Contemporary Anglo-American economics, which I admire, faces two major obstacles. First, in its drive at least since Milton Freedman to be a positive science free of normative issues, it ignores its own current intellectual foundations buried at the heart of its analysis of the “advantages of trade”: Fairness. Second, the major driver of economic growth in the past 50,000 years has been the explosion of goods and production capacities from perhaps 1,000 to 10,000 long ago, to perhaps 10 billion goods and production capacities today. Economics, lacking a theory for this explosion, deals with this explosion by ignoring it and treating it as “exogenous” to its theory. The “Edgeworth Box” carries the heart of advantages of trade, demonstrating for properly curved isoutility curves a region where you and I are better-off trading some of my apples for some of your pears. The ratio of these in trade constitutes price. But spanning the region of advantages of trade is the famous CONTRACT CURVE, where we have exhausted all the advantages of trade. Different points on the curve correspond to different prices. But the Contract Curve is Pareto Optimal, motion on the curve can only make one of us better-off at the expense of the other. Critically, economics has NO THEORY for where we end up on the Contract Curve. Nor, since different points on the curve correspond to different prices, can PRICE settle the issue. Using the Ultimatum Game I will show that FAIRNESS typically drives where we settle on the Contract Curve, as long as we do not have to trade with one another. Thus ethics enters economics at its foundation, yet cannot be mathematized, so is ignored in Freedman’s name of a positive science. Perhaps more important, unlike physics, no laws entail the evolution of either the biosphere or the “econosphere.” There are no laws of motion whose integration would entail that evolution. Lacking an entailing theory of the growth of the economy in diversity, often of new goods and production capacities, economists ignore the most important feature of economic growth, wrongly treating it as “exogenous.” The failures above are likely to play major roles in the lapse to mere greed in our major financial institutions, and in our inadequate capacities to help drive growth in much of the poverty-struck world.
Stuart Kauffman (2014), On Ethical and Intellectual Failures in Contemporary Economics, in Steven Horwitz , Roger Koppl (ed.) Entangled Political Economy (Advances in Austrian Economics, Volume 18) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.259 - 282
Systems of many interacting components — be they species, integers or subatomic particles — kept producing the same statistical curve, which had become known as the Tracy-Widom distribution. This puzzling curve seemed to be the complex cousin of the familiar bell curve, or Gaussian distribution, which represents the natural variation of independent random variables like the heights of students in a classroom or their test scores. Like the Gaussian, the Tracy-Widom distribution exhibits “universality,” a mysterious phenomenon in which diverse microscopic effects give rise to the same collective behavior. “The surprise is it’s as universal as it is,” said Tracy, a professor at the University of California, Davis.
This paper surveys research on applying neuroevolution (NE) to games. In neuroevolution, artificial neural networks are trained through evolutionary algorithms, taking inspiration from the way biological brains evolved. We analyse the application of NE in games along five different axes, which are the role NE is chosen to play in a game, the different types of neural networks used, the way these networks are evolved, how the fitness is determined and what type of input the network receives. The article also highlights important open research challenges in the field.
Neuroevolution in Games: State of the Art and Open Challenges Sebastian Risi, Julian Togelius
When the first universities emerged in eleventh-century Europe, their mission was education, scholarship and nothing else. They housed bright young clerics, studying the newly rediscovered works of ancient thinkers such as Aristotle and Euclid. Only in the nineteenth century, following the lead of Britain and Germany, did universities begin to give equal weight to a second mission: scientific research.
But in the past few decades, universities around the world have begun to take on further missions. Today they are supposed to be not only centres of education and discovery, but also engines of economic growth, beacons of social justice and laboratories for new modes of learning.
(...) humans and other species seem to share basic reactions to inequity, which serves to sustain cooperation. We postulate that the basic emotional reactions and calculations underlying our sense of fairness are rooted in our primate background and offer a model that places these reactions in the context of cooperative relationships.
Evolution of responses to (un)fairness Sarah F. Brosnan1,*, Frans B. M. de Waal
Autophagy is the mechanism by which cellular material is delivered to lysosomes and degraded. This process has become a major focus of biological and biomedical research with thousands of papers published each year and rapidly growing appreciation that autophagy affects many normal and pathological processes. However, as we learn more about this evolutionarily ancient process, we are discovering that autophagy's effects may work for both the good and the bad of an organism. Here, I discuss some of these context-dependent findings and how, as we make sense of them, we can try to apply our knowledge for practical purposes.
Explosive synchronization (ES) is nowadays a hot topic of interest in nonlinear science and complex networks. So far, it is conjectured that ES is rooted in the setting of specific microscopic correlation features between the natural frequencies of the networked oscillators and their effective coupling strengths. We show that ES, in fact, is far more general, and can occur in adaptive and multilayer networks also in the absence of such correlation properties. Precisely, we first report evidence of ES in the absence of correlation for networks where a fraction f of the nodes have links adaptively controlled by a local order parameter, and then we extend the study to a variety of two-layer networks with a fraction f of their nodes coupled each other by means of dependency links. In this latter case, we even show that ES sets in, regardless of the differences in the frequency distribution and/or in the topology of connections between the two layers. Finally, we provide a rigorous, analytical, treatment to properly ground all the observed scenario, and to facilitate the understanding of the actual mechanisms at the basis of ES in real-world systems.
Explosive synchronization in adaptive and multilayer networks Xiyun Zhang, Stefano Boccaletti, Shuguang Guan, Zonghua Liu
The dynamics of rule 54 one-dimensional two-state cellular automaton (CA) are a discrete analog of a space-time dynamics of excitations in nonlinear active medium with mutual inhibition. A cell switches its state 0 to state 1 if one of its two neighbors is in state 1 (propagation of a perturbation) and a cell remains in state 1 only if its two neighbors are in state 0. A lateral inhibition is because a 1-state neighbor causes a 1-state cell to switch to state 0. The rule produces a rich spectrum of space-time dynamics, including gliders and glider guns just from four primitive gliders. We construct a catalogue of gliders and describe them by tiles. We calculate a subset of regular expressions ΨR54 to encode gliders. The regular expressions are derived from de Bruijn diagrams, tile-based representation of gliders, and cycle diagrams sometimes. We construct an abstract machine that recognizes regular expressions of gliders in rule 54 and validate Ψ R54. We also propose a way to code initial configurations of gliders to depict any type of collision between the gliders and explore self-organization of gliders, formation of larger tiles, and soliton-like interactions of gliders and computable devices.
Complete Characterization of Structure of Rule 54 Genaro J. Martínez, Andrew Adamatzky, Harold V. McIntosh
Connection topologies of many networked systems like human brain, biological cell, world wide web, power grids, human society and ecological food webs markedly deviate from that of completely random networks indicating the presence of organizing principles behind their evolution. The five important features that characterize such networks are scale-free topology, small average path length, high clustering, hierarchical community structure and assortative mixing. Till now the generic mechanisms underlying the existence of these properties are not well understood. Here we show that potentially a single mechanism, which we call "mediated attachment", where two nodes get connected through a mediator or common neighbor, could be responsible for the emergence of all important properties of real networks. The mediated attachment naturally unifies scale-free topology, high clustering, small world nature, hierarchical community structure and dissortative nature of networks. Further, with additional mixing by age, this can also explain the assortative structure of social networks. The mechanism of mediated attachment seems to be directly present in acquaintance networks, co-authorships, World Wide Web, metabolic networks, co-citations and linguistics. We anticipate that this mechanism will shed new light on percolation and robustness properties of real world networks as well as would give new insights in processes like epidemics spreading and emergent dynamics taking place on them.
Mediated attachment as a mechanism for growth of complex networks Snehal M. Shekatkar, G. Ambika
Jean Tirole is one of the most influential economists of our time. He has made important theoretical research contributions in a number of areas, but most of all he has clarified how to understand and regulate industries with a few powerful firms.
This year’s Nobel Laureates are rewarded for having invented a new energy-efficient and environment-friendly light source – the blue light-emitting diode (LED). In the spirit of Alfred Nobel the Prize rewards an invention of greatest benefit to mankind; using blue LEDs, white light can be created in a new way. With the advent of LED lamps we now have more long-lasting and more efficient alternatives to older light sources.
Autonomous machines have gripped our imagination ever since the first robot flickered on the silver screen, Maria in the 1927 film Metropolis. Most of the robots we know today—unglamorous devices like robotic welders on car assembly lines and the Roomba vacuum cleaner—fall short of those in science fiction. But our relationship with robots is about to become far more intimate. Would you be comfortable with a robot butler, or a self-driving car? How about a robo-scientist toiling away next to you at the bench, not only pipetting but also formulating hypotheses and designing experiments?
That social media benefits mankind is irrefutable. I have been an evangelist for the power of new media for 20 years. However, technology in the form of globalized communication, transportation and supply chains conspires to make today’s world more complex. Events in any corner of the world now impact the rest of the globe quickly and sharply. Nations are being pulled apart along sectarian seams in Iraq, tribal divisions in Afghanistan, national interests in Ukraine and territorial fences in Gaza. These conflicts portend a quickening of global unrest, confirmed by Foreign Policy magazine’s map of civil protest. The ISIS videos are simply the exposed wire. I believe that over the next century, even great nations will Balkanize — break into smaller nations. One of the principal drivers of this Balkanization is social media Twitter .
Artificial, neurobiological, and social networks are three distinct complex adaptive systems (CASs), each containing discrete processing units (nodes, neurons, and humans, respectively). Despite the apparent differences, these three networks are bound by common underlying principles which describe the behavior of the system in terms of the connections of its components, and its emergent properties. The longevity (long-term retention and functionality) of the components of each of these systems is also defined by common principles. Here, I will examine some properties of the longevity and function of the components of artificial and neurobiological systems, and generalize these to the longevity and function of the components of social CAS. In other words, I will show that principles governing the long-term functionality of computer nodes and of neurons, may be extrapolated to the study of the long-term functionality of humans (or more precisely, of the noemes, an abstract combination of “existence” and “digital fame”). The study of these phenomena can provide useful insights regarding practical ways that can be used to maximize human longevity. The basic law governing these behaviors is the “Law of Requisite Usefulness,” which states that the length of retention of an agent within a CAS is proportional to the agent's contribution to the overall adaptability of the system.
Technological integration and hyperconnectivity: Tools for promoting extreme human lifespans Marios Kyriazis
To investigate the dynamics of social networks and the formation and evolution of online communities in response to extreme events, we collected three datasets from Twitter shortly before and after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. We find that while almost all users increased their online activity after the earthquake, Japanese speakers, who are assumed to be more directly affected by the event, expanded the network of people they interact with to a much higher degree than English speakers or the global average. By investigating the evolution of communities, we find that the behavior of joining or quitting a community is far from random: users tend to stay in their current status and are less likely to join new communities from solitary or shift to other communities from their current community. While non-Japanese speakers did not change their conversation topics significantly after the earthquake, nearly all Japanese users changed their conversations to earthquake-related content. This study builds a systematic framework for investigating human behaviors under extreme events with online social network data and our findings on the dynamics of networks and communities may provide useful insight for understanding how patterns of social interaction are influenced by extreme events.
Network Structure and Community Evolution on Twitter: Human Behavior Change in Response to the 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami • Xin Lu & Christa Brelsford
Differences among species in their ability to adapt to environmental change threaten biodiversity, human health, food security, and natural resource availability. Pathogens, pests, and cancers often quickly evolve resistance to control measures, whereas crops, livestock, wild species, and human beings often do not adapt fast enough to cope with climate change, habitat loss, toxicants, and lifestyle change. To address these challenges, practices based on evolutionary biology can promote sustainable outcomes via strategic manipulation of genetic, developmental, and environmental factors. Successful strategies effectively slow unwanted evolution and reduce fitness in costly species or improve performance of valued organisms by reducing phenotype-environment mismatch or increasing group productivity. Tactics of applied evolutionary biology range broadly, from common policies that promote public health or preserve habitat for threatened species—but are easily overlooked as having an evolutionary rationale, to the engineering of new genomes.
Applying evolutionary biology to address global challenges Scott P. Carroll, et al.
Although human and animal behaviors are largely shaped by reinforcement and punishment, choices in social settings are also influenced by information about the knowledge and experience of other decision-makers. During competitive games, monkeys increased their payoffs by systematically deviating from a simple heuristic learning algorithm and thereby countering the predictable exploitation by their computer opponent. Neurons in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) signaled the animal’s recent choice and reward history that reflected the computer’s exploitative strategy. The strength of switching signals in the dmPFC also correlated with the animal’s tendency to deviate from the heuristic learning algorithm. Therefore, the dmPFC might provide control signals for overriding simple heuristic learning algorithms based on the inferred strategies of the opponent.
Neural correlates of strategic reasoning during competitive games Hyojung Seo, Xinying Cai, Christopher H. Donahue, Daeyeol Lee
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
Your genome is the same right now as it was yesterday, last week, last year, or the day you were born. But your microbiomes—the combined genes of all the trillions of microbes that share your body—have shifted since the sun came up this morning. And they will change again before the next sunrise.
We investigate the role of networks of alliances in preventing (multilateral) interstate wars. We first show that, in the absence of international trade, no network of alliances is peaceful and stable. We then show that international trade induces peaceful and stable networks: trade increases the density of alliances so that countries are less vulnerable to attack and also reduces countries' incentives to attack an ally. We present historical data on wars and trade, noting that the dramatic drop in interstate wars since 1950, and accompanying densification and stabilization of alliances, are consistent with the model but not other prominent theories.
Networks of Military Alliances, Wars, and International Trade Matthew O. Jackson, Stephen M. Nei
In this work we present analytic expressions for the expected values of the performance metrics of parallel applications when the distributed computing infrastructure has a complex topology. Through active probing tests we analyse the structure of a real distributed computing environment. From the resulting network we both validate the analytic expressions and explore the performance metrics under different conditions through Monte Carlo simulations. In particular we gauge computing paradigms with different hierarchical structures in computing services. Fully decentralised (i.e., peer-to-peer) environments provide the best performance. Moreover, we show that it is possible to improve significantly the parallel efficiency by implementing more intelligent configurations of computing services and task allocation strategies (e.g., by using a betweenness centrality measure). We qualitatively reproduce results of previous works and provide closed-form solutions that link topology, application’s structure and allocation parameters when job dependencies and a complex network structure are considered.
Distributed Computing on Complex Networks Francisco Prieto-Castrillo, Antonio Astillero, María Botón-Fernández
Although the role of epistasis in evolution has received considerable attention from experimentalists and theorists alike, it is unknown which aspects of adaptation are in fact sensitive to epistasis. Here, we address this question by comparing the evolutionary dynamics on all finite epistatic landscapes versus all finite non-epistatic landscapes, under weak mutation. We first analyze the fitness trajectory -- that is, the time course of the expected fitness of a population. We show that for any epistatic fitness landscape and choice of starting genotype, there always exists a non-epistatic fitness landscape and starting genotype that produces the exact same fitness trajectory. Thus, surprisingly, the presence or absence of epistasis is irrelevant to the first-order dynamics of adaptation. On the other hand, we show that the time evolution of the variance in fitness across replicate populations can be sensitive to epistasis: some epistatic fitness landscapes produce variance trajectories that cannot be produced by any non-epistatic landscape. Likewise, the mean substitution trajectory -- that is, the expected number of mutations that fix over time -- is also sensitive to epistasis. These results on identifiability have direct implications for efforts to infer epistasis from the types of data often measured in experimental populations.
On the role of epistasis in adaptation David M. McCandlish, Jakub Otwinowski, Joshua B. Plotkin
How do we know where we are? How can we find the way from one place to another? And how can we store this information in such a way that we can immediately find the way the next time we trace the same path? This year´s Nobel Laureates have discovered a positioning system, an “inner GPS” in the brain that makes it possible to orient ourselves in space, demonstrating a cellular basis for higher cognitive function.
For a long time optical microscopy was held back by a presumed limitation: that it would never obtain a better resolution than half the wavelength of light. Helped by fluorescent molecules the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 2014 ingeniously circumvented this limitation. Their ground-breaking work has brought optical microscopy into the nanodimension.
Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) are among the most widely used food additives worldwide, regularly consumed by lean and obese individuals alike. NAS consumption is considered safe and beneficial owing to their low caloric content, yet supporting scientific data remain sparse and controversial. Here we demonstrate that consumption of commonly used NAS formulations drives the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota. These NAS-mediated deleterious metabolic effects are abrogated by antibiotic treatment, and are fully transferrable to germ-free mice upon faecal transplantation of microbiota configurations from NAS-consuming mice, or of microbiota anaerobically incubated in the presence of NAS. We identify NAS-altered microbial metabolic pathways that are linked to host susceptibility to metabolic disease, and demonstrate similar NAS-induced dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in healthy human subjects. Collectively, our results link NAS consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage.
Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota • Jotham Suez, Tal Korem, David Zeevi, Gili Zilberman-Schapira, Christoph A. Thaiss, Ori Maza, David Israeli, Niv Zmora, Shlomit Gilad, Adina Weinberger, Yael Kuperman, Alon Harmelin, Ilana Kolodkin-Gal, Hagit Shapiro, Zamir Halpern, Eran Segal & Eran Elinav