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Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category: Page 472

Apr 7, 2012

GadgetBridge — Taming dangerous technologies by pushing them into consumer gadgets

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics, futurism, geopolitics, human trajectories, neuroscience

GatgetBridge is currently just a concept. It might start its life as a discussion forum, later turn into a network or an organisation and hopefully inspire a range of similar activities.

We will soon be able to use technology to make ourselves more intelligent, feel happier or change what motivates us. When the use of such technologies is banned, the nations or individuals who manage to cheat will soon lord it over their more obedient but unfortunately much dimmer fellows. When these technologies are made freely available, a few terrorists and psychopaths will use them to cause major disasters. Societies will have to find ways to spread these mind enhancement treatments quickly among the majority of their citizens, while keeping them from the few who are likely to cause harm. After a few enhancement cycles, the most capable members of such societies will all be “trustworthy” and use their skills to stabilise the system (see “All In The Mind”).

But how can we manage the transition period, the time in which these technologies are powerful enough to be abused but no social structures are yet in place to handle them? It might help to use these technologies for entertainment purposes, so that many people learn about their risks and societies can adapt (see “Should we build a trustworthiness tester for fun”). But ideally, a large, critical and well-connected group of technology users should be part of the development from the start and remain involved in every step.

To do that, these users would have to spend large amounts of money and dedicate considerable manpower. Fortunately, the basic spending and working patterns are in place: People already use a considerable part of their income to buy consumer devices such as mobile phones, tablet computers and PCs and increasingly also accessories such as blood glucose meters, EEG recorders and many others; they also spend a considerable part of their time to get familiar with these devices. Manufacturers and software developers are keen to turn any promising technology into a product and over time this will surely include most mind measuring and mind enhancement technologies. But for some critical technologies this time might be too long. GadgetBridge is there to shorten it as follows:

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Nov 13, 2011

D’Nile aint just a river in Egypt…

Posted by in categories: business, complex systems, cosmology, economics, education, ethics, existential risks, finance, futurism, geopolitics, human trajectories, humor, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, neuroscience, open access, open source, philosophy, policy, rants, robotics/AI, space, sustainability

Greetings fellow travelers, please allow me to introduce myself; I’m Mike ‘Cyber Shaman’ Kawitzky, independent film maker and writer from Cape Town, South Africa, one of your media/art contributors/co-conspirators.

It’s a bit daunting posting to such an illustrious board, so let me try to imagine, with you; how to regard the present with nostalgia while looking look forward to the past, knowing that a millisecond away in the future exists thoughts to think; it’s the mode of neural text, reverse causality, non-locality and quantum entanglement, where the traveller is the journey into a world in transition; after 9/11, after the economic meltdown, after the oil spill, after the tsunami, after Fukushima, after 21st Century melancholia upholstered by anti-psychotic drugs help us forget ‘the good old days’; because it’s business as usual for the 1%; the rest continue downhill with no brakes. Can’t wait to see how it all works out.

Please excuse me, my time machine is waiting…
Post cyberpunk and into Transhumanism

Oct 21, 2011

Let Me Use This Blog for another Purpose: Global Autism Therapy

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Thomas Insel from the National Institute of Mental Health recently focused on his life’s work on oxytocin, as I learned from a report in the Wall Street Journal (Oct. 5) featuring this “bonding hormone” of all mammals including humans. (See http://www.dnalc.org/view/2377-Oxytocin-Emotion-and-Autism.html )

Humans are the laughter-bonding mammals. Non-smile-blind toddlers at one point get seduced by Mom’s laughter into a bonding bout. Much as a puppy can in principle (no one checked on this) be seduced into a bonding bout by an adult dog’s happy tail-wagging. This strange convergence of two moods (bonding and joyfulness) into being expressed by the same innate releaser thus has occurred twice independently in two different mammalian species, wolf and human. But the toddler unlike the puppy is mirror-competent. Hence he is able to in addition concoct the hypothesis that Mom is being rewarded over there deep inside by his own momentary activity here that is making her laugh: A strange suspicion which overwhelms his own heart. He invents benevolence as existing over there out of nothing through perceiving it in the joy given to him. And then he tries to do the same thing reciprocally in anticipation of her appreciation. The all of a sudden grown appreciative former animal is no longer an animal – he suddenly knows heaven.

The invention of appreciation turns the toddler into a person. In Bill Seaman’s and mine new book, “Neosentience – The Benevolence Engine” (University of Chicago Press/Intellect 2011), much of this is detailed. Why am I mentioning it here? It is because benevolence is the human stamp. No other animal is benevolent so far – knowing about responsibility and the Now and truthfulness. But we humans can induce animals more intelligent than we are, hardware-wise, into becoming our elder brothers. Leo Szilard — bomb-inventor, bomb proposer and (in vain) bomb retractor — caught a first glimpse of this desperate hope in 1948, as detailed in my paper on the gothic-R theorem of general relativity.

Can I seduce everyone who reads this into becoming moved into “calling another soul his own,” as poet Schiller and composer Beethoven put it in their scientifically correct Song of Joy?

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Aug 20, 2011

The Nature of Identity Part 3

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, robotics/AI

The Nature of Identity Part 3
(Drawings not reproduced here — contact the author for copies)
We have seen how the identity is defined by the 0,0 point – the centroid or locus of perception.

The main problem we have is finding out how neural signals translate into sensory signals – how neural information is translated into the language we understand – that of perception. How does one neural pattern become Red and another the Scent of coffee. Neurons do not emit any color nor any scent.

As in physics, so in cognitive science, some long cherished theories and explanations are having to change.

Perception, and the concept of an Observer (the 0,0 point), are intimately related to the idea of Identity.

Continue reading “The Nature of Identity Part 3” »

Aug 20, 2011

More on Problems of Uploading an Identity

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, robotics/AI

The vulnerability of the bio body is the source of most threats to its existence.

We have looked at the question of uploading the identity by uploading the memory contents, on the assumption that the identity is contained in the memories. I believe this assumption has been proved to be almost certainly wrong.

What we are concentrating on is the identity as the viewer of its perceptions, the centroid or locus of perception.

It is the fixed reference point. And the locus of perception is always Here, and it is always Now. This is abbreviated here to 0,0.

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Aug 20, 2011

The Nature of the Identity, with Reference to Androids

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, robotics/AI

I have been asked to mention the following.
The Nature of The Identity — with Reference to Androids

The nature of the identity is intimately related to information and information processing.

The importance and the real nature of information is only now being gradually realised.

But the history of the subject goes back a long way.

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Jul 26, 2011

The Darwin Escape

Posted by in categories: existential risks, human trajectories, neuroscience

carboncopies.org

Concerns arose recently about the concept of so-called “catchment areas”, evolutionary developments that result in a very tight interdependence between requirements for survival and behavioral drives. In particular, the concern has been raised that such catchment might render any significant modification of the human mind, such as through brain enhancement, impossible (Suzanne Gildert, “Pavlov’s AI: What do superintelligences REALLY want?”, [email protected], 2010).

The concept of a catchment area assumes that beneath the veneer of goal-oriented rational planning, learned behavior and skill lies a basic set of drives and reward mechanisms. The only purpose of those drives and reward mechanisms is genetic survival, a necessary result of eons of natural selection. It follows that all of our perceived goals, our desires and interests, the pursuit of wealth, social acceptance or fame, love, scientific understanding, all of it is merely a means to an end. All of it points back to the set of drives and reward mechanisms that best enable us as individuals, us as a tribe and us as a species to survive in our given environment.

Why does that describe a catchment area, a type of prison of behavior? It is assumed that the distribution of behaviors that have enabled long-term survival is a narrow one with little real variance. Stray too far from the norm and your behaviors become counter-productive to survival. Worst of all, if you recognize your enslavement to those single-purpose drives and reward mechanisms, if you realize that they have no meaning beyond a survival that itself links to no universal purpose, then you risk embarking upon a nihilistic course that would likely end in your extermination or self-termination.

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Feb 17, 2011

The Global Brain and its role in Human Immortality

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, complex systems, futurism, life extension, neuroscience

It would be helpful to discuss these theoretical concepts because there could be significant practical and existential implications.

The Global Brain (GB) is an emergent world-wide entity of distributed intelligence, facilitated by communication and the meaningful interconnections between millions of humans via technology (such as the internet).

For my purposes I take it to mean the expressive integration of all (or the majority) of human brains through technology and communication, a Metasystem Transition from the human brain to a global (Earth) brain. The GB is truly global not only in geographical terms but also in function.

It has been suggested that the GB has clear analogies with the human brain. For example, the basic unit of the human brain (HB) is the neuron, whereas the basic unit of the GB is the human brain. Whilst the HB is space-restricted within our cranium, the GB is constrained within this planet. The HB contains several regions that have specific functions themselves, but are also connected to the whole (e.g. occipital cortex for vision, temporal cortex for auditory function, thalamus etc.). The GB contains several regions that have specific functions themselves, but are connected to the whole (e.g. search engines, governments, etc.).

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Dec 7, 2010

Rethinking Education to Build Better Learners — Naveen Jain

Posted by in categories: education, neuroscience

My generation was the last one to learn to use a slide rule in school. Today that skill is totally obsolete. So is the ability to identify the Soviet Socialist Republics on a map, the ability to write an operation in FORTAN, or how to drive a car with a standard transmission.

We live in a world of instant access to information and where technology is making exponential advances in synthetic biology, nanotechnology, genetics, robotics, neuroscience and artificial intelligence. In this world, we should not be focused on improving the classrooms but should be devoting resources to improving the brains that the students bring to that classroom.

To prepare students for this high-velocity, high-technology world the most valuable skill we can teach them is to be better learners so they can leap from one technological wave to the next. That means education should not be about modifying the core curricula of our schools but should be about building better learners by enhancing each student’s neural capacities and motivation for life-long learning.

Less than two decades ago this concept would have been inconceivable. We used to think that brain anatomy (and hence learning capacity) was fixed at birth. But recent breakthroughs in the neuroscience of learning have demonstrated that this view is fundamentally wrong.

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Nov 19, 2010

Stoic Philosophy and Human Immortality

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, futurism, neuroscience

The Stoic philosophical school shares several ideas with modern attempts at prolonging human lifespan. The Stoics believed in a non-dualistic, deterministic paradigm, where logic and reason formed part of their everyday life. The aim was to attain virtue, taken to mean human excellence.

I have recently described a model specifically referring to indefinite lifespans, where human biological immortality is a necessary and inevitable consequence of natural evolution (for details see www.elpistheory.info and for a comprehensive summary see http://cid-3d83391d98a0f83a.office.live.com/browse.aspx/Immo…=155370157).

This model is based on a deterministic, non-dualistic approach, described by the laws of Chaos theory (dynamical systems) and suggests that, in order to accelerate the natural transition from human evolution by natural selection to a post-Darwinian domain (where indefinite lifespans are the norm) , it is necessary to lead a life of constant intellectual stimulation, innovation and avoidance of routine (see http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/rej.2005.8.96?journalCode=rej and http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/rej.2009.0996) i.e. to seek human virtue (excellence, brilliance, and wisdom, as opposed to mediocrity and routine). The search for intellectual excellence increases neural inputs which effect epigenetic changes that can up-regulate age repair mechanisms.

Thus it is possible to conciliate the Stoic ideas with the processes that lead to both technological and developmental Singularities, using approaches that are deeply embedded in human nature and transcend time.