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‘Betray the Secret: Humanity in the Age of ‘Frankenstein’’ at the Cantor Arts Center

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” the Cantor Arts Center recently featured “Betray the Secret: Humanity in the Age of ‘Frankenstein.’” The exhibition explored what it means to be human, raising the questions Shelley posed when she published the novel in 1818. The exhibition features 38 works of American and European…

Stanford alum advocates for solar energy in seminar on new book

In a Monday afternoon presentation on his new book, “Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet,” Varun Sivaram ’11 stressed current constraints on solar power and three types of innovation — financial innovation, technological innovation and systemic innovation — that he believes are key to sustaining solar energy’s rise to dominance.

Heroes of humanity

There are lots of mainstream movies about humans doing crazy, spectacular things for survival, for honor and for others. “127 Hours,” “Interstellar” and “Schindler’s List,” just to name a few. When I watch movies like these, I often think about what it takes to go beyond our human limitations of fear to do great things. Is…

Sentience and sentiment

Is it so far-fetched, then, to imagine that emotions might emerge in sentient A.I. even without our deliberately putting them there? While a robot may never experience physical emotional cues such as an elevated heartbeat, cold sweat, or butterflies in the stomach, its mental perceptions of feeling could still exist. If emotions are indeed akin to an instantaneous summing up of inputs, then could a conscious machine be said to experience emotions as its internal processes produce new conclusions?

And then there is Paris

I have always found certain parts of history deeply depressing. The depravity that our race has displayed on a wide scale can be totally disheartening. Murder, rape and torture are all so foreign to most of us Stanford students, and yet they are on some level illustrative of our collective nature. Viktor Frankl’s tale of…