money, England

George Soros is very smart and I think honest. Bill Moyers reminds me a bit of Dad. Here they are talking about what's going on. It's the evaluation that makes the most sense of any I've run into, from what I know.

Last week I was in England. First, while we were still in Vienna, Will and I went to the long night of the museums again this year, accidentally staying out til midnight, then had to get up at 4:30 for a 6:45 flight. We had a bit less than one day in Nottingham, then went to Bath where I met with my new students -- one undergraduate, one PhD, both of whom I'm mostly supervising by email & chat. We also had dinner with a bunch of our friends. Then I had to go to Birmingham for a talk, and Will back to Nottingham, then I went to Bristol for a symposium I was one of the speakers at. A lot of the other speakers were pretty famous, so I was pleased to be asked. There was a botanist, Anthony Trewavas, who talked about plant behaviour which was really startlingly interesting. Three of us, Susan Blackmore, Owen Holland and I, talked about consciousness one way or another. I reused my talk from two weeks ago (plus some other material since this time I had 40 minutes, not 10!) One of the other speakers, Richard Gregory, was one of the people who founded the AI department at Edinburgh --- in fact, the last of the three people living, and the only one I hadn't previously met. I tried to talk to him at the beginning but couldn't think of anything intelligent to say and he wasn't very interested. But fortunately he liked my talk so we had a long conversation before dinner while the others were out enjoying the view from a patio over the Avon Gorge. He was very encouraging. Since this was the first time I spoke about consciousness publicly other than last week (the first time when I didn't have to!) I was glad it went OK. I'm not sure whether it's a good direction to take my career, but maybe it is.

Prof. Gregory said that he always sort of regretted leaving Cambridge, so I asked why he did, and he said it was out of frustration not to be able to study the whole brain. I asked whether Edinburgh had let him do that, whether he'd really learned anything from working with AI, and he said no. It was surprising, so I asked him twice. He seems still very interested and engaged in the ideas of machine intelligence -- in fact, his talk was a review of the talks at the original AI meeting 51 years ago, which he attended (he also reread the proceedings.) But he left Edinburgh after a decade and came back to doing biology in Bristol, where they gave him a whole department. He really is very amazing.

The night before I was explaining to a couple of the professors who also came the night before (I won't say which!) about how deflation works. They were asking how there could be no demand when people all need things, and I was explaining that if people can't afford to buy things it doesn't matter how much they want them from an economic perspective --- they can't buy them, so there's an oversupply, so stores have to lower prices. It is amazing to me people don't get taught that stuff here in highschool like we did. Though I guess I don't know how many Americans would remember they got taught it. I remember Barb didn't remember all the things I know we both got taught in jr high! So maybe they got taught about the depression and don't remember it too. Will says he just got taught endlessly about WWII.

Anyway, Saturday I went back to Nottingham and read five days of email & got to see Will for a few hours, then flew back to Vienna yesterday. I hope you guys can make due with following links rather than pretty pictures --- I've got quite a lot of deadlines in the next 10 days.