Wednesday, January 27, 2016

ArtsLab S1 Ep.17

ArtsLab with Mark Sheeky
Series 1 Episode 17
Broadcast Wednesday 27 January 2016, 4pm to 5pm GMT.

The Who, You Better You Bet (1981)
Pixies, Debaser (1989)
Punishment of Luxury, Obsession (1979)
Pierre Arvay, The Merry Ocarina (1969)
Pierre Arvay, Blue Dawn (1975)
Pierre Arvay, Desert De Glace/Empty Horizons (1974)
Tony Banks, In the Dark (1979)
Peter Gabriel, War Without Frontiers (1980)
Magnetic Man, Flying Into Tokyo (2010)
The Bolshoi, Sunday Morning (1989)
Andrew Gold, Lonely Boy (1977)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:

You can listen live during the broadcast on:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Films That Moved You

What was the last film you found moving? This seems to be rare with modern films, I can't really think of many "blockbusters" this applies to. Why? Is there something about these dreamy emotional films that makes them unpopular? That seems absurd, yet the facts speak for themselves. Here are some of my favourite films that moved me.

From the Life of the Marionettes (along with The Passion of Anna, these are perhaps my favourite Ingmar Bergman films, and so among my all time favourites!)
Wings of the Dove
Grave of the Fireflies
The Whole Wide World
Theory of Flight
Brief Encounter
When Harry Met Sally
Blue Velvet
V for Vendetta
The Hours
The Remains of the Day
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

What was the last film that you found moving?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

ArtsLab S1 Ep.16

ArtsLab with Mark Sheeky
Series 1 Episode 16
Broadcast Wednesday 20 January 2016, 4pm to 5pm GMT.
Special Guest Samie Cain.

Queen, Ogre Battle (1974)
Mark Sheeky & Tor James Faulkner, Calling Mister Wilson (2009)
Pixies, Debaser (1989)
Tony Banks, For a While (1979)
Adrian Belew (with vocals by David Bowie), Pretty Pink Rose (1990)
Justin Heywood, Forever Autumn (1978)
Kate Bush, Wuthering Heights (1978)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:

You can listen live during the broadcast on:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

ArtsLab S1 Ep.15

ArtsLab with Mark Sheeky
Series 1 Episode 15
Broadcast Wednesday 13 January 2016, 4pm to 5pm GMT.
Special Guests James Goodison and Roger Jeffery from Klaut MD.

David Bowie, Five Years (1972)
Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive (1978)
Tony Banks, The Waters of Lethe (1979)
Klaud MD, Live (2015)
David Lynch, She Rise Up (2011)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:

You can listen live during the broadcast on:

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

ArtsLab S1 Ep.14

ArtsLab with Mark Sheeky
Series 1 Episode 14
Broadcast Wednesday 6 January 2016, 4pm to 5pm GMT.
Special Guest Chris Godber.

Markus Kaarlonen, Space Debris Spacesynth Remix (2011)
StatX, Girl Sitting On Hill (2014)
Brokengod, Zion Orb (2015)
Brokengod, Isolation Zone (2015)
Yazoo, Nobody's Diary (1983)
Tony Banks, Somebody Else's Dream (1979)
Teddy Bears Picnic, The Piggleswick Folk (1969) (to the words of I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor)
Spin Spider Spin, Peggy Zeitlin (196?)
The Beatles, Back in the USSR (1968)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:

You can listen live during the broadcast on:

Monday, January 04, 2016

Predictability and Freewill

There is an unusual paradox. Science exists to be predictable. The main aim of knowledge is to provide certainty to experience, to allow us to calculate what might happen if we did something, before we did it. On a basic level science exists to help comfort us in our belief that the sun will rise tomorrow at a certain time, but also give us the power to calculate future sunrise times, work out why the sun shines at all, and to control our environment and life as we desire. Yet despite this, there are, in quantum mechanics, areas of science that are fundamentally unpredictable. We might be able to say that a radioactive particle is more likely to emit at this time than another, but not exactly when. We can only measure the outcome. So, although science (and the universe and our lives themselves), seems to be reliably predictable, there is some fundamental level where it isn't. Why?

Prediction itself is a factor of belief and of freewill. Fundamentally, we need to feel free, that we can change things. If we could accurately predict the future, such that it was certain to be, then we would be forced to enact it because our actions would be a calculable part of the prediction. In a universe of perfect prediction we would have no free will at all.

The only options are that we accept that we have no freewill and that the universe is totally predictable (but have no power or ability to change it), or accept that the universe is not predictable but have free will.

Which is true?

First, what is prediction? Prediction is an idea of what might happen at a future time. It's a series of options. If I made the bridge from wood, it would be this strong. If I made the bridge from steel, it would be this strong. This sort of prediction relies on our choices. Are there types of prediction that do not involve human choices? Perhaps a scientist would say; I have an object of mass x and velocity y, so I can predict its energy of momentum absolutely, without involving choice. That equation is a fundamental truth. But is that the case? Can one exactly state the exact mass and velocity of an object without ever using judgement?

There are some measurements in quantum mechanics where the choices made by the experimenter have been shown to affect the outcome on a fundamental level. On a more simple level, in any measurement, the experimenter chooses what to measure. The choice to make the prediction itself is one of free will, to choose what to predict. Because of this reason alone there are no circumstances where a prediction can be made that doesn't involve some freedom of choice.

Freedom of choice is an inherent part of making a prediction because prediction is about control. A prediction is a tool to control the world, and for us feel in control we must have freedom. The two things are fundamentally linked. To make a prediction without any freedom to react to its consequences is pointless.

We want a universe that is fully explainable and predictable, but also want control over it. This is impossible. This is the paradox.

So if we had freedom of thought, then that would be unpredictable, we would demand that, but everything else must be predictable. This idea seems a little crazy. Might it be possible that some areas of the universe are fundamentally unpredictable, and that these areas are responsible for free will? That would solve the question firmly.

In that case, what would define the parts of the universe responsible for free will? And surely, we might also want to make predictions about people and how they think and behave? There are only two options; we have free will that is unpredictable, which would make social science and psychology impossible (and every day life somewhat haphazard), or we are fully predictable and free will is illusory. Is this too simple? Can there be gradations of freeness or predictive power?

Not really. We can't have totally accurate predictions and control over them. We can't see into the future, and control it. Everything works brilliantly when we accept that the limits to our predictive power are self-imposed limits of free will. A quantum measurement is exactly predictable, if we accept that we have no control over the prediction until the experiment has concluded. Yet, even outside of the quantum domain, in all experiments and predictions, this is a necessary trade-off. The reason predictions work so well in the macroscopic domain, the world of sunrise times and bridge constructions, is that we have more options, greater feelings of freedom to react to their outcomes. The less options in the outcome of a prediction, the less freedom we have, until we have no free will at all.