Darwinian Ascension
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A Theoretically Based Index of Consciousness Independent of Sensory Processing and Behavior

One challenging aspect of the clinical assessment of brain-injured, unresponsive patients is the lack of an objective measure of consciousness that is independent of the subject’s ability to interact with the external environment. Theoretical considerations suggest that consciousness depends on the brain’s ability to support complex activity patterns that are, at once, distributed among interacting cortical areas (integrated) and differentiated in space and time (information-rich). We introduce and test a theory-driven index of the level of consciousness called the perturbational complexity index (PCI). PCI is calculated by (i) perturbing the cortex with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to engage distributed interactions in the brain (integration) and (ii) compressing the spatiotemporal pattern of these electrocortical responses to measure their algorithmic complexity (information). We test PCI on a large data set of TMS-evoked potentials recorded in healthy subjects during wakefulness, dreaming, nonrapid eye movement sleep, and different levels of sedation induced by anesthetic agents (midazolam, xenon, and propofol), as well as in patients who had emerged from coma (vegetative state, minimally conscious state, and locked-in syndrome). PCI reliably discriminated the level of consciousness in single individuals during wakefulness, sleep, and anesthesia, as well as in patients who had emerged from coma and recovered a minimal level of consciousness. PCI can potentially be used for objective determination of the level of consciousness at the bedside.


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Susie Lunardi's curator insight, August 15, 2013 12:58 PM

I theorize that our bodies are merely the biological vehicle/temple that house our spirits, which are a piece of the greater whole - the universal higher consciousness. I believe dreams are a travel state, in which a minimal amount of our consciousness stays with our bodies in this 3D reality we perceive. The brain is a powerful computer which allows us the gift to manipulate the word - as do our hands, eyes, feet, etc. The electrical connections we share with other people in the passing of knowledge (communication, teaching, learning, gestures, eye contact, etc.) are a part of the conscious surge/current.

 

I believe consciousness is outside the brain - as I also believe memories are stored outside the brain, and we tap back into them. They become electrical signals floating in our exterior world - like a cloud of information, which we tap back into.

 

 

Of course these are very speculative theories - but why not?

No one has successful incorporated the mind into the brain, and it is due to the lack of acceptance that spirituality is a huge part of our essence.

 

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The Atlantic: Free will is an illusion, but we need to keep that illusion

The Atlantic: Free will is an illusion, but we need to keep that illusion | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Yes, I know I'm writing about two Atlantic pieces in one day, but so be it: such are the laws of physics. The second piece, much better than the article on FGM, is an essay by Stephen Cave, "There's no such thing as free will but we're better off believing it anyway." I'll try to be…
Arjen ten Have's insight:
Jerry Coyne responds to the recent article on free will in The Atlantic. How to deal with it! Very good!
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The Biology of Corporate Survival

The Biology of Corporate Survival | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Natural ecosystems hold surprising lessons for business.
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Birth and death evolution in corporate society.
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Economics That's Not Politically Left or Right - Evonomics

Economics That's Not Politically Left or Right - Evonomics | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Can we go move beyond ideological categories?
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The complexity of biodiversity: A biological perspective on economic valuation

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Cool stuff! We should think in the value of biodiversity rather than reemplacement of the elder.

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System that replaces human intuition with algorithms outperforms human teams

System that replaces human intuition with algorithms outperforms human teams | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Big-data analysis consists of searching for buried patterns that have some kind of predictive power. But choosing which "features" of the data to analyze usually requires some human intuition. In a database containing, say, the beginning and end dates of various sales promotions and weekly profits, the crucial data may not be the dates themselves but the spans between them, or not the total profits but the averages across those spans.
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Crowded growth leads to the spontaneous evolution of semistable coexistence in laboratory yeast populations

Arjen ten Have's insight:

Now how should we understand or translate this type of research when investigating humn evolution.

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Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior

Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Arjen ten Have's insight:

Obviously it will be important to define Higher social class and I will not be surprised if here it is directly related to income. In that case I am not surprised but still it is good to really demonstrate the obvious.

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Site-specific group selection drives locally adapted group compositions

Group selection may be defined as selection caused by the differential extinction or proliferation of groups. The socially polymorphic spider Anelosimus studiosus exhibits a behavioural polymorphism in which females exhibit either a ‘docile’ or ‘aggressive’ behavioural phenotype. Natural colonies are composed of a mixture of related docile and aggressive individuals, and populations differ in colonies’ characteristic docile:aggressive ratios. Using experimentally constructed colonies of known composition, here we demonstrate that population-level divergence in docile:aggressive ratios is driven by site-specific selection at the group level—certain ratios yield high survivorship at some sites but not others. Our data also indicate that colonies responded to the risk of extinction: perturbed colonies tended to adjust their composition over two generations to match the ratio characteristic of their native site, thus promoting their long-term survival in their natal habitat. However, colonies of displaced individuals continued to shift their compositions towards mixtures that would have promoted their survival had they remained at their home sites, regardless of their contemporary environment. Thus, the regulatory mechanisms that colonies use to adjust their composition appear to be locally adapted. Our data provide experimental evidence of group selection driving collective traits in wild populations.

 

Site-specific group selection drives locally adapted group compositions
• Jonathan N. Pruitt & Charles J. Goodnight

Nature 514, 359–362 (16 October 2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature1381


Via Complexity Digest
Arjen ten Have's insight:

Now the really interesting part would be of course to explain this emergent groups selection by gene selection. How do we define or, if you wish, describe the Evolutionary Stable Strategy that is behind this interesting phenomenon. What can we as human society learn from this?

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Artificial intelligence: the next step in evolution? - The Age

Artificial intelligence: the next step in evolution? - The Age | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Artificial intelligence: the next step in evolution?
The Age
American philosopher Daniel Dennett sums up the feelings of some scientists when suggesting that humans are immensely complex and able computational machines.
Arjen ten Have's insight:

Cool elaboration  on AI. Quote:“When we start to design intelligent systems to include motives and the emotional signalling that accompanies them – and to use these as a reference standard against which perceived events and objects can be sorted, evaluated and organised – we’ll have made a major step towards achieving true machine intelligence.”

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Using sociometers to quantify social interaction patterns

Using sociometers to quantify social interaction patterns | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Research on human social interactions has traditionally relied on self-reports. Despite their widespread use, self-reported accounts of behaviour are prone to biases and necessarily reduce the range of behaviours, and the number of subjects, that may be studied simultaneously. The development of ever smaller sensors makes it possible to study group-level human behaviour in naturalistic settings outside research laboratories. We used such sensors, sociometers, to examine gender, talkativeness and interaction style in two different contexts. Here, we find that in the collaborative context, women were much more likely to be physically proximate to other women and were also significantly more talkative than men, especially in small groups. In contrast, there were no gender-based differences in the non-collaborative setting. Our results highlight the importance of objective measurement in the study of human behaviour, here enabling us to discern context specific, gender-based differences in interaction style.

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Cooperating with the future

Overexploitation of renewable resources today has a high cost on the welfare of future generations. Unlike in other public goods games, however, future generations cannot reciprocate actions made today. What mechanisms can maintain cooperation with the future? To answer this question, we devise a new experimental paradigm, the /`Intergenerational Goods Game/'. A line-up of successive groups (generations) can each either extract a resource to exhaustion or leave something for the next group. Exhausting the resource maximizes the payoff for the present generation, but leaves all future generations empty-handed. Here we show that the resource is almost always destroyed if extraction decisions are made individually. This failure to cooperate with the future is driven primarily by a minority of individuals who extract far more than what is sustainable. In contrast, when extractions are democratically decided by vote, the resource is consistently sustained. Voting is effective for two reasons. First, it allows a majority of cooperators to restrain defectors. Second, it reassures conditional cooperators that their efforts are not futile. Voting, however, only promotes sustainability if it is binding for all involved. Our results have implications for policy interventions designed to sustain intergenerational public goods.

 

Cooperating with the future
Oliver P. Hauser, David G. Rand, Alexander Peysakhovich & Martin A. Nowak

Nature 511, 220–223 (10 July 2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13530


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Tom Cockburn's curator insight, July 31, 2014 3:26 AM

Optimistic,in lab at least?

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Grand Challenges for Evolutionary Robotics

Evolutionary Robotics is a field that “aims to apply evolutionary computation techniques to evolve the overall design or controllers, or both, for real and simulated autonomous robots” (Vargas et al., 2014). This approach is “useful both for investigating the design space of robotic applications and for testing scientific hypotheses of biological mechanisms and processes” (Floreano et al., 2008). However, as noted in Bongard (2013) “the use of metaheuristics (i.e., evolution) sets this subfield of robotics apart from the mainstream of robotics research,” which “aims to continuously generate better behavior for a given robot, while the long-term goal of Evolutionary Robotics is to create general, robot-generating algorithms.”

 

Front. Robot. AI, 30 June 2014 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2014.00004

Grand challenges for evolutionary robotics
Agoston E. Eiben


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Humans are still evolving—and we can watch it happen

Humans are still evolving—and we can watch it happen | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Analyses of thousands of sequenced genomes show changes in as little as a generation
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Applying Selective Sweep to ID selection!
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Do Honeybees Feel? Scientists Are Entertaining the Idea

Do Honeybees Feel? Scientists Are Entertaining the Idea | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
An Australian scientist and a philosopher propose that the structure of insect brains suggests they have the capacity for basic awareness.
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Share your insight
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Evolution Is Moving Us Away from Selfishness. But Where Is It Taking Us? | Big Think

Evolution Is Moving Us Away from Selfishness. But Where Is It Taking Us? | Big Think | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Renowned medical researcher Dr. Rudolph Tanzi takes you on a tour of the brain, and explains why positive thinking might be the best gift you can give your genes this holiday season.
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From residue coevolution to protein conformational ensembles and functional dynamics

From residue coevolution to protein conformational ensembles and functional dynamics | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
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Homophyly/Kinship Model: Naturally Evolving Networks

Homophyly/Kinship Model: Naturally Evolving Networks | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
It has been a challenge to understand the formation and roles of social groups or natural communities in the evolution of species, societies and real world networks.
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Glia-derived neurons are required for sex-specific learning in C. elegans : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

Glia-derived neurons are required for sex-specific learning in C. elegans : Nature : Nature Publishing Group | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
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Arjen ten Have's curator insight, October 27, 2015 10:24 AM

Luckily we are not worms. Or are we? The message is that males prefer sex over a meal and that women prefer sustenance. In terms of evolution this does make sense. Does that explain why men are better cooks? A Dutch proverb goes "The love of a man comes through the stomach" Well, that is apparently not the best way of putting it.

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Death by Design? Spatial models show that natural selection favors genetically-limited lifespan as a lineal benefit

Death by Design? Spatial models show that natural selection favors genetically-limited lifespan as a lineal benefit | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
(Phys.org)—Standard evolutionary theories of aging and mortality, being based on mean-field assumptions – which analyze the behavior of large and complex stochastic models by studying a simpler model – conclude that programmed mortality resulting from natural selection is impossible. Recently, however, scientists at the New England Complex Systems Institute, and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts, using spatial models with local rather than globally-uniform reproduction, demonstrated that programmed deaths strongly result in long-term benefit to an organismal lineage by reducing local environmental resource depletion over many generations. (In spatial models, variables are distributed in space such that actions can affect the local environment without affecting the global environment.) Moreover, the researchers found that these results continued to be favored when a large number of variations related to different real-world factors were applied to the spatial model, which they say supports their approach being applicable to a wide range of biological systems, and therefore that direct selection for shorter life span may be quite widespread in nature.
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With Mindware Upgrades and Cognitive Prosthetics, Humans Are Already Technological Animals

With Mindware Upgrades and Cognitive Prosthetics, Humans Are Already Technological Animals | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
In recent years, the surprising idea that we’ll one day merge with our technology has warily made its way into the mainstream. Often it’s couched in a combination of snark and fear. Why in the world would we want to do that? It’s so inhuman.

That the idea is distasteful isn’t shocking. The imagination rapidly conjures images of Star Trek’s Borg, a nightmarish future when humans and machines melt into a monstrosity of flesh and wires, forever and irrevocably leaving “nature” behind.

But let’s not fool ourselves with such dark fantasies. Humans are already technological animals; tight integration with our inventions is in our nature; and further increasing that integration won’t take place in some distant future—it’s happening now.

To observe our technological attachment, we need simply walk out the door. It’s everywhere, all around us—on the bus or train, at work, at home, in the bathroom, in bed—people gazing into screens, living digital lives right next to their ordinary ones.

In the Matrix, the experience is involuntary, a tool of control and oppression. In our world, it’s voluntary, and mostly about freedom, expansion, and expression. As Jason Silva recently noted, our devices augment our brains, like cognitive prosthetics.

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Table of Contents — July 22, 2014, 111 (Supplement 3)

Table of Contents — July 22, 2014, 111 (Supplement 3) | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Arjen ten Have's insight:

More than ten papers of Darwinian Thinking in the Social Sciences. Enjoy your weekend!

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Detecting Communities Based on Network Topology

Detecting Communities Based on Network Topology | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it

Network methods have had profound influence in many domains and disciplines in the past decade. Community structure is a very important property of complex networks, but the accurate definition of a community remains an open problem. Here we defined community based on three properties, and then propose a simple and novel framework to detect communities based on network topology. We analyzed 16 different types of networks, and compared our partitions with Infomap, LPA, Fastgreedy and Walktrap, which are popular algorithms for community detection. Most of the partitions generated using our approach compare favorably to those generated by these other algorithms. Furthermore, we define overlapping nodes that combine community structure with shortest paths. We also analyzed the E. Coli. transcriptional regulatory network in detail, and identified modules with strong functional coherence.

  


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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, July 26, 2014 6:54 PM

Community is a more complex and organic organizing than teams. Teams are inherently hierarchical with predetermined goals. Communities are fluid and the goals are continuously being negotiated. Schools and classrooms are better served to be thought of as communities with overlapping qualities and permeable boundaries with other communities.

Eli Levine's curator insight, July 29, 2014 6:42 PM

A useful tool for policy making, because it helps identify communities and how they interact to form super-communities.

 

The essence of mapping the polity and the public, socially, economically, technologically, and infrastrucutrally.

 

Think about it.

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Towards the Standard Model of Evolution

Towards the Standard Model of Evolution | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
The so-called Modern Synthesis of Evolution was shaped by men like Fisher, Dobzhansky, and Wright, somewhere in the mid 20th century. A lot has happened since then but I cannot say things have become
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Emergence and persistence of communities in coevolutionary networks

We investigate the emergence and persistence of communities through a recently proposed mechanism of adaptive rewiring in coevolutionary networks. We characterize the topological structures arising in a coevolutionary network subject to an adaptive rewiring process and a node dynamics given by a simple voterlike rule. We find that, for some values of the parameters describing the adaptive rewiring process, a community structure emerges on a connected network. We show that the emergence of communities is associated to a decrease in the number of active links in the system, i.e. links that connect two nodes in different states. The lifetime of the community structure state scales exponentially with the size of the system. Additionally, we find that a small noise in the node dynamics can sustain a diversity of states and a community structure in time in a finite size system. Thus, large system size and/or local noise can explain the persistence of communities and diversity in many real systems.

 

Emergence and persistence of communities in coevolutionary networks
J. C. González-Avella, M. G. Cosenza, J. L. Herrera, K. Tucci

http://arxiv.org/abs/1407.0388


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