Author Profile

Barry Kort

I am a (now retired) Visiting Scientist at the MIT Media Lab in the Affective Computing Research Group . My long-term field of research is the Role of Emotions in Learning . Most recently, I have been working on the role of StoryCraft as a traditional method of learning. I am also a (now retired) volunteer science educator in the Discovery Spaces at the Boston Museum of Science . My other affiliations have included the Institute for Intelligent Systems at the University of Memphis and the School of Communication and Journalism at Utah State University where I have assisted in the curriculum in Online Journalism . I was formerly a Visiting Scientist in the Educational Technology Research Group at BBN Systems and Technologies. Some of my other research interests include puzzlecraft, building online communities, and the functional characteristics of rule-driven systems. Curriculum Vita: BSEE With High Distinction, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, 1968 MSEE Stanford University, 1969 Ph.D. Systems Theory, Stanford University, 1976 Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in the Network Planning Division of AT&T Bell Labs 1968-1987 Lead Scientist in the Network Center of MITRE, 1987-1990 Visiting Scientist in Educational Technology Research, BBN Systems and Technologies, 1990-1999 Visiting Scientist in the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Lab, 1999-2008 Volunteer Science Educator at Boston Museum of Science, 1987-2013 Retired, 2014-Present

Recent Posts

Building and Managing Personal Trust Networks

One of the features of the Information Age and Social Networks is the rising importance of Trust Networks. What is a Trust Network? It’s a network of individuals, organizations, and agents that one confidently feels they can unconditionally trust to be honest, reliable, ethical, constructive, pro-social, and responsive. Adding or removing individuals, organizations, or agents […]

Integrated Systems and the Phenomenon of System Disintegration

In Psychology, there is a diagnosis known as Dissociative Identity Disorder, which is the new name for Multiple Personality Disorder. The lay public often conflates Dissociative Identity Disorder with aspects of Schizophrenia and/or Schizoid Personality Disorder. In Schizophrenia, one may be affected by disorganized thinking associated with unexamined and/or erroneous beliefs (e.g. imaginative anxiety-driven beliefs […]

Adventures in Escalation

A while back, I was given a hand-me-down iPad Mini as a thank-you gift for doing some pro-bono technical work for a cash-strapped professional colleague. This iPad Mini has WiFi, GPS, and cellular capability. I’ve been a Bell Atlantic / Verizon customer for 27 years. However, I don’t own a cell phone, so I don’t […]

Mathematically Defined Crypto-Currencies

There has been a lot of attention on BitCoin of late, and a number of my correspondents have been digging into the topic. I was looking for some good analogies through which to understand the idea and the dynamics of BitCoin and similar mathematically defined crypto-currencies. This is my first shot at constructing such an […]

The Ninth Intelligence

In Howard Gardner’s catalog of Multiple Intelligences, the Ninth Intelligence is the rarest of them all. Monument to Plato, Academy at Athens Gardner calls it Existential Intelligence. Other candidate names are Spiritual Intelligence, Theological Intelligence, Religious Intelligence, Priestly Intelligence, Prophetic Intelligence, Mystical Intelligence, Kabbalistic Intelligence, Transcendent Intelligence, Metaphysical Intelligence, Ethical Intelligence, MetaCognition, Sustainability Intelligence, Cybernetic Intelligence, Pattern […]

Gaming the System

Politicians, lawyers, and well-heeled lobbyists are uncommonly gifted at gaming the system. To that list, you can add sheriffs, prosecutors, judges, and other local and state law enforcement officials. The concept of gaming the system was put on a rigorous mathematical foundation in the 20th Century, with the development of Chaos Theory, Game Theory, and […]

Our Place In the Cosmos and the Role of STEM in the Advance of Civilization

Symphony of Science Our Place In the Cosmos Two years ago, Wired Magazine reported that Neil deGrasse Tyson would host a sequel to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos which aired on PBS three decades ago. The producers of the new sequel say the new series will tell “the story of how human beings began to comprehend the laws of nature and find […]

Going to Hell in a Hand-Basket

“Where are we, and what are we doing in this hand-basket?” ~Bumper Sticker When I was a graduate student at Stanford University, laboring toward a degree in Systems Theory, one of the technical courses in my curriculum was on the mathematics of Feedback Control Theory. That subject plumbed the arcane depths of the theory of […]

A Study In Exasperation

A Study In Exasperation My singular experiences as a participant in the popular law blog, Volokh Conspiracy, including some bonus song parodies.

Contagion

Elsewhere in recent conversations, we’ve been talking about “mirror neurons” in the context of empathy. But imitation (or mimesis) is not limited to the brain’s ability to echo or reflect emotional states detected in others. Let’s zoom out and take a broader look at the phenomenon of mimesis. Contagion (or mimesis) is an insightful sociological […]