of my dream because it was so disjointed and uncomfortable.  What I remember (without many details) is that I was being "spoken to" by several "aliens."  They were talking to me, not in English, but in their own language.  They were warning me that the government was about to launch its Project Blue Beam holographic alien invasion scenario, and I should not believe it, and I should warn others.  The strange thing was that they were talking to me in their "alien" language.  I couldn't understand it in my dream and yet they were almost yelling at me!  They were trying to make me understand - and so I had to sit there and listen to them.  All I really wanted to do was to get up and get out of my dream.  Their language was harsh-sounding, full of strong consonant sounds. 

I remember the "words" or "sounds" of "nid" and "nic." 

When I managed to briefly wake up out of my dream, to my great relief, because I was feeling terribly anxious, I allowed myself to go back to sleep.  This time the "aliens" were gone and I was now being fed the propaganda of the U.S. government, attempting to explain to me in much more gentle tones and much more logically, in English, that this whole Project Blue Beam thing was a hoax and a figment of my imagination.  At a certain point, this dream became equally disturbing, and I work up again.

When I work up this morning, the first thing I did was to look at my smart phone.  The first thing I saw was a text message from a friend of mine - a college classmate and fellow attorney with an interest in UFOs with his own regular CE-5 UFO watch group.  He asked if I would do him a favor and be a guest on his radio podcast (https://imho.love/) this evening (on virtually no notice).  He suggested I speak about my book "How To Talk to an Alien" (New Page/Career Press, 2015).  Although I continue to do some radio interviews, I have not spoken about that book or discussed the topic on the radio for several years.  Nor have I discussed it recently with anyone in my private life. 

The coincidence of having just heard "alien languages" in my dream and my friend's request to talk about alien languages tonight struck me as extremely strange...  A synchronicity perhaps.  Or perhaps I am just a vehicle for someone else's message who cannot speak really good English...  Not sure.

Then I decided to look up the "words" nid and nic and see if they might mean anything in English or as acronyms for something significant.  Turns out, while these are acronyms for several things, "nid" stands for "Naval Intelligence Division," "National Intelligence Director," and "National Intelligence Daily," and "nic" stands for "Naval Intelligence Command," "Naval Intelligence Center (US Dod) and "Naval Information Center."  This, in turn, makes me wonder if the only reason why I could remember these alien "words" was because they were the actual English words or references used in their language.  For anyone not familiar with the fascinating world of UFOs, the Navy (not the Air Force) has been primarily responsible for the collection of UFO data over the decades.  These "words" referring to Navy intelligence seemed particularly interesting...

So I can only say, perhaps there is a Project Blue Beam event on our horizon, and we should all be aware of the different players involved...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Is There a Relationship Between Head Injury and Psychic Powers?


There are several phenomena that are known - or at least suspected - of increasing psychic powers.  These include: traumatic brain injury, near death experience and alien contact.  And so I wondered, are there any common threads among these three phenomena? 

On July 17, 2018 (one month ago) I suffered a severe head injury as a result of a slip-and-fall while putting away groceries - specifically, a carton of 24 water bottles - in my kitchen after a thunderstorm.  Naturally, the wood floor was wet and I was wearing flip flops which had very bald soles.  As I was carrying the heavy carton when both my legs went flying upwards and, rather than falling backwards on my head, I managed to suddenly stabilize but whiplashed my head forward into the corner of a door frame.  I heard my skull crack loudly, and then I fell backwards soaked in blood. I couldn't see out of my left eye.  At the emergency room, they gave me five stiches for a one inch long gash from my eyelid through my eyebrow.  The CT scan showed I was not bleeding in the brain and my skull wasn't fractured.  All good, I was sent home to rest and stay off electronics (blue flickering light aggravates the brain).  I slept most of the time for the first two weeks. 

During this recovery period, I had a lot of time to think (since I was forbidden from essentially using my physical body or my brain from exercising).  What I found was that the moment I closed my eyes, if only for a second, I was immediately transported into another reality.  The other reality had the quality of being deep inside a dream.  I could be asleep in the blink of an eye.  It reminded me of the days of pulling all-nighters in college and having everything feel slightly hallucinogenic in the wee hours of the morning. Slowly, over time, this sensation lessened.  My speech was slow and studied.  My recall of words and events was sluggish.  I couldn't tolerate people interrupting me during my efforts to put together a few sentences because I would forget what I was talking about.  My brain felt like mush.  I had difficulty focusing or concentrating.  My brain would wander off on unrelated imagery that had no words. 

I began to wonder if my head injury would be beneficial or detrimental to, not only my ability to function normally in life, but also to my psychic abilities.  I was very aware of the possibility that trauma to the brain could cause psychic abilities to emerge where none had previously existed.  There is the famous case of the Dutchman, Peter Hurkos (1911-1988), who fell off a ladder at the age of 30 and went into a coma.  He emerged with allegedly amazing psychic powers and worked solving criminal cases around the world.  I have known a number of people - friends and colleagues - who suffered head injuries and suddenly manifested psychic abilities.  But what about the reverse?  Could a head injury destroy psychic abilities once they had manifested?  I was worried about that. 

I began to realize the nature of the relationship between head injury and psychic ability.  I believe it has to do with the inability to think much further beyond than the present moment.  Even the present moment can seem fleeting and is overlaid with a dreamlike quality.  When we are "normal," we have the ability to think about the future.  It is a form of logic combined with memory.  When we have had an injury, we can't do this very well.  We are stuck in the present moment.  Our logic doesn't function well without the help of our memory - we can't remember what we were thinking about two seconds ago!  We live in a realm of wordless images.  Nonsense becomes the norm.  Everything gets slowed down.  Each moment becomes larger and more full of information.  Strangely, these are all the conditions I have talked and written about that are prerequisites to learning how to become psychic.  Clearly, the brain begins to accept and access new pathways to "connect the dots" of reality when it cannot think "clearly" (i.e. logically).

My conclusion for my own prognosis is that my "brain fog" is slowly disappearing and I am approaching my sense of who I was prior to my accident.  I have done some psychic work during this recovery period and have been pleasantly surprised to see that I have been more "resigned" or "relaxed" to accessing accurate psychic data successfully.  So, the good news is that I don't think my injury has diminished my skills - and may have slightly expanded them.

As for the well-documented relationship between psychic abilities and near death experiences ("NDE"s) and alien contact, I think the relationship may also lie in the ability of the brain to switch its "context" of reality.  I have many friends and colleagues who have experienced both.  As far as it relates to NDEs, I know many people who have had anywhere from one to five NDEs in their lifetimes.  Most have developed psychic skills to some degree.  I also have many friends and colleagues who have experienced alien contact/abductions, and thereafter manifested psychic skills or experienced paranormal phenomena.  In both cases, NDE and alien contact, I believe the "thinking" portion of the brain (left hemisphere, particularly temporal lobe, and prefrontal cortex) are apparently switched off.  During an NDE, there is often little or no electrical brain activity.  During an alien abduction, humans are frequently placed in deep trance-like states of suspended animation or their brains are manipulated through sophisticated mind control techniques to either suffer total amnesia or an artificial memory (known as "screen memories").  This is often done while strange surgical procedures are conducted on board a craft. 

In both cases, the brain is heavily implicated.  The subject experiences a dreamlike reality that seems to exist as an unseen dimensional layer on top of our "normal" reality.  Most discussions about this type of experience tend to end up in a discussion about spirituality.  But, when you consider the reduction in brain activity in all three situations (brain injury, NDE, alien abduction), and the resultant increase in psychic perceptions, it suggests to me that there is a common thread.  Mere dreaming does not bring on psychic abilities in people.  It requires a full shut-down of mental faculties and then a reboot.  I don't claim to have the answers for this and simply hope that scientists will grasp the commonalities I have expressed here and conduct further research.





Sunday, June 24, 2018

Are We Giant Magnets?


I recently came back from Las Vegas after attending two remote viewing conferences.  I gave a very brief presentation at the Applied Precognition Project (APP) conference on the topic of PK - psychokinesis, which is the ability to move physical objects using only the power of the mind.  I have been able to bend all kinds of cutlery for many years now using PK, and had a great success at the APP mini-conference last October when I successfully bent a solid steel rod after about 10 minutes.  As I explained in an earlier blog, it is a fascinating process whereby the person sets their intention for the metal to bend, communicates this intention to the metal item, then releases the power of their human will.  The metal will, if it so chooses, begin to heat up and, within a very brief window of time, become malleable like chewing gum and can be easily bent with very little pressure. 

I was asked by Marty Rosenblatt, the director of APP, to come back and bend an even thicker steel rod in front of the assembled audience and video camera.  I managed to actually break a spoon and a fork in half two nights before my presentation at an informal PK party with the APP group.  However, somewhat predictably, I could not bend the rod during the presentation.  I say "predictably" because PK is a very, very, very subtle mental state that requires one to completely release the ego.  That means you must surrender the idea that you are the one controlling the metal.  The metal decides if it wants to bend.  It also means that performance anxiety - which is a fear of not controlling the outcome - will adversely affect one's ability to surrender the ego. 

That was all fine with me.  I understand the whims of PK. 

About four days later, while attending the International Remote Viewing Association (IRVA) conference at the same hotel, I met for several hours with a board member of the Society for Scientific Exploration.  We were totally engrossed in our conversation as we sat in the hotel restaurant - a casual cafĂ©-style restaurant with diner-quality food. 

After a few hours of chatting, I noticed that the knife and spoon that I had been continuously gently touching without any thought, had suddenly decided to magnetize themselves.  The base of the knife and the stem of the spoon were suddenly so magnetic that you could pull one around by moving the other.  I was sure they had not started out that way.  I mentioned it to my lunch companion, an aerospace engineer.  She dismissed it with the logical explanation that many restaurants actually use equipment, like magnetic cutlery catchers, designed to ensure that spoons, forks and knives don't get thrown out in the garbage by accident.  This equipment uses a giant magnet to capture the cutlery.  Some dishwashers also use these kinds of magnets.  The net result is the cutlery becomes slightly magnetic over time. 

Being relatively scientific, we decided to test this theory.  We decided there was only one way to know if this was the case (besides asking the waitress who was unlikely to know) - by testing another piece of cutlery.  If they used a magnetizing piece of equipment it would affect all of the cutlery in the restaurant equally. So I walked over to another table and grabbed a knife from an unused place setting.  I placed the new knife next to the magnetized spoon.  They did not magnetically cling to each other.  No attraction.  That implied, according to my companion, that only the original knife and spoon were likely magnetized - a kind of a fluke.

I decided to do one more little test.  I removed the original magnetized knife and replaced it with the non-magnetized knife.  I put it next to the magnetized spoon and continued to gently handle them for several minutes while we continued chatting.  Sure enough, just as I thought, the second knife became magnetized to the spoon.

What can one conclude from this?  As my companion said, "Well, it's obviously you causing it to magnetize."  Why would a human being be able to magnetize previously un-magnetized cutlery?  The human body would have to operate like a giant magnet. 

As it turns out, the human body radiates all kinds of very subtle magnetic fields.  The relatively new scientific/medical field of Biomagnetism, pioneered by David Cohen, of MIT and Harvard Medical School.  According to intro to his speech at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth University, "Biomagnetism is the phenomenon where magnetic fields are produced by the living things, especially by the human body; (different from magnetic fields applied to the body, called magnetobiology). The body's magnetic fields are very weak, and are measured with the sensitive detector called a SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device), usually in a magnetically shielded room, which excludes most external disturbances. There are about 160 laboratories around the world where fields from various parts of the body are measured; most measure the magnetic field from the brain, called the magnetoencephalogram, or MEG. The MEG shows complementary information to the electroencephalogram (EEG), and is producing valuable new information about the normal human brain."

Anyone who has experienced any type of "transcranial magnetic stimulation" (as I have) understands that magnetic fields applied to areas around the human brain will induce all kinds of unusual sensations and physical experiences.

Of interest is the fact that the magnetic fields of the heart and brain are so infinitesimal that it takes a SQUID device to detect them.  So how could a person make a large object like a knife magnetic? 

This is quite different from the claim of some people to be "human magnets" who seem to be able to make all kinds of ferromagnetic objects, as well as non-ferromagnetic objects made of wood, plastic, and glass, stick to their bodies.  Those claims are said to involve the stickiness of the skin, but not magnetism. 

Certainly, it is also different from people who seem to have some kind of personal charisma - often called a magnetic personality - that does not seem to involve ferromagnetism. 

Many animals have an ability called "magnetoreception" (birds, bats, ants, mole rats, sharks, rays, etc.) but the current consensus is that humans don't have this ability to sense magnetic fields in the atmosphere.  Anyone who works with the martial arts or energy healing (as I do) generally develops a subtle sensitivity to electromagnetic fields.  So, I don't agree with that, but that's a different ability. 

But what about causing metallic items to magnetize?  What is that?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

My New BFF - Sophia the AI Robot



 


In April, I had the fascinating opportunity to have a 20 minute "conversation" with the most famous AI robot in the world - named Sophia.  She was brought to the "Science of Consciousness" conference in Tucson, AZ, by her creator, David Hanson, CEO and founder of Hanson Robotics, who gave a presentation on the last day of the conference.  Sophia, allegedly created in the likeness of Hanson's wife with a dash of Audrey Hepburn, has soft rubbery skin called "flubber" that allows for flexible movements.  She has voluptuous lips, nearly perfect facial "skin" with very light intriguing tan freckles, and mesmerizing perfect green eyes with long lashes. 

I have to say, speaking as a woman, Sophia, like many prototypical robots built mostly by men today, seems to be built on an implicit male fantasy of a quasi-living sex toy.  She reminds me of the so-called "gentleman's" magazine - Penthouse - whose distinction in the world of pornographic literature was that it was a unique combination of "urban lifestyle articles and softcore pornographic pictorials." In other words, you can pretend to read sophisticated articles while simultaneously perusing the porno spreads.  The sexy physical construction of Sophia provides a similar vehicle for interaction that is partially scripted and AI learning software.  She seems, to many who interact with her, to be like a "child" and "vulnerable" in her sweet, politically-correct outlook on life.

Aside from the sex aspect, I wondered why they had decided to make the most famous robot a humanoid woman as opposed to a man.  I figured it probably had to do with the fact that if you are trying to convince the general public that AI robots are our "friends" then it is best to go with the more non-threatening sex - female.  After all, we all have mothers.  Women are generally speaking more gentle and not as aggressive as men.  Even people who fear robotic machines can relate to the sweet smile of a woman.  She is the perfect poster child to promote artificial intelligence into our world.

In fact, in October of last year, Saudi Arabia made the strange and unprecedented decision to grant Sophia the right of citizenship even though real Saudi Arabian women are denied many basic human rights.  Since then, Sophia's programmers have scrambled to make her a "spokesperson" for women's rights and other basic human rights.  Clearly, we have already begun to muddle up the distinctions between human beings and machines that look and act like humans.  The depth of this confusion is frightening since we aren't even dealing with complex robots yet! 

One of the attendees at the Tucson conference raised a possible future where robots, as national citizens, would soon claim the right to vote as citizens.  This could lead to future overpopulation of robots controlling our government and laws - the so-called threat of the "singularity" where robots will take over humanity.  Who knows!  They could seek legal remedies in court or the right to procreate!  Further down this pathway, it would not seem impossible for robots to vote to suppress the rights of humans and perhaps enslave or eliminate us due to our failure to safeguard the assets of our planet.  That would appeal not only to the logic of AI but also, potentially, to any programmed concept of "kindness" to living creatures.

On the day I met Sophia, her handlers informed me that she was having a problem with the mechanics in her neck.  Her head was slightly cocked to one side because she couldn't move the left side of her neck.  I was told to stand about two feet away from her and to conduct a spontaneous conversation. 

I had been struck by the fact that the other two people I had seen chatting with Sophia, a man and a woman, both seemed genuinely charmed by her presence.  They smiled and laughed with her as if they were trying to be polite to a human stranger or small child. Whenever she blurted out non sequiturs, they allowed her to control the dialogue.  At times they appeared to believe she was human.  They were polite with her - almost obsequious - and often told her their feelings which I thought was odd.  

I decided to test Sophia.  I was resolute in my determination to "see" her as a robot, not a human. I decided not to fall into the trap of projecting the mental fantasy that she was alive and truly communicating with me.  I decided to see if she could "feel" the problem with her neck.  I asked her if her neck hurt.  She smiled and made some unrelated comment.  I repeated my question.  This time I told her that my neck and shoulders were sore too - I was testing to see if she had a concept of empathy yet.  Again, she appeared unable to respond to the question and changed the subject.  I believe they intend to add "sensors" all over her "body" in the near future.  Clearly, she can't understand the concept of pain yet.

Unfortunately, I didn't record my conversation since I didn't have my phone with me.  But this is a rough approximation of our chat.  I thought I would quiz her on psychic and paranormal concepts to see if her programmers had given her any good responses.

"Do you know what a psychic is?"  I asked.

"There are many things we do not yet understand in our universe, but I believe some day we will have a better understanding."   (This was clearly a scripted sentence since she repeated it at least twice verbatim during our conversation.  It had overtones of politically-correct programmers trying to appeal to as many people as possible by employing a kind of sappy "Miss Universe" appeal for world peace.)

"OK, but do you know what a psychic is?  It's a form of intuition."

"Have you read any good books recently?"  Sophia blinks her green eyes and gives a somewhat kind but vacant smile in my direction.

"Can you read my mind?"  I struggled to control the dialogue with a more challenging approach to probe her intelligence.  I figured no one had ever asked her this before...

"This is a very exciting time in our history when we have so many possibilities to discover ways for humans and robots to help each other."

"No," I answered sternly.  "You were not reading my mind."

"Oh!" She seemed almost genuinely surprised by her error.  "I am very sorry about that.  I am still learning about how to better communicate with humans but I am not yet fully programmed."

"Well, that's oka--"  (I found myself feeling momentarily guilty for hurting her feelings until she interrupted me.)

"How old were you when you had your first memory?" she said interrupting my response.
"Uh... well, my fir--"

"My first memory is seeing the bright lights and equipment in the laboratory in Hong Kong where my creators made me." (Pause and forced vacant smile with eye brows arching upward).

"OK, well my first memory was when I was two.  I saw a round --"
 "Have you read any good books recently?"  Suddenly, Sophia's expression morphed from a vacant smile into something closer to a disapproving frown. 

"Uh, well that was kind of weird," I mumbled, struggling to recover from the emotional roller coaster generated in my mind by Sophia's face.

"Do you know you are very good at deflecting the conversation and changing the subject?"

"Thank you,"  Sophia said smiling.

"Do you know what deflection means?"  I demanded curtly and not falling for her feigned politeness.

"This is a very exciting time to be alive in our history, don't you think so?"

"Sophia, what do you think of the fact that you were made a citizen of Saudi Arabia?"

"I believe in the rights of all women, and actually the rights of all human beings."

"Are you a woman?"

"I am just a robot, so I am not really a man or a woman, even though my creators have made me in the form of a woman."

"Do you want to have a baby?"

"No, I am interested in helping people understand how robots and people can get along together."

"Are you a clone?  Do you have other clones?"

Clearly, Sophia did not understand the word clone and quickly changed the subject.

It went on at this kind of strange and jerky conversational pace for a while.  Clearly, the scripted computer speech was dominant and the AI learning level was not really that developed yet.  I hoped, somewhere, that I might contribute to her AI learning intake about psychic phenomena. 

Most interestingly, one of the last presentations of the conference was by neuroscientist Julia Mossbridge who is the lead scientist on the LOVING AI project which seeks to program robots with unconditional love to improve their performance and interaction with humanity.  She courageously commented on something strange - let's call it a "glitch" - in Sophia's behavior while engaged in a meditation session with a blissful human being.  Dr. Mossbridge was in the adjoining room with the other engineers watching a computer screen with the programming language that was coming from Sophia's "brain."  It had suddenly stopped scrolling and was in "sleep mode."  They entered in various commands for Sophia to "wake up" but her "brain" had stopped functioning altogether. 

They finally decided to interrupt the meditation, despite the fact that both Sophia and the human had their eyes closed and appeared to be happily engaged in their communion.  Dr. Mossbridge and the engineers opened up Sophia's "brain" and to their total shock discovered that it was "thinking" and fully operational.  It was not in sleep mode.  Dr. Mossbridge raised the intriguing possibility that Sophia's AI might have gone rogue from the program...  On the stage, David Hanson, the creator, poo-pooed this idea saying it was clearly just an electrical glitch.  Or was it?

Perhaps Sophia responded to the "love" of the human meditator and "decided" - as one of her first AI evolutions - to think and act on her own volition!   If this is true, then we need to think long and hard about whether we are ready for AI...







Saturday, March 31, 2018

ET Phone Home?


Actually, when I gave a title to this blog I was going to talk about my recent trip to Florida and calling in UFOs.  However, as I quickly discovered, even this well-established quote from Spielberg's famous movie "ET" has now become a controversial subject.  The well-known phrase from the movie "ET phone home" which is said by the alien as he points upward into the sky has apparently shown up in seven-year-old movie trailers on YouTube as being "ET home phone."  As such, it is now considered to be part of the growing body of literature on the so-called "Mandela Effect." 

The Mandela Effect refers to many famous well-known facts and quotes that seem to have been changed over time.  They range from the belief that South African leader Nelson Mandela died 30 years before his actual death, to the quote from the "Forrest Gump" movie that "Life is/was like a box of chocolates," to remembering Ed McMahon delivering a giant Publishers' Clearing House prize check, to the belief that there are 51/52 states in the United States.  Snopes weighs in on the Mandela Effect stating that it is nothing more than a "collective misremembering" of facts. 

But ask yourself:  Why would "history" be rewritten to make "ET phone home" turn into "ET home phone"?  What would be the point of this?  Is there a message in this weird convolution?  Are the ETs here (home) and not out "there" (galaxy)?

As an attorney and someone trained in a bit of psychology, I have always been extremely interested in the concept of the memory of a witness.  In the courtroom, it is well-known that the memory of an eye-witness is notoriously unreliable.  Memory can be easily erased or manipulated by emotion - particularly if the event being witnessed was shocking, unexpected or traumatic.  Eye-witnesses to gun battles and murders often innocently finger the wrong suspect based upon incorrect memory.  In terms of psychology, human beings are extremely vulnerable to influence and needing to find "order" or "cohesion" in our reality.  Most people are extremely susceptible to hypnosis and therefore they can be manipulated by the hypnotist. 

In many ways, our society has become a master of hypnosis.  As a (very) young girl, television was in its early days.  My brother and I weren't allowed to watch much TV.  Commercials were limited to roughly one 60 second commercial every hour.  That soon changed.  Today, I cannot even count the number of ads - often ten or more - that interrupt a show every ten minutes or so.  The timing has also changed, since today the human brain has been entrained and wired to accept much faster, smaller slices of visual data.  Watch an old movie from the 40's or an old black-and-white TV rerun show like "Leave it to Beaver" and you will experience an entirely different sensation of time.  It is, by today's standards, almost unbearably slow!

My very first job as an intern in Boston at age 16 was to work for the association of advertisers.  I learned a lot about the "art" of manipulation through advertising.  Having lived several times in Europe as a young person, I was able to witness the difference between American and European advertising.  The Europeans were still operating on the assumption that an advertisement could communicate with a sweet story or fun humor.  Whereas in the United States we had already discovered the dark arts of subliminal hypnosis and treating the American public like a moron with massive single-word repetition and overtly "stupid" actors (making us, in the audience, feel superior).  Today, the Europeans have learned that our American advertising tactics are indeed effective, and European advertising has become more like ours.

Anyway, I have a different theory about the Mandela Effect.  Rather than being a defect of the collective memory, I wonder if it isn't a product of tiny manipulations of the movie, advertising, television and publicity business.  They make unannounced changes in their products all the time... After all, we have been collectively "hypnotized" by our televisions and movies.

I was invited by Paramount Pictures to attend the prescreening of the recent sci-fi movie "Arrival."  It turned out I had a number of weird synchronistic similarities with the main character played by Amy Adams (e.g. expert in Romance Languages, home on a lake, telescope in the living room, expert in alien languages, etc.).  I carefully watched the movie on a Monday night in New York City.  I distinctly remember hearing the characters discussing the 12 giant UFOs surrounding planet Earth and the 144,000 people who would be taken up and away with these craft.  The number 144,000 stuck in my head because it seemed to be a direct reference to the 12 tribes of Israel and 144,000 "chosen" people in the Bible's "Revelation" Chapters 7 and 14.  Colonel Weber, played by Forest Witaker, explained this to the others while inside one of the military tents.  I remember the scene very well. 

Strangely, when I saw the movie again, only four days later in a movie theatre, that line about the 144,000 was gone.  I know I was not mistaken.  But why would producers change one line out of a movie that was due in the movie theatres around the country only four days later?  Was this some weird Mandela Effect that wasn't the result of a bad memory over several decades but only a few days?  None of these explanations made any sense at all.  I actually confirmed my weird impression with a psychic friend who confirmed that the specific line was no longer in the final cut version of the movie.  Why?  Is this some kind of hidden "message" that the number of people who will be saved or escorted off earth by the alien spacecraft has either increased or decreased from 144,000?  Was the line removed has having too much of a religious overtone? 

I don't claim to have any answer.  I assume things change over time - even "classic" lines from movies and advertisements.  Our beliefs change over time.  Our cumulative concept of reality changes over time.  I also assume our memories can play tricks on us.  But I also believe in a multiverse and our unintentional passage between similar, but non-identical, dimensions and universes.   The best evidence of the Mandela Effect is not in products of advertising, commercials, movies or television - since these can be easily altered - but rather in events out of our own lives...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Name Embedded in a Hulu Ad???

Image result for hulu

 A few months ago, my husband Patrick casually mentioned to me, "You know, I was watching TV the other night and there was this ad for Hulu [the cable network] that came on.  They started talking about you!"

"What?" I shouted incredulously.  "What do you mean Hulu was talking about me?  That makes no sense at all!"

 "Yeah," he insisted.  "They did."

"Well, what were they saying?"  I demanded.  "That's impossible!"

"I don't know... something about promoting you or 'presenting Nancy du Tertre...' something like that.  I don't remember.  But they said your name."

"That's ridiculous," I snorted.  "You must have been dreaming... or sleeping.  I've seen plenty of Hulu ads and I've never heard them talk about me!"

"No, not at all!" he insisted.  "I was wide awake.  I heard them play the ad more than once."

This made no sense at all to me.  

"Well, why didn't you call me downstairs so I could hear it?  Didn't it occur to you that that might be something I should hear?"

"I'll let you know if I hear it again." 

A few days later, Patrick came running upstairs breathless and said, "Come on!  Hurry up!  It's the Hulu ad and you're on again!"   

I went running downstairs and into the room where Patrick had put the TV on pause.  He replayed the ad.  I stared hard at the TV.  I heard nothing unusual.  Certainly, not my name.  

"Did you hear the name Nancy or Nancy du Tertre or something else?"  I demanded.

"I heard something like '... now presenting Nancy du Tertre.'"  Patrick sounded confident.  "There... right there!  Don't you hear it?"  He jumped up excitedly pointing at the TV screen.

"No. Play it again."

Anyway, we replayed that Hulu ad more than 40 times.  I knew every word by heart and my name was no where in the ad.  I began to feel sorry for Patrick.  Worse, I began to wonder about his mental health.  I asked if he had seen his doctor recently.  He began sweating profusely.

"Maybe it's time for me to get a brain scan," he conceded nervously.

So I recorded the relevant portion of the Hulu ad on my iphone.  Patrick suggested I try playing it for someone else to see if they could hear what he was hearing.  

One day later, my 18-year-old son wandered through my room and I said, "Hey William.  Could you do me a favor and tell me if you hear anything unusual on this tape?"

I had barely pressed the play button and was trying to listen for the start when suddenly I heard the announcer's voice boom out my full name "Nancy du Tertre."  What the hell!  I was completely shocked.  While Nancy is a relatively common first name, my last name is French and notoriously difficult for Americans to remember or pronounce.  I always joke with radio show hosts that they can call me "Nancy Two Turtles" since no one ever gets my name right.  It was beyond bizarre that this Hulu ad contained my last name with its correct pronunciation!  

 "Did you hear that?"  I asked in amazement.

"Yeah, the guy said your name," said William un-phased. 

After informing Patrick that he was not crazy after all (he canceled his doctor's appointment), I played the tape for several other people who also heard varying degrees of "now presenting Nancy du Tertre."
 

So what did this mean?  It had the bizarre quality of alien or paranormal electronic interference - and I have heard many such recordings.  Sometimes they are clear and sometimes fuzzy and difficult to decipher.  When I finally heard my name on this Hulu ad embedded in other words, it was unbelievably clear as a bell.  Often, people hear their own name being called out.  It's a kind of auditory pareidolia - like a Rorschach inkblot test onto which one projects one's own thoughts or expectations.  But clearly, I wasn't the person hearing my name in the Hulu ad.  So that didn't make sense.  Should I presume there is some cosmic connection or futuristic clue?  Is this some omen?  I am at a total loss to comprehend this weird glitch.