Compressible Dynamics Over the last 400 years or so Mathematical Physics has become the science that we rely on to explain the behavior of the universe. Mathematical physics is the ultimate science of the “deterministic/predictable” dynamics of “cause and effect”. In general, the Science of Physics likes to believe that all dynamics, all natural behavior, can be explained mathematically; and consequently physicists like to build “mathematical models” of (cause and effect in) the real world. Sometimes these models are unbelievably concise, and can be expressed as a neat linear differential equation, and when this happens we confidently call the model a “Deterministic”, “Law of Physics”. It is precisely because of these so-called “hard and fast scientific laws” that physicists are wont to describe their science as the hardest of “hard science”. This of course would seem to imply that many of the so-called “soft sciences” are in some way not quite as elevated, not quite as good. In truth however we could say that physics is an “easy science”, and the soft sciences are “difficult” because the “laws” of physics only really work in the absence of “noise”, and yet the soft sciences are condemned to deal with our everyday world which is full of noise -- because virtually everything in our everyday world is continually battered and buffeted by “constantly changing feedback” which can generate wild “nonlinear dynamics”.
Abstract Traditionally the object of economic theory and experimental psychology, economic choice recently became a lively research focus in systems neuroscience. Here I summarize the emerging results and I propose a unifying model of how economic choice might function at the neural level. Economic choice entails comparing options that vary on multiple dimensions. Hence, while choosing, individuals integrate different determinants into a subjective value; decisions are then made by comparing values. According to the good-based model, the values of different goods are computed independently of one another, which implies transitivity. Values are not learned as such, but rather computed at the time of choice. Most importantly, values are compared within the space of goods, independent of the sensori-motor contingencies of choice. Evidence from neurophysiology, imaging and lesion studies indicates that abstract representations of value exist in the orbitofrontal and ventromedial prefrontal cortices. The computation and comparison of values may thus take place within these regions.Traditionally the object of economic theory and experimental psychology, economic choice recently became a lively research focus in systems neuroscience. Here I summarize the emerging results and I propose a unifying model of how economic choice migh
Abstract This research aims at studying the role played by ideology in the access and functioning of the interdiscourse about ecology and the environment through a discursive analysis of the ways that the State’s power uses to inscribe itself in the citizens’ memory. We argue that there is a regular practice in the State’s verbal and non-verbal discourse in an attempt to eliminate undesirable meanings and install a hypothetical transparency towards impartiality and objectivity. Such “impartiality” and “objectivity” in these discourses do not guarantee equality in the organization of social differences of citizens who use public spaces. Sometimes, although in charge of disseminating the meaning that ecology is a good thing and that it will promote equality, the State’s power brings inequality to this signification process. We use the Discourse Analysis Theory as a method to study the complexity of interactions, and we acknowledge that a study which establishes a framework in the ecotourism and sustainability fields can be successful as interdisciplinary research when it uses different languages and methodologies to enable us to understand potential contributions and to integrate data, ideas, and perspectives when we seek answers for sustainable development.
Businesses and academics have long known that lotteries and prize draws can be a cheap and effective way of encouraging behaviour – witness the number of surveys that offer a prize for completion. However, despite this well-worn tradition of using prize-draws, governments have traditionally focused on more blunt subsidies or penalties, and have been less keen to adopt this method – though this appears to be changing. Some countries have used purchase receipts as de facto lottery tickets – by encouraging citizens to demand receipts when they complete a transaction, they force businesses to declare income and pay the correct amount of sales tax. Similarly, the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) has found that using a lottery was an effective way to increase the number of voter registrations. And in Australia, we have undertaken a programme of work with BreastScreen Victoria to test different ways of encouraging women who had not previously responded to two postal invitations. We found that a letter including a prize draw was more effective than a behaviourally informed letter alone. The highest rate of bookings was for a letter that included a pro-social twist: recipients were told that they could give the prize to a valued other person, but there was no statistically significant difference between this and the standard prize draw letter.
La finzione cinematografica, come talvolta accade, potrebbe anticipare la realtà. Nel film Minority Report del 2002, un software di intelligenza artificiale elaborava le premonizioni di tre individui con poteri extrasensoriali per impedire episodi criminali. Un tema che potrebbe diventare attuale in materia di lotta al terrorismo. I budget della sicurezza di governi e aziende, infatti, ormai da anni hanno cominciato a destinare investimenti crescenti all’acquisizione di applicazioni di intelligenza artificiale. Come il Pentagono, che ha annunciato di stanziare nel 2017 tra i 12 e i 15 miliardi di dollari per lo sviluppo di nuove tecnologie da integrare nelle dotazioni militari e a supporto degli analisti. SERVE PIÙ INTELLIGENCE. Gli eventi tragici della storia più recente hanno evidenziato che lo strumento più idoneo contro il terrorismo è una intelligence più efficace. Un albergo, un ristorante, un monumento, una spiaggia, un concerto, una partita di calcio, un treno passeggeri, uno spettacolo pirotecnico, un centro commerciale, una chiesa: sono gli ultimi bersagli dei recenti attacchi terroristici. Bersagli sempre diversi e che non appartengono alla lista (numerosa, ma comunque limitata) dei cosiddetti obiettivi “sensibili”, tradizionalmente protetti dalle forze di polizia. Il principale ostacolo nel fronteggiare le minacce terroristiche non è rappresentato dalla raccolta di dati, spesso facilmente reperibili e già disponibili, ma dalla loro elaborazione e correlazione, e dalla reale capacità di interpretarli in tempi rapidi.
An unoccupied mind might be the most fruitful mind. But boredom is harder and harder to come by.“I’M DYING OF Boredom,” complains the young wife, Yelena, in Chekhov’s 1897 play Uncle Vanya. “I don’t know what to do.” Of course, if Yelena were around today, we know how she’d alleviate her boredom: She’d pull out her smartphone and find something diverting, like BuzzFeed or Twitter or Clash of Clans. If you have a planet’s worth of entertainment in your pocket, it’s easy to stave off ennui. Unless it turns out ennui is good for us. What if boredom is a meaningful experience—one that propels us to states of deeper thoughtfulness or creativity? That’s the conclusion of two fascinating recent studies. In one, researchers asked a group of subjects to do something boring, like copying out numbers from a phone book, and then take tests of creative thinking, such as devising uses for a pair of cups. The result? Bored subjects came up with more ideas than a nonbored control group, and their ideas were often more creative. In a second study, subjects who took an “associative thought” word test came up with more answers when they’d been forced to watch a dull screensaver.
The Democratic Republic is demonstrating itself to be increasingly insufficient for managing social cooperation in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Pure Democracy, in isolation, and as witnessed online as social media, even more so; its ability to sway the results of an election much as a shock forest fire serves to rejuvenate a battered ecosystem belies the emergence of more sinister forces yet to come. Francis Fukuyama was wrong when he, extolling the virtues of Western liberal democracy, declared that the “End of History” was near. Allow me, if you will, to dismantle some several thousand years of human phenomenological evolution in one fell swoop. The truth is that Democracy is done for and something is coming to replace it.
The digital revolution will make data abundant and cheap. Moving from a time of darkness into a digital age with information overload, we will need suitable filters. However, those who build these filters will determine what we see. This creates possibilities to influence people's decisions such that they become remotely controlled rather than make their decisions on their own. Since omnibenevolent rule cannot be supposed and top-down control is flawed for several reasons, another approach is needed. It can be found with distributed control, collective intelligence and participation. “Nervousnet” will be presented as a feasible specimen of a Citizen Web.
From remote-controlled to self-controlled citizens
Helbing, D. Eur. Phys. J. Spec. Top. (2017). doi:10.1140/epjst/e2016-60372-1
MENLO PARK, Calif. - The new immersive art installation here in the heart of Silicon Valley was dreamed up by David Byrne, the front man of the Talking Heads, and loosely modeled after the work of neuroscience and psychology labs at top institutions like Caltech and Harvard. So when I showed up at a warehouse on a rainy Sunday morning earlier this month, I wasn't sure what to expect. What I experienced was light on science but heavy on amusing novelty. I trekked with a group of nine fellow visitors through four rooms, each the site of a quasi-scientific experiment. After an hour, I'd navigated moral dilemmas, got tricked into believing a moving object was standing still, predicted (with limited success) the winners of an election, and found myself experiencing life as though I'd been turned into a doll.
Cognitive Economics is the economics of what is in people’s minds. It is a vibrant area of research (much of it within Behavioral Economics, Labor Economics and the Economics of Education) that brings into play novel types of data—especially novel types of survey data. Such data highlight the importance of heterogeneity across individuals and highlight thorny issues for Welfare Economics. A key theme of Cognitive Economics is finite cognition (often misleadingly called “bounded rationality”), which poses theoretical challenges that call for versatile approaches. Cognitive Economics brings a rich toolbox to the task of understanding a complex world.
The economics of "happiness" shares a feature with behavioral economics that raises questions about its usefulness in public policy analysis. What happiness economists call "habituation" refers to the fact that people's reported well-being reverts to a base level, even after major life events such as a disabling injury or winning the lottery. What behavioral economists call "projection bias" refers to the fact that people systematically mistake current circumstances for permanence, buying too much food if shopping while hungry for example. Habituation means happiness does not react to long-term changes, and projection bias means happiness over-reacts to temporary changes. I demonstrate this outcome by combining responses to happiness questions with information about air quality and weather on the day and in the place where those questions were asked. The current day's air quality affects happiness while the local annual average does not. Interpreted literally, either the value of air quality is not measurable using the happiness approach or air quality has no value. Interpreted more generously, projection bias saves happiness economics from habituation, enabling its use in public policy.
The tools we use to study the brain are tested on a system we actually understand.
In 2014, the US announced a new effort to understand the brain. Soon, we would map every single connection within the brain, track the activity of individual neurons, and start to piece together some of the fundamental units of biological cognition. The program was named BRAIN (for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies), and it posited that we were on the verge of these breakthroughs because both imaging and analysis hardware were finally powerful enough to produce the necessary data, and we had the software and processing power to make sense of it. But this week, PLoS Computational Biology published a cautionary note that suggests we may be getting ahead of ourselves. Part experiment, part polemic, a computer scientist got together with a biologist to apply the latest neurobiology approaches to a system we understand far more completely than the brain: a processor booting up the games Donkey Kong and Space Invaders. The results were about as awkward as you might expect, and they helped the researchers make their larger point: we may not understand the brain well enough to understand the brain.
The process of “self-organization” takes place in open and complex systems that acquire spatio-temporal or functional structures without specific ordering instructions from the outside. In domains such as physics, chemistry or biology, the phrase, “far from equilibrium”, refers to systems that are “far from thermal equilibrium”, while in other disciplines, the term refers to the property of being “away from the resting state”. Such systems are “complex” in the sense that they are composed of many interacting components, parts, elements, etc., and “open” in the sense that they exchange with their environment matter, energy, and information. Here, “information” may imply Shannon information , as a measure of the capacity of a channel through which a message passes, pragmatic information, as the impact of a message on recipients, or semantic information, as the meaning conveyed by a message. An attempt to bring these lines of thought together was made by Hermann Haken in his 1988 book Information and Self-Organization . In the meantime, a number of authors have studied the interplay between information and self-organization in a variety of fields. Though the selection of the relevant authors and topics is surely not complete, we believe that this special issue mirrors the state of these interdisciplinary approaches fairly well. In fact, the various papers of this Special Issue expose the different ways processes of self-organization are linked with the various forms of information. As will be seen below, a study of such links has consequences on a number of research domains, ranging from physics and chemistry, through the life sciences and cognitive science, including human behavior and action, to our understanding of society, economics, and the dynamics of cities and urbanization. As will be seen below, the contributions to this Special Issue shed light on the various facets of information and self-organization. And since these various facets do not lend themselves to a topic-oriented order, and since a reader may prefer one over another, we present the papers in an alphabetic order that follows the family name of the first author of each article.
La scienza spiega le cause dell'ottimismo e del pessimismo: i geni giocano un ruolo importante. Secondo l’ottimista il bicchiere è mezzo pieno, mentre il pessimista è convinto che sia mezzo vuoto. Il cinico… si chiede chi abbia bevuto l’altra metà. La scienza può spiegare il modo in cui le emozioni influenzano il nostro atteggiamento e visione della vita? Alcune ricerche hanno dimostrato che, in parte, questo aspetto è fuori dal nostro controllo. Infatti, il pessimismo e l’ottimismo sono influenzati da un gene che determina i livelli di serotonina nel nostro cervello. La serotonina è un neurotrasmettitore, cioè una sostanza che contribuisce al trasporto di messaggi tra diverse aree del cervello. È anche chiamata “molecola della felicità”, perché influenza profondamente l’umore. Quando questa sostanza è presente in quantità ottimali, si è predisposti al buonumore e ad una buona tolleranza dello stress. Al contrario, la carenza di serotonina porta a vari disturbi, tra cui depressione ed ansia. È stato però scoperto che, anche se non si soffre di tali disturbi, la carenza di questa molecola porta ad una visione più negativa della vita e del futuro. I neurotrasmettitori sono sostanze chimiche che trasportano messaggi tra neurone e l'altro I neurotrasmettitori sono sostanze chimiche che trasportano messaggi tra neurone e l’altro Infatti, chi ha un allele lungo sul gene che trasporta la serotonina, focalizza principalmente l’attenzione su immagini e situazioni positive; mentre chi possiede l’allele corto sullo stesso gene presta più attenzione ad immagini negative.
“Una delle cose più dolorose del nostro tempo è che coloro che hanno certezze sono stupidi, mentre quelli con immaginazione e comprensione sono pieni di dubbi e di indecisioni – Bertrand Russel” Hai mai notato che spesso le persone particolarmente incompetenti sono le meno consapevoli della loro ignoranza, mentre i più esperti sono invece insicuri e dubitano delle loro capacità? La ricerca scientifica dimostra che le cose stanno esattamente così. Dunning e Kruger hanno dimostrato che, come scrisse Shakespeare, “Il saggio sa di essere stupido, è lo stupido invece che crede di essere saggio” Secondo i due ricercatori, le persone meno esperte non riescono a stimare in modo realistico le loro capacità, sopravvalutandosi. Gli inesperti sono anche incapaci di notare che le abilità degli altri sono superiori alle proprie. Questo effetto è stato osservato in tanti contesti, sia in senso astratto, come il ragionamento logico e l’umorismo, sia in senso concreto, come in contesti lavorativi. Le persone con il quoziente intellettivo più basso sono quelle che stimano in modo più irrealistico, in senso positivo, la loro intelligenza.
The ancient impulse to procreate is necessary for survival and must be hardwired into our brains. Now scientists from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have discovered an important clue about the neurons involved in that wiring. Using advanced deep brain imaging techniques and optogenetics, the UNC scientists found that a small cluster of sex-hormone-sensitive neurons in the mouse hypothalamus are specialized for inducing mice to “notice” the opposite sex and trigger attraction. This study, led by Garret D. Stuber, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and cell biology & physiology, and Jenna A. McHenry, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate in Stuber’s lab, identified a hormone-sensitive circuit in the brain that controls social motivation in female mice. “These neurons essentially take sensory and hormonal signals and translate them into motivated social behavior,” said Stuber, who is also a member of the UNC Neuroscience Center. The findings, reported in Nature Neuroscience, illuminate the neural roots of opposite-sex social behavior in mammals, and may also be relevant to certain psychiatric illnesses. “These neural circuits that bridge social and reward processing should also provide important insights for disorders that impair social motivation,” said McHenry, the first author of the paper.
What this daydreaming researcher learned from eight weeks of mindfulness meditationFor years, I've been told to try mindfulness, by everyone and their mother. You need to learn how to harness the power of deep concentration, I am told. But I *do* harness the power of deep concentration, I tell them-- when it's something that truly captivates my imagination. That's your monkey mind talking, I am told. Settle in. Open your mind. Stop judging. Fine. Once and for all, I will do it. I will pull back the judgment. It's not easy.
Did “Consciousness” just appear from nowhere, or is there something about the physical universe that means that consciousness is almost guaranteed to emerge?... PART 1 - CONSCIOUSNESS Over the last 400 years or so Mathematical Physics has become the science that we rely on to explain the behavior of the universe. Mathematical physics is the ultimate science of deterministic cause and effect. But although physics is good at explaining the obvious dynamics of cause and effect, it turns out that it fails quite miserably when it comes to explaining the not-so-obvious dynamics of “Natural Evolution and Emergent Complexity” Compressible Linear Dynamics In general the science of physics likes to believe that all natural behavior can be explained mathematically, and consequently physicists like to build “mathematical models” of (cause and effect in) the real world. Sometimes these models are unbelievably concise, and can be compressed into a single neat equation, and when this happens we confidently call the model a “Deterministic” “Law of Physics”. However in reality the universe has a range of behavior, from simple to complex, and so unsurprisingly many behaviors are not so easily compressed.
One area where behavioural economics has had surprisingly little impact – rather ironically – has been economic policy. The UK’s Industrial Strategy, published today, starts to change this. Adam Smith wrote extensively of the role of sentiment. Keynes highlighted how shocks and booms are driven by ‘animal spirits’. More recent work by Akerlof and Shiller, Thaler and others has laid bare the inadequacies of economic models based on ‘econs’. Yet despite these failings, economic policy still has held, very deeply, onto the view that humans are rational utility maximisers; with information flowing freely; and markets necessarily finding optimum equilibria. The logical corollary is that the best that governments can do is to get out of the way, perhaps occasionally breaking up monopolies and ensuring that externalities are correctly priced (for example by supplying basic skills training and taxing polluters). An alternative view, woven through the new Industrial Strategy is that markets are riven with deep behaviourally-based failures. Fortunately, there is a great deal that governments can, and should, do to fix these failures. This can boost growth rates and ensure that growth is more widely spread.
Official Full-Text Publication: Cognitive brain mapping of auditors and accountants in going concern judgments on ResearchGate, the professional network for scientists.Th is study aims to explain the extent to which brain mapping patterns follow behavioral patterns of auditors and accountants’ judgments when assessing evidence for decisions involving going concern. It is multidisciplinary research involved investigating the relation between the theory of belief revision, neuroscience, and neuroaccounting with a sample of auditors and accountants. We developed a randomized controlled trial study with 12 auditors and 13 accountants. Auditors and accountants presented similar judgments about going concern, specially demonstrating greater sensitivity to negative evidence. Despite similar judgments, results showed diverging brain processing patterns between groups, as distinct reasoning was used to reach going concern estimates. During the decision process, auditors presented homogeneous brain processing patterns, while accountants evidenced con_ icts and greater cognitive e_ ort. For both groups, the occurrence of maximization (minimization) of judgments is observed in brain areas associated with identification of needs and motivations linked to individuals’ relations with their social group. This was strengthened by the lack of significant differences between the regression maps of auditors and accountants, leading to interpretation of the groups’ findings as homogeneous brain behavior. Despite familiarity with the executed task and knowledge of auditing standards, as a result of the greater use of algorithmic reasoning the auditors’ judgments were similar to that of accountants. On the other hand, the accountants’ greater cognitive effort, due to the experiencing of greater con_ ict in the decision-making process, made them use more quantum brain processing abilities, which are responsible for conscious reasoning. _ is was observed in the maximizations (minimizations) of the estimates in brain areas related to concerns with the judgments’ social repercussions, which culminated in some degree of “conservatism” in their decisions. Furthermore, these findings reveal another opportunity to discuss the assumption of the brain as the original accounting institution.
The debate about behavioral economics – the incorporation of insights from psychology into economics – is often framed as a question about the foundational assumptions of economic models. This paper presents a more pragmatic perspective on behavioral economics that focuses on its value for improving empirical predictions and policy decisions. I discuss three ways in which behavioral economics can contribute to public policy: by offering new policy tools, improving predictions about the effects of existing policies, and generating new welfare implications. I illustrate these contributions using applications to retirement savings, labor supply, and neighborhood choice. Behavioral models provide new tools to change behaviors such as savings rates and new counterfactuals to estimate the effects of policies such as income taxation. Behavioral models also provide new prescriptions for optimal policy that can be characterized in a non-paternalistic manner using methods analogous to those in neoclassical models. Model uncertainty does not justify using the neoclassical model; instead, it can provide a new rationale for using behavioral nudges. I conclude that incorporating behavioral features to the extent they help answer core economic questions may be more productive than viewing behavioral economics as a separate subfield that challenges the assumptions of neoclassical models.
The integration of neuroscience, psychology, microeconomic theory, and social intelligence has bred a field that provides insights and underlying assumptions to our normal interactions.
Behavioral economics sheds light on most everyday activities and why we consume goods and services the way we do, why we make certain choices about ourselves or others, and how we decide courses of action. It is an incredible lens that exposes our inner biases and approaches to decision-making. It’s one where we can more fully understand the bounds, motivations, causes and limitations to our decisions and actions—anything from risk to resource allocation, strategic dependence or irrationality. The integration of neuroscience, psychology, microeconomic theory and social intelligence has bred a field that provides insights and underlying assumptions to our interactions, and one that continues to influence us in our day-to-day lives.
Abstract A multidimensional financial system could provide benefits for individuals, companies, and states. Instead of top-down control, which is destined to eventually fail in a hyperconnected world, a bottom-up creation of value can unleash creative potential and drive innovations. Multiple currency dimensions can represent different externalities and thus enable the design of incentives and feedback mechanisms that foster the ability of complex dynamical systems to self-organize and lead to a more resilient society and sustainable economy. Modern information and communication technologies play a crucial role in this process, as Web 2.0 and online social networks promote cooperation and collaboration on unprecedented scales. Within this contribution, we discuss how one dimension of a multidimensional currency system could represent socio-digital capital (Social Bitcoins) that can be generated in a bottom-up way by individuals who perform search and navigation tasks in a future version of the digital world. The incentive to mine Social Bitcoins could sustain digital diversity, which mitigates the risk of totalitarian control by powerful monopolies of information and can create new business opportunities needed in times where a large fraction of current jobs is estimated to disappear due to computerisation.
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