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Anyone selling happiness doesn't know anything about it

02/07/2011

Happy Faces Americans, we have been deceived. 

The great rat race doesn’t bring happiness!  More money doesn’t either!  Forgot what you were told:  more espresso shots to stay awake at work, Ambien to stay asleep at night, and Prozac to keep you from screaming aren’t actually inching you any closer to a happy life.

Throw out your self-help books and career guides.  It turns out happiness doesn’t come from success, success comes from happiness. 

If you want to be happy, research shows, deepen your sense of identity, your sense of intrinsic value, and find your purpose in life.  Do that, and success will follow.  Nothing else counts for nearly as much as we’ve been promised. 

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University

Artificial Intelligence's biggest success isn't making computers smarter -- it's making people dumber

02/04/2011

Mecha brain Back in 1997, when IBM’s computer “Deep Blue” beat the world’s (human) champion at chess, the news world erupted:  were human beings on the way out?

Well, were they? 

Today it doesn’t seem like it.  I doubt you can come up with a single substantive way that a computer being better at chess than Gary Kasparov has affected your life.  Sure, you use computers even more now, in even more ways, than you did ten years ago ... but that no longer feels threatening. In fact, when IBM’s newest supercomputer “Watson” beat the all-time (human) Jeopardy champion in a test match, nobody panicked. 

The success of Artificial Intelligence (AI) doesn’t seem to threaten humanity at all. 

But the failure of AI may be doing lasting and terrible damage. 

Artificial Intelligence is much better understood through its failures than its successes.  Sure, we’ve taught a computer to win at Jeopardy, but was that actually something we set out to do?  No – the field set out to create true “thinking machines.”  In 1963 the scientists at Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Laborabory (SAIL) anticipated that making a computer capable of truly understanding the world as people do would take about a decade.  Alan Turing expected AI machines to be able to make moral judgments. 

Today we’re not even close – even Watson, the Jeopardy winning computer, doesn’t “understand” the world, it just searches the web for terms that are linked together.  It’s found that “Jericho” is the link between “Joshua,” “city,” and “walls fell.”  

But rather than admitting failure and thereby celebrating what human intelligence is, AI researchers ... and the business world ... are trying to pull human intelligence down to the level of a machine. 

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Alumni Messenger

Alumna Roxie McBride, MA '10 Recently Passed Away

02/03/2011
Recent MA-MFT grad, Roxie McBride, MA '10 passed away December 30, 2010. She died of bone marrow myeloma within weeks of the cancer’s discovery. She was 56 years old and was happily married with 7 children. From staff member, Susan Tunis: She was lovely, and she had worked so, so hard for her degree. She deserved a long and productive career; I’m sure she would have helped a lot of...

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Alumni Messenger

Alumnus Ken Bradford, PhD '89 Offers 8 Month Advanced Training in Existential-Contemplative Therapy

02/03/2011
Authentic Presence: The Art of Psychotherapy A Professional Course with Ken Bradford, PhD An 8 Month Advanced Training in Existential-Contemplative Therapy Berkeley, CA Four Weekends, 36 Hours, $675, Dates TBA, April through December, 2011 Contact Ken Bradford for further information and a flyer: ken@bradfordphd.com

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Alumni Messenger

Alumna Karen Koepp, PhD '09 Offers Free Webinar for New Saybrook Students: Secrets of Graduate School Success

02/03/2011
Secrets of Graduate School Success Free Webinar Saturday, February 12 8:30 am PST Learn and apply project management tools to help you achieve deep learning and maximum progress this semester. This 1-hour interactive workshop will guide you through a process of identifying semester goals and creating an effective semester strategy, including Ø Self-management...

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University

Children without community suffer the worst effects of poverty

02/03/2011

It’s been well established that poverty hurts the well being of children.  Bad health, obesity, mental illness – these are associated with childhood poverty and everybody knows it.  What we’re discovering now is that a lack of community engagement and connections caused by poverty might be a cause. 

A new study published in Psychological Science, looked at the long term outcomes for children who were living in poverty in rural upstate New York. Over ten years ago a research team lead by Gary Evans of Cornell University were looking for an answer to the question “What is it about poverty that leads to these negative outcomes?” Their research study shows that the lack of financial capital isn’t the only factor.

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Alumni Messenger

The Annual Meeting of the Society for Humanistic Psychology, April 14-18, will Feature the Symposium:The New Existentalists: A Revival in Existential Thought and Practice

02/02/2011
The New Existentialists: A Revival in Existential Thought and Practice The annual meeting of the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 in the American Psychological Association) will be held April 14-18 at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. The Chicago Symposium will be on The New Existentalists: A Revival in Existential Thought and Practice Existential psychology...

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Alumni Messenger

Saybrook PHS Alumni to Host Alumni/Alumni-Student Dinners

02/02/2011
The PHS Saybrook Alumni Association will be hosting dinners with Saybrook University President Dr Mark Schulman and PHS Director of Alumni Affairs Dr George Aiken in the coming months. These dinners will be great opportunities to meet and hear from Dr. Schulman, and to reconnect with old Saybrook friends and meet new ones. The dinners will be held in the following locations: Orlando, FL...

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University

Politicians couldn't predict the violence in Egypt, but political scientists did

02/02/2011

800px-Central_Security_Forces_in_2011_Egyptian_Protests In between wondering what’s next for the Middle East, most of the world is taking the time to be surprised.  Nobody saw the revolution coming in Tunisia.  Nobody predicted the street protests in Egypt.

At least, we didn’t.  As it happens, somebody predicted exactly what was going to happen in those countries ... and in Iran, and in Jordon. 

In fact, three academics developed a model of predicting political turmoil that is now 7 for 7 on predictions of global unrest. 

The Predictive Societal Indicators of Radicalism Model of Domestic Political Violence Forecast was developed by two Kansas State University professors, Sam Bell Amanda Murdie in collaboration with Professor Cingranelli at SUNY Binghamton University.  It lists 37 nations that the model believes will see domestic political uprisings in the next five years – and so far all seven nations to do so since the 2010 predictions were made (including Iran, Tunisia, and Egypt) are, in fact, on the list.  

The tool was developed for an Open Innovation company called Milcord that builds knowledge management systems for federal governments. The researchers compiled a database based on public information on 150 countries. The data cover the amount and intensity of politically motivated domestic violence spanning two decades from 1990-2009. The violence includes a full spectrum from non-violent sit-ins that go over the edge to politically motivated bombings.   

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University

Turns out "Tiger mothers" have the same problems as every other mom

02/01/2011

Tiger Mother cover Everybody is arguing about “Tiger Mothers” these days ... but are they having the right argument? 

The trouble with the debate sparked by Amy Chua’s book is that it assumes that the only relevant questions in parenting are:  how authoritarian are you? 

There’s no question Chua went over the top:  when she writes about forcing her children to sit for hours with threats of no food, no water, no bathroom, until you perform perfectly ... doesn’t that sound like torture?  But there’s also no evidence to suggest that lax parenting is a good thing.  Authoritarian ... permissive ... is this really what matters in how happy and well adjusted children become?

A recent study out of Hong Kong suggests it's not.  This 2010 longitudinal study of 346 Hong Kong 7th graders found that the degree to which 7th graders thought their mothers cared about them was more relevant to their long-term life satisfaction than how strict their mothers were. 

In other words, how “authoritarian” and “permissive” mothers were didn’t actually matter all that much – but their relationship with the child, how loved the child felt and how much the children thought they mattered – was pretty important. 

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