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Chaos and Complexity in Astrophysics (by Oded Regev)

The discipline of nonlinear dynamics has developed explosively in all areas of physics over the last two decades. This comprehensive primer summarizes the main developments in the mathematical theory of dynamical systems, chaos, pattern formation and complexity. An introduction to mathematical concepts and techniques is given in the first part of the book, before being applied to stellar, interstellar, galactic and large scale complex phenomena in the Universe. Oded Regev demonstrates the possible application of ideas including strange attractors, Poincaré sections, fractals, bifurcations, and complex spatial patterns, to specific astrophysical problems.

 

 

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Invisible Hands: Self-Organization and the Eighteenth Century (by Jonathan Sheehan & Dror Wahrman)

Invisible Hands: Self-Organization and the Eighteenth Century

~ Dror Wahrman (author) More about this product
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Why is the world orderly, and how does this order come to be? Human beings inhabit a multitude of apparently ordered systems—natural, social, political, economic, cognitive, and others—whose origins and purposes are often obscure. In the eighteenth century, older certainties about such orders, rooted in either divine providence or the mechanical operations of nature, began to fall away. In their place arose a new appreciation for the complexity of things, a new recognition of the world’s disorder and randomness, new doubts about simple relations of cause and effect—but with them also a new ability to imagine the world’s orders, whether natural or manmade, as self-organizing. If large systems are left to their own devices, eighteenth-century Europeans increasingly came to believe, order will emerge on its own without any need for external design or direction.

In Invisible Hands, Jonathan Sheehan and Dror Wahrman trace the many appearances of the language of self-organization in the eighteenth-century West. Across an array of domains, including religion, society, philosophy, science, politics, economy, and law, they show how and why this way of thinking came into the public view, then grew in prominence and arrived at the threshold of the nineteenth century in versatile, multifarious, and often surprising forms. Offering a new synthesis of intellectual and cultural developments, Invisible Hands is a landmark contribution to the history of the Enlightenment and eighteenth-century culture.

 

 

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Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences (by Pierre-Alain Braillard & Christophe Malaterre)

Patterns of explanation in biology have long been recognized as different from those deployed in other scientific disciplines, especially that of physics. Celebrating the diversity of interpretative models found in biology, this volume details their varying types as well as explaining their relationships to one another. It covers the key differentials with other sciences in the nature of explanation, such as the existence in biology of varieties unheard of in the physical sciences, such as teleological, evolutionary and even functional explanations.

Offering a wealth of fresh analysis of the phenomenon, chapters examine aspects ranging from the role of mathematics in explaining cell development to the complexities thrown up by evolutionary-developmental biology, where explanation is altered by multidisciplinarity itself. They cover major domains such as ecology and systems biology, as well as contemporary trends, such as the mechanistic explanations spawned by progress in molecular biology. With contributions from researchers of many different nationalities, the book provides a many-angled perspective on a revealing feature of the discipline of biology.

 

 

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The Cybernetics Moment: Or Why We Call Our Age the Information Age (by Ronald R. Kline)

Cybernetics―the science of communication and control as it applies to machines and to humans―originates from efforts during World War II to build automatic anti-aircraft systems. Following the war, this science extended beyond military needs to examine all systems that rely on information and feedback, from the level of the cell to that of society. In The Cybernetics Moment, Ronald R. Kline, a senior historian of technology, examines the intellectual and cultural history of cybernetics and information theory, whose language of "information," "feedback," and "control" transformed the idiom of the sciences, hastened the development of information technologies, and laid the conceptual foundation for what we now call the Information Age.

Kline argues that, for about twenty years after 1950, the growth of cybernetics and information theory and ever-more-powerful computers produced a utopian information narrative―an enthusiasm for information science that influenced natural scientists, social scientists, engineers, humanists, policymakers, public intellectuals, and journalists, all of whom struggled to come to grips with new relationships between humans and intelligent machines.

Kline traces the relationship between the invention of computers and communication systems and the rise, decline, and transformation of cybernetics by analyzing the lives and work of such notables as Norbert Wiener, Claude Shannon, Warren McCulloch, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, and Herbert Simon. Ultimately, he reveals the crucial role played by the cybernetics moment―when cybernetics and information theory were seen as universal sciences―in setting the stage for our current preoccupation with information technologies.

 

 

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Spurious Correlations: Tyler Vigen

Spurious Correlations

~ Tyler Vigen (author) More about this product
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Military intelligence analyst and Harvard Law student Tyler Vigen illustrates the golden rule that "correlation does not equal causation" through hilarious graphs inspired by his viral website.

Is there a correlation between Nic Cage films and swimming pool accidents? What about beef consumption and people getting struck by lightning? Absolutely not. But that hasn't stopped millions of people from going to tylervigen.com and asking, "Wait, what?" Vigen has designed software that scours enormous data sets to find unlikely statistical correlations. He began pulling the funniest ones for his website and has since gained millions of views, hundreds of thousands of likes, and tons of media coverage. Subversive and clever, Spurious Correlations is geek humor at its finest, nailing our obsession with data and conspiracy theory.

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The Unknown as an Engine for Science: An Essay on the Definite and the Indefinite (by Hans J. Pirner)

This book explores the limits of our knowledge. The author shows how uncertainty and indefiniteness not only define the borders confining our understanding, but how they feed into the process of discovery and help to push back these borders. Starting with physics the author collects examples from economics, neurophysiology, history, ecology and philosophy.

The first part shows how information helps to reduce indefiniteness. Understanding rests on our ability to find the right context, in which we localize a problem as a point in a network of connections. New elements must be combined with the old parts of the existing complex knowledge system, in order to profit maximally from the information. An attempt is made to quantify the value of information by its ability to reduce indefiniteness.

The second part explains how to handle indefiniteness with methods from fuzzy logic, decision theory, hermeneutics and semiotics. It is not sufficient that the new element appears in an experiment, one also has to find a theoretical reason for its existence. Indefiniteness becomes an engine of science, which gives rise to new ideas.

 

 

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A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control (by Wendell Wallach)

A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control

~ Wendell Wallach (author) More about this product
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We live in an age of awesome technological potential. From nanotechnology to synthetic organisms, new technologies stand to revolutionize whole domains of human experience. But with awesome potential comes awesome risk: drones can deliver a bomb as readily as they can a new smartphone; makers and hackers can 3D-print guns as well as tools; and supercomputers can short-circuit Wall Street just as easily as they can manage your portfolio.

One thing these technologies can’t do is answer the profound moral issues they raise. Who should be held accountable when they go wrong? What responsibility do we, as creators and users, have for the technologies we build? In A Dangerous Master, ethicist Wendell Wallach tackles such difficult questions with hard-earned authority, imploring both producers and consumers to face the moral ambiguities arising from our rapid technological growth. There is no doubt that scientific research and innovation are a source of promise and productivity, but, as Wallach, argues, technological development is at risk of becoming a juggernaut beyond human control. Examining the players, institutions, and values lobbying against meaningful regulation of everything from autonomous robots to designer drugs, A Dangerous Master proposes solutions for regaining control of our technological destiny.

Wallach’s nuanced study offers both stark warnings and hope, navigating both the fears and hype surrounding technological innovations. An engaging, masterful analysis of the elements we must manage in our quest to survive as a species, A Dangerous Master forces us to confront the practical—and moral—purposes of our creations.

 

 

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Life's Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable (by Paul G. Falkowski)

Life's Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable (Science Essentials)

~ Paul G. Falkowski (author) More about this product
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For almost four billion years, microbes had the primordial oceans all to themselves. The stewards of Earth, these organisms transformed the chemistry of our planet to make it habitable for plants, animals, and us. Life's Engines takes readers deep into the microscopic world to explore how these marvelous creatures made life on Earth possible--and how human life today would cease to exist without them.

 

Paul Falkowski looks "under the hood" of microbes to find the engines of life, the actual working parts that do the biochemical heavy lifting for every living organism on Earth. With insight and humor, he explains how these miniature engines are built--and how they have been appropriated by and assembled like Lego sets within every creature that walks, swims, or flies. Falkowski shows how evolution works to maintain this core machinery of life, and how we and other animals are veritable conglomerations of microbes.

 

A vibrantly entertaining book about the microbes that support our very existence, Life's Engines will inspire wonder about these elegantly complex nanomachines that have driven life since its origin. It also issues a timely warning about the dangers of tinkering with that machinery to make it more "efficient" at meeting the ever-growing demands of humans in the coming century.

 

 

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Biocode: The New Age of Genomics (by Dawn Field & Neil Davies)

Biocode: The New Age of Genomics

~ Neil Davies (author) More about this product
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The living world runs on genomic software - what Dawn Field and Neil Davies call the 'biocode' - the sum of all DNA on Earth. In Biocode, they tell the story of a new age of scientific discovery: the growing global effort to read and map the biocode, and what that might mean for the future. The structure of DNA was identified in 1953, and the whole human genome was mapped by 2003. Since then the new field of genomics has mushroomed and is now operating on an industrial scale. Genomes can now be sequenced rapidly and increasingly cheaply. The genomes of large numbers of organisms from mammals to microbes, have been mapped. Getting your genome sequenced is becoming affordable for many. You too can check paternity, find out where your ancestors came from, or whether you are at risk of some diseases. Some check out the pedigree of their pets, while others turn genomes into art. A stray hair is enough to crudely reconstruct the face of the owner. From reading to constructing: the first steps to creating artificial life have already been taken.

Some may find the rapidity of developments, and the potential for misuse, alarming. But they also open up unprecedented possibilities. The ability to read DNA has changed how we view ourselves and understand our place in nature. From the largest oceans, to the insides of our guts, we are able to explore the biosphere as never before, from the genome up. Sequencing technology has made the invisible world of microbes visible, and biodiversity genomics is revealing whole new worlds within us and without. The findings are transformational: we are all ecosystems now. Already the first efforts at 'barcoding' entire ecological communities and creating 'genomic observatories' have begun. The future, the authors argue, will involve biocoding the entire planet.

 

 

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Simulating Social Complexity (by Bruce Edmonds)

Social systems are among the most complex known. This poses particular problems for those who wish to understand them. The complexity often makes analytic approaches infeasible and natural language approaches inadequate for relating intricate cause and effect. However, individual- and agent-based computational approaches hold out the possibility of new and deeper understanding of such systems.

 Simulating Social Complexity examines all aspects of using agent- or individual-based simulation. This approach represents systems as individual elements having each their own set of differing states and internal processes. The interactions between elements in the simulation represent interactions in the target systems. What makes these elements "social" is that they are usefully interpretable as interacting elements of an observed society. In this, the focus is on human society, but can be extended to include social animals or artificial agents where such work enhances our understanding of human society.

 The phenomena of interest then result (emerge) from the dynamics of the interaction of social actors in an essential way and are usually not easily simplifiable by, for example, considering only representative actors.

 The introduction of accessible agent-based modelling allows the representation of social complexity in a more natural and direct manner than previous techniques. In particular, it is no longer necessary to distort a model with the introduction of overly strong assumptions simply in order to obtain analytic tractability. This makes agent-based modelling relatively accessible to a range of scientists. The outcomes of such models can be displayed and animated in ways that also make them more interpretable by experts and stakeholders.

 

 

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A First Course in Network Theory (by Ernesto Estrada & Philip Knight)

A First Course in Network Theory

~ Philip Knight (author) More about this product
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The study of network theory is a highly interdisciplinary field, which has emerged as a major topic of interest in various disciplines ranging from physics and mathematics, to biology and sociology. This book promotes the diverse nature of the study of complex networks by balancing the needs of students from very different backgrounds. It references the most commonly used concepts in network theory, provides examples of their applications in solving practical problems, and clear indications on how to analyse their results.

In the first part of the book, students and researchers will discover the quantitative and analytical tools necessary to work with complex networks, including the most basic concepts in network and graph theory, linear and matrix algebra, as well as the physical concepts most frequently used for studying networks. They will also find instruction on some key skills such as how to proof analytic results and how to manipulate empirical network data. The bulk of the text is focused on instructing readers on the most useful tools for modern practitioners of network theory. These include degree distributions, random networks, network fragments, centrality measures, clusters and communities, communicability, and local and global properties of networks. The combination of theory, example and method that are presented in this text, should ready the student to conduct their own analysis of networks with confidence and allow teachers to select appropriate examples and problems to teach this subject in the classroom.

 

 

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The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life (by Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg & Tom Pyszczynski)

The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life

~ Tom Pyszczynski (author) More about this product
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More than one hundred years ago, the American philosopher William James dubbed the knowledge that we must die “the worm at the core” of the human condition. In 1974, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Denial of Death, arguing that the terror of death has a pervasive effect on human affairs. Now authors Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski clarify with wide-ranging evidence the many ways the worm at the core guides our thoughts and actions, from the great art we create to the devastating wars we wage.
 
The Worm at the Core is the product of twenty-five years of in-depth research. Drawing from innovative experiments conducted around the globe, Solomon, Greenberg, and Pyszczynski show conclusively that the fear of death and the desire to transcend it inspire us to buy expensive cars, crave fame, put our health at risk, and disguise our animal nature. The fear of death can also prompt judges to dole out harsher punishments, make children react negatively to people different from themselves, and inflame intolerance and violence.
 
But the worm at the core need not consume us. Emerging from their research is a unique and compelling approach to these deeply existential issues: terror management theory. TMT proposes that human culture infuses our lives with order, stability, significance, and purpose, and these anchors enable us to function moment to moment without becoming overwhelmed by the knowledge of our ultimate fate. The authors immerse us in a new way of understanding human evolution, child development, history, religion, art, science, mental health, war, and politics in the twenty-first century. In so doing, they also reveal how we can better come to terms with death and learn to lead lives of courage, creativity, and compassion.

 

 

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Information theory: Knowledge and know-how

“Our world is marked by great international differences in countries' ability to crystallize imagination,” writes César Hidalgo in Why Information Grows: that is, in the ability to turn the inventiveness of the human mind into concrete, saleable products that embody information.
Hidalgo's book is largely concerned with explaining why those differences exist, and what the economic consequences are. In doing so, Hidalgo, a Chilean physicist at the Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, aims to embed his ideas in a broad view of how information economies work both in society and in nature, from Silicon Valley entrepreneurism to genetics.


Information theory: Knowledge and know-how
Philip Ball
Nature 521, 420–421 (28 May 2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/521420a 

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The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos (by Leonard Mlodinow)

The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos

~ Leonard Mlodinow (author) More about this product
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Leonard Mlodinow takes us on a passionate and inspiring tour through the exciting history of human progress and the key events in the development of science. In the process, he presents a fascinating new look at the unique characteristics of our species and our society that helped propel us from stone tools to written language and through the birth of chemistry, biology, and modern physics to today’s technological world.
 
Along the way he explores the cultural conditions that influenced scientific thought through the ages and the colorful personalities of some of the great philosophers, scientists, and thinkers: Galileo, who preferred painting and poetry to medicine and dropped out of university; Isaac Newton, who stuck needlelike bodkins into his eyes to better understand changes in light and color; and Antoine Lavoisier, who drank nothing but milk for two weeks to examine its effects on his body. Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, and many lesser-known but equally brilliant minds also populate these pages, each of their stories showing how much of human achievement can be attributed to the stubborn pursuit of simple questions (why? how?), bravely asked.
 
The Upright Thinkers is a book for science lovers and for anyone interested in creative thinking and in our ongoing quest to understand our world. At once deeply informed, accessible, and infused with the author’s trademark wit, this insightful work is a stunning tribute to humanity’s intellectual curiosity.

 

 

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Toward a Unified Ecology (by Timothy F. H. Allen & Thomas W. Hoekstra)

The first edition of Toward a Unified Ecology was ahead of its time. For the second edition, the authors present a new synthesis of their core ideas on evaluating communities, organisms, populations, biomes, models, and management. The book now places greater emphasis on post-normal critiques, cognizant of ever-present observer values in the system. The problem it addresses is how to work holistically on complex things that cannot be defined, and this book continues to build an approach to the problem of scaling in ecosystems. Provoked by complexity theory, the authors add a whole new chapter on the central role of narrative in science and how models improve them. The book takes data and modeling seriously, with a sophisticated philosophy of science.

 

 

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Science Outside the Laboratory: Measurement in Field Science and Economics (by Marcel Boumans)

The conduct of most of social science occurs outside the laboratory. Such studies in field science explore phenomena that cannot for practical, technical, or ethical reasons be explored under controlled conditions. These phenomena cannot be fully isolated from their environment or investigated by manipulation or intervention. Yet measurement, including rigorous or clinical measurement, does provide analysts with a sound basis for discerning what occurs under field conditions, and why.

In Science Outside the Laboratory, Marcel Boumans explores the state of measurement theory, its reliability, and the role expert judgment plays in field investigations from the perspective of the philosophy of science. Its discussion of the problems of passive observation, the calculus of observation, the two-model problem, and model-based consensus uses illustrations drawn primarily from economics.

Rich in research and discussion, the volume clarifies the extent to which measurement provides valid information about objects and events in field sciences, but also has implications for measurement in the laboratory. Scholars in the fields of philosophy of science, social science, and economics will find Science Outside the Laboratory a compelling and informative read.

 

 

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Information, Entropy, Life and the Universe: What We Know and What We Do Not Know by Arieh Ben-Naim

The aim of this book is to explain in simple language what we know and what we do not know about information and entropy — two of the most frequently discussed topics in recent literature — and whether they are relevant to life and the entire universe.
Entropy is commonly interpreted as a measure of disorder. This interpretation has caused a great amount of "disorder" in the literature. One of the aims of this book is to put some "order" in this "disorder".
The book explains with minimum amount of mathematics what information theory is and how it is related to thermodynamic entropy. Then it critically examines the application of these concepts to the question of "What is life?" and whether or not they can be applied to the entire universe.

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Mind in Architecture: Neuroscience, Embodiment, and the Future of Design (by Sarah Robinson & Juhani Pallasmaa)

Although we spend more than ninety percent of our lives inside buildings, we understand very little about how the built environment affects our behavior, thoughts, emotions, and well-being. We are biological beings whose senses and neural systems have developed over millions of years; it stands to reason that research in the life sciences, particularly neuroscience, can offer compelling insights into the ways our buildings shape our interactions with the world. This expanded understanding can help architects design buildings that support both mind and body. In Mind in Architecture, leading thinkers from architecture and other disciplines, including neuroscience, cognitive science, psychiatry, and philosophy, explore what architecture and neuroscience can learn from each other. They offer historical context, examine the implications for current architectural practice and education, and imagine a neuroscientifically informed architecture of the future.

Architecture is late in discovering the richness of neuroscientific research. As scientists were finding evidence for the bodily basis of mind and meaning, architecture was caught up in convoluted cerebral games that denied emotional and bodily reality altogether. This volume maps the extraordinary opportunity that engagement with cutting-edge neuroscience offers present-day architects.

 

 

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Noise Matters: The Evolution of Communication (by R. Haven Wiley)

Noise Matters: The Evolution of Communication

~ R. Haven Wiley (author) More about this product
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Noise, as we usually think of it, is background sound that interferes with our ability to hear more interesting sounds. In general terms, though, it is anything that interferes with the reception of signals of any sort. It includes extraneous energy in the environment, degradation of signals in transit, and spontaneous random activity in receivers and signalers. Whatever the cause, the consequence of noise is error by receivers, and these errors are the key to understanding how noise shapes the evolution of communication.

 

Noise Matters breaks new ground in the scientific understanding of how communication evolves in the presence of noise. Combining insights of signal detection theory with evidence from decades of his own original research, Haven Wiley explains the profound effects of noise on the evolution of communication. The coevolution of signalers and receivers does not result in ideal, noise-free communication, Wiley finds. Instead, signalers and receivers evolve to a joint equilibrium in which communication is effective but never error-free. Noise is inescapable in the evolution of communication.

 

Wiley’s comprehensive approach considers communication on many different levels of biological organization, from cells to individual organisms, including humans. Social interactions, such as honesty, mate choice, and cooperation, are reassessed in the light of noisy communication. The final sections demonstrate that noise even affects how we think about human language, science, subjectivity, and freedom. Noise Matters thus contributes to understanding the behavior of animals, including ourselves.

 

 

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A. J. Alvarez-Socorro's curator insight, June 23, 2:11 AM
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Computation, Proof, Machine: Mathematics Enters a New Age (by Gilles Dowek)

Computation, Proof, Machine: Mathematics Enters a New Age

~ Gilles Dowek (author) More about this product
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Computation is revolutionizing our world, even the inner world of the "pure" mathematician. Mathematical methods - especially the notion of proof - that have their roots in classical antiquity have seen a radical transformation since the 1970s, as successive advances have challenged the priority of reason over computation. Like many revolutions, this one comes from within. Computation, calculation, algorithms - all have played an important role in mathematical progress from the beginning - but behind the scenes, their contribution was obscured in the enduring mathematical literature. To understand the future of mathematics, this fascinating book returns to its past, tracing the hidden history that follows the thread of computation. Along the way it invites us to reconsider the dialog between mathematics and the natural sciences, as well as the relationship between mathematics and computer science. It also sheds new light on philosophical concepts, such as the notions of analytic and synthetic judgment. Finally, it brings us to the brink of the new age, in which machine intelligence offers new ways of solving mathematical problems previously inaccessible.

 

 

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The Deeper Genome: Why there is more to the human genome than meets the eye (by John Parrington)

Over a decade ago, as the Human Genome Project completed its mapping of the entire human genome, hopes ran high that we would rapidly be able to use our knowledge of human genes to tackle many inherited diseases, and understand what makes us unique among animals. But things didn't turn out that way. For a start, we turned out to have far fewer genes than originally thought - just over 20,000, the same sort of number as a fruit fly or worm. What's more, the proportion of DNA consisting of genes coding for proteins was a mere 2%. So, was the rest of the genome accumulated 'junk'?

Things have changed since those early heady days of the Human Genome Project. But the emerging picture is if anything far more exciting. In this book, John Parrington explains the key features that are coming to light - some, such as the results of the international ENCODE programme, still much debated and controversial in their scope. He gives an outline of the deeper genome, involving layers of regulatory elements controlling and coordinating the switching on and off of genes; the impact of its 3D geometry; the discovery of a variety of new RNAs playing critical roles; the epigenetic changes influenced by the environment and life experiences that can make identical twins different and be passed on to the next generation; and the clues coming out of comparisons with the genomes of Neanderthals as well as that of chimps about the development of our species. We are learning more about ourselves, and about the genetic aspects of many diseases. But in its complexity, flexibility, and ability to respond to environmental cues, the human genome is proving to be far more subtle than we ever imagined.

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Complex and Adaptive Dynamical Systems: A Primer - Claudius Gros

This primer offers readers an introduction to the central concepts that form our modern understanding of complex and emergent behavior, together with detailed coverage of accompanying mathematical methods. All calculations are presented step by step and are easy to follow.
This new fourth edition has been fully reorganized and includes new chapters, figures and exercises. The core aspects of modern complex system sciences are presented in the first chapters, covering network theory, dynamical systems, bifurcation and catastrophe theory, chaos and adaptive processes, together with the principle of self-organization in reaction-diffusion systems and social animals. Modern information theoretical principles are treated in further chapters, together with the concept of self-organized criticality, gene regulation networks, hypercycles and coevolutionary avalanches, synchronization phenomena, absorbing phase transitions and the cognitive system approach to the brain.
Technical course prerequisites are the standard mathematical tools for an advanced undergraduate course in the natural sciences or engineering. Each chapter includes exercises and suggestions for further reading, and the solutions to all exercises are provided in the last chapter.

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Intelligence Emerging: Adaptivity and Search in Evolving Neural Systems: Keith L. Downing

Emergence -- the formation of global patterns from solely local interactions -- is a frequent and fascinating theme in the scientific literature both popular and academic. In this book, Keith Downing undertakes a systematic investigation of the widespread (if often vague) claim that intelligence is an emergent phenomenon. Downing focuses on neural networks, both natural and artificial, and how their adaptability in three time frames -- phylogenetic (evolutionary), ontogenetic (developmental), and epigenetic (lifetime learning) -- underlie the emergence of cognition. Integrating the perspectives of evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence, Downing provides a series of concrete examples of neurocognitive emergence. Doing so, he offers a new motivation for the expanded use of bio-inspired concepts in artificial intelligence (AI), in the subfield known as Bio-AI.


One of Downing's central claims is that two key concepts from traditional AI, search and representation, are key to understanding emergent intelligence as well. He first offers introductory chapters on five core concepts: emergent phenomena, formal search processes, representational issues in Bio-AI, artificial neural networks (ANNs), and evolutionary algorithms (EAs). Intermediate chapters delve deeper into search, representation, and emergence in ANNs, EAs, and evolving brains. Finally, advanced chapters on evolving artificial neural networks and information-theoretic approaches to assessing emergence in neural systems synthesize earlier topics to provide some perspective, predictions, and pointers for the future of Bio-AI.

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Who Gets What - and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design (by Alvin E. Roth)

Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design

~ Alvin E. Roth (author) More about this product
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A Nobel laureate reveals the often surprising rules that govern a vast array of activities — both mundane and life-changing — in which money may play little or no role.

If you’ve ever sought a job or hired someone, applied to college or guided your child into a good kindergarten, asked someone out on a date or been asked out, you’ve participated in a kind of market. Most of the study of economics deals with commodity markets, where the price of a good connects sellers and buyers. But what about other kinds of “goods,” like a spot in the Yale freshman class or a position at Google? This is the territory of matching markets, where “sellers” and “buyers” must choose each other, and price isn’t the only factor determining who gets what.

Alvin E. Roth is one of the world’s leading experts on matching markets. He has even designed several of them, including the exchange that places medical students in residencies and the system that increases the number of kidney transplants by better matching donors to patients. In Who Gets What — And Why, Roth reveals the matching markets hidden around us and shows how to recognize a good match and make smarter, more confident decisions.

 

 

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Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact (by Steven Kotler)

Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact

~ Steven Kotler (author) More about this product
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New York Times, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, Discover bestselling author Steven Kotler has written extensively about those pivotal moments when science fiction became science fact…and fundamentally reshaped the world. Now he gathers the best of his best, updated and expanded upon, to guide readers on a mind-bending tour of the far frontier, and how these advances are radically transforming our lives. From the ways science and technology are fundamentally altering our bodies and our world (the world’s first bionic soldier, the future of evolution) to those explosive collisions between science and culture (life extension and bioweapons), we’re crossing moral and ethical lines we’ve never faced before.
 
Join Kotler in this fascinating exploration of our incredible next: a deep dive into those future technologies happening now—and what it means to be a part of this brave new world.

 

 

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Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective: Kenneth O. Stanley, Joel Lehman

Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective

~ Joel Lehman (author) More about this product
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Why does modern life revolve around objectives? From how science is funded, to improving how children are educated -- and nearly everything in-between -- our society has become obsessed with a seductive illusion: that greatness results from doggedly measuring improvement in the relentless pursuit of an ambitious goal. In Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned, Stanley and Lehman begin with a surprising scientific discovery in artificial intelligence that leads ultimately to the conclusion that the objective obsession has gone too far. They make the case that great achievement can't be bottled up into mechanical metrics; that innovation is not driven by narrowly focused heroic effort; and that we would be wiser (and the outcomes better) if instead we whole-heartedly embraced serendipitous discovery and playful creativity.

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Costas Bouyioukos's curator insight, May 26, 5:21 AM

Scientific evidence (from AI) that the moronic protestant pursuit of measures and achievements is actually a barrier to generation of new outcomes (i.e. knowledge) and creativity. Brilliant!
(No2 in my summer reading list!)