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Placebo

The idea is a seed. It has something to do with a Nature article title: Consciousness: what it is, where it comes from — and whether machines can have it

It opens with this: “To understand where artificial intelligence might be heading, we must first understand what consciousness, the self and free will mean in ourselves.”

Whatever consciousness is, I just learned that a placebo does not work with unconscious people. The Mills College campus in Oakland used to have a Healing Plants walking trail. It was starting to decay before Northeastern University purchased the campus. Back in the day, they even had an email address for more information about the healing plants: healing@mills.edu. “Recipient address rejected: Access denied.”

Today, I wanted to improve my mood by walking among trees and plants, so I went to the nearest green space. This is what I saw. My mood improved, probably because I believe that walking among plants and sunlight is beneficial for my psychological state. 

The fallen sign reads: 

A placebo is an imitation treatment in which the patient and the doctor (in a double-blind clinical trial) believe that a viable medication has been administered. However, the patient is given a placebo medication that has no physiochemical effect. The placebo effect refers to the improvement in a patient’s condition after being treated with a placebo. How and why a placebo treatment may have a beneficial result is still unknown; however, an unconscious patient will not respond to a placebo. This indicates that conscious thought may play a curiously strong role in the healing process.