Social Foraging
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Dynamics of Social Interaction
Curated by Ashish Umre
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The role of hidden influentials in the diffusion of online information cascades

In a diversified context with multiple social networking sites, heterogeneous activity patterns and different user-user relations, the concept of ``information cascade'' is all but univocal. Despite the fact that such information cascades can be defined in different ways, it is important to check whether some of the observed patterns are common to diverse contagion processes that take place on modern social media. Here, we explore one type of information cascades, namely, those that are time-constrained, related to two kinds of socially-rooted topics on Twitter. Specifically, we show that in both cases cascades sizes distribute following a fat tailed distribution and that whether or not a cascade reaches system-wide proportions is mainly given by the presence of so-called hidden influentials. These latter nodes are not the hubs, which on the contrary, often act as firewalls for information spreading. Our results are important for a better understanding of the dynamics of complex contagion and, from a practical side, for the identification of efficient spreaders in viral phenomena.

 

The role of hidden influentials in the diffusion of online information cascades
Baños RA, Borge-Holthoefer J, Moreno Y
EPJ Data Science 2013, 2:6 (26 July 2013)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1140/epjds18


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The developmental dynamics of terrorist organizations

We identify robust statistical patterns in the frequency and severity of violent attacks by terrorist organizations as they grow and age. Using group-level static and dynamic analyses of terrorist events worldwide from 1968-2008 and a simulation model of organizational dynamics, we show that the production of violent events tends to accelerate with increasing size and experience. This coupling of frequency, experience and size arises from a fundamental positive feedback loop in which attacks lead to growth which leads to increased production of new attacks. In contrast, event severity is independent of both size and experience. Thus larger, more experienced organizations are more deadly because they attack more frequently, not because their attacks are more deadly, and large events are equally likely to come from large and small organizations. These results hold across political ideologies and time, suggesting that the frequency and severity of terrorism may be constrained by fundamental processes.

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Psychosis-Proneness and Neural Correlates of Self-Inhibition in Theory of Mind

Psychosis-Proneness and Neural Correlates of Self-Inhibition in Theory of Mind | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Impaired Theory of Mind (ToM) has been repeatedly reported as a feature of psychotic disorders. ToM is crucial in social interactions and for the development of social behavior. It has been suggested that reasoning about the belief of others, requires inhibition of the self-perspective. We investigated the neural correlates of self-inhibition in nineteen low psychosis prone (PP) and eighteen high PP subjects presenting with subclinical features. High PP subjects have a more than tenfold increased risk of developing a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder. Brain activation was measured with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging during a ToM task differentiating between self-perspective inhibition and belief reasoning. Furthermore, to test underlying inhibitory mechanisms, we included a stop-signal task. We predicted worse behavioral performance for high compared to low PP subjects on both tasks. Moreover, based on previous neuroimaging results, different activation patterns were expected in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) in high versus low PP subjects in self-perspective inhibition and simple response inhibition. Results showed increased activation in left IFG during self-perspective inhibition, but not during simple response inhibition, for high PP subjects as compared to low PP subjects. High and low PP subjects showed equal behavioral performance. The results suggest that at a neural level, high PP subjects need more resources for inhibiting the self-perspective, but not for simple motor response inhibition, to equal the performance of low PP subjects. This may reflect a compensatory mechanism, which may no longer be available for patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders resulting in ToM impairments.

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Faster Is More Different: Mean-Field Dynamics of Innovation Diffusion

Faster Is More Different: Mean-Field Dynamics of Innovation Diffusion | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Based on a recent model of paradigm shifts by Bornholdt et al., we studied mean-field opinion dynamics in an infinite population where an infinite number of ideas compete simultaneously with their values publicly known. We found that a highly innovative society is not characterized by heavy concentration in highly valued ideas: Rather, ideas are more broadly distributed in a more innovative society with faster progress, provided that the rate of adoption is constant, which suggests a positive correlation between innovation and technological disparity. Furthermore, the distribution is generally skewed in such a way that the fraction of innovators is substantially smaller than has been believed in conventional innovation-diffusion theory based on normality. Thus, the typical adoption pattern is predicted to be asymmetric with slow saturation in the ideal situation, which is compared with empirical data sets.

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Bursty Communication Patterns Facilitate Spreading in a Threshold-Based Epidemic Dynamics

Bursty Communication Patterns Facilitate Spreading in a Threshold-Based Epidemic Dynamics | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Records of social interactions provide us with new sources of data for understanding how interaction patterns affect collective dynamics. Such human activity patterns are often bursty, i.e., they consist of short periods of intense activity followed by long periods of silence. This burstiness has been shown to affect spreading phenomena; it accelerates epidemic spreading in some cases and slows it down in other cases. We investigate a model of history-dependent contagion. In our model, repeated interactions between susceptible and infected individuals in a short period of time is needed for a susceptible individual to contract infection. We carry out numerical simulations on real temporal network data to find that bursty activity patterns facilitate epidemic spreading in our model.

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A Machine Learning Method for the Prediction of Receptor Activation in the Simulation of Synapses

A Machine Learning Method for the Prediction of Receptor Activation in the Simulation of Synapses | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Chemical synaptic transmission involves the release of a neurotransmitter that diffuses in the extracellular space and interacts with specific receptors located on the postsynaptic membrane. Computer simulation approaches provide fundamental tools for exploring various aspects of the synaptic transmission under different conditions. In particular, Monte Carlo methods can track the stochastic movements of neurotransmitter molecules and their interactions with other discrete molecules, the receptors. However, these methods are computationally expensive, even when used with simplified models, preventing their use in large-scale and multi-scale simulations of complex neuronal systems that may involve large numbers of synaptic connections. We have developed a machine-learning based method that can accurately predict relevant aspects of the behavior of synapses, such as the percentage of open synaptic receptors as a function of time since the release of the neurotransmitter, with considerably lower computational cost compared with the conventional Monte Carlo alternative. The method is designed to learn patterns and general principles from a corpus of previously generated Monte Carlo simulations of synapses covering a wide range of structural and functional characteristics. These patterns are later used as a predictive model of the behavior of synapses under different conditions without the need for additional computationally expensive Monte Carlo simulations. This is performed in five stages: data sampling, fold creation, machine learning, validation and curve fitting. The resulting procedure is accurate, automatic, and it is general enough to predict synapse behavior under experimental conditions that are different to the ones it has been trained on. Since our method efficiently reproduces the results that can be obtained with Monte Carlo simulations at a considerably lower computational cost, it is suitable for the simulation of high numbers of synapses and it is therefore an excellent tool for multi-scale simulations.

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Roles of NO Signaling in Long-Term Memory Formation in Visual Learning in an Insect

Roles of NO Signaling in Long-Term Memory Formation in Visual Learning in an Insect | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Many insects exhibit excellent capability of visual learning, but the molecular and neural mechanisms are poorly understood. This is in contrast to accumulation of information on molecular and neural mechanisms of olfactory learning in insects. In olfactory learning in insects, it has been shown that cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling critically participates in the formation of protein synthesis-dependent long-term memory (LTM) and, in some insects, nitric oxide (NO)-cyclic GMP (cGMP) signaling also plays roles in LTM formation. In this study, we examined the possible contribution of NO-cGMP signaling and cAMP signaling to LTM formation in visual pattern learning in crickets. Crickets that had been subjected to 8-trial conditioning to associate a visual pattern with water reward exhibited memory retention 1 day after conditioning, whereas those subjected to 4-trial conditioning exhibited 30-min memory retention but not 1-day retention. Injection of cycloheximide, a protein synthesis inhibitor, into the hemolymph prior to 8-trial conditioning blocked formation of 1-day memory, whereas it had no effect on 30-min memory formation, indicating that 1-day memory can be characterized as protein synthesis-dependent long-term memory (LTM). Injection of an inhibitor of the enzyme producing an NO or cAMP prior to 8-trial visual conditioning blocked LTM formation, whereas it had no effect on 30-min memory formation. Moreover, injection of an NO donor, cGMP analogue or cAMP analogue prior to 4-trial conditioning induced LTM. Induction of LTM by an NO donor was blocked by DDA, an inhibitor of adenylyl cyclase, an enzyme producing cAMP, but LTM induction by a cAMP analogue was not impaired by L-NAME, an inhibitor of NO synthase. The results indicate that cAMP signaling is downstream of NO signaling for visual LTM formation. We conclude that visual learning and olfactory learning share common biochemical cascades for LTM formation.

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Resting State Networks' Corticotopy: The Dual Intertwined Rings Architecture

Resting State Networks' Corticotopy: The Dual Intertwined Rings Architecture | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

How does the brain integrate multiple sources of information to support normal sensorimotor and cognitive functions? To investigate this question we present an overall brain architecture (called “the dual intertwined rings architecture”) that relates the functional specialization of cortical networks to their spatial distribution over the cerebral cortex (or “corticotopy”). Recent results suggest that the resting state networks (RSNs) are organized into two large families: 1) a sensorimotor family that includes visual, somatic, and auditory areas and 2) a large association family that comprises parietal, temporal, and frontal regions and also includes the default mode network. We used two large databases of resting state fMRI data, from which we extracted 32 robust RSNs. We estimated: (1) the RSN functional roles by using a projection of the results on task based networks (TBNs) as referenced in large databases of fMRI activation studies; and (2) relationship of the RSNs with the Brodmann Areas. In both classifications, the 32 RSNs are organized into a remarkable architecture of two intertwined rings per hemisphere and so four rings linked by homotopic connections. The first ring forms a continuous ensemble and includes visual, somatic, and auditory cortices, with interspersed bimodal cortices (auditory-visual, visual-somatic and auditory-somatic, abbreviated as VSA ring). The second ring integrates distant parietal, temporal and frontal regions (PTF ring) through a network of association fiber tracts which closes the ring anatomically and ensures a functional continuity within the ring. The PTF ring relates association cortices specialized in attention, language and working memory, to the networks involved in motivation and biological regulation and rhythms. This “dual intertwined architecture” suggests a dual integrative process: the VSA ring performs fast real-time multimodal integration of sensorimotor information whereas the PTF ring performs multi-temporal integration (i.e., relates past, present, and future representations at different temporal scales).

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They Finally Tested The 'Prisoner's Dilemma' On Actual Prisoners — And The Results Were Not What You Would Expect

They Finally Tested The 'Prisoner's Dilemma' On Actual Prisoners — And The Results Were Not What You Would Expect | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The “prisoner’s dilemma” is a familiar concept to just about anybody that took Econ 101.

 

The basic version goes like this. Two criminals are arrested, but police can’t convict either on the primary charge, so they plan to sentence them to a year in jail on a lesser charge. Each of the prisoners, who can’t communicate with each other, are given the option of testifying against their partner. If they testify, and their partner remains silent, the partner gets 3 years and they go free. If they both testify, both get two. If both remain silent, they each get one. 

 

In game theory, betraying your partner, or “defecting” is always the dominant strategy as it always has a slightly higher payoff in a simultaneous game. It’s what’s known as a “Nash Equilibrium,” after Nobel Prize winning mathematician and A Beautiful Mind subject John Nash.

 

In sequential games, where players know each other’s previous behaviour and have the opportunity to punish each other, defection is the dominant strategy as

well.  

 

However, on a Pareto basis, the best outcome for both players is mutual cooperation.

 

Yet no one’s ever actually run the experiment on real prisoners before, until two University of Hamburg economists tried it out in a recent study comparing the behaviour of inmates and students. 

 

Surprisingly, for the classic version of the game, prisoners were far more cooperative  than expected.

 

http://au.businessinsider.com/prisoners-dilemma-in-real-life-2013-7

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Yandex co-founder Ilya Segalovich dies after cancer

Yandex co-founder Ilya Segalovich dies after cancer | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The man who co-founded Russia's biggest search engine, Yandex, has died aged 48 after suffering from cancer.

 

Ilya Segalovich set up the web company with business partner and school friend Arkady Volozh in 1997.

 

He was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year and went into a coma on Thursday, the company said.

 

Yandex is one of Russia's biggest internet companies - valued at £6.5bn ($10bn) and has more than double Google's market share in the country.

 

Mr Segalovich went to hospital on Wednesday with head pains before suddenly deteriorating, the Financial Times reported this week.

 

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Species Evolution Not Fast Enough to Cope With a Changing World

Species Evolution Not Fast Enough to Cope With a Changing World | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Scientists know that climate change is putting species around the globe in peril, but just how much peril? After all, when evolution failed to keep pace with a major climatic event 65 million years ago, half the planet's species went extinct and dinosaurs were reduced to jittery feathered creatures that get bullied by squirrels on bird-feeders. A new study suggests that our current era of climate change won't just exceed the rate of evolution, but will do so by a factor of thousands. Although the work doesn't go so far as predicting an extinction rate, it doesn't bode well for the near future of global biodiversity.

 

The world has warmed 0.6°C in the past few decades, and climate models say that we could see another 4° by century's end. "We want to know if species will be able to adapt to climate change quickly enough based on how they adapted to climate change in the past," says evolutionary ecologist John Wiens, of the University of Arizona in Tucson, and lead author of the new study. Wiens decided to investigate by looking at the top branches of family trees.

 

When two living species are closely related, scientists can estimate how long ago they diverged, thus providing an age for their common ancestor. Researchers can also estimate temperature and precipitation in that ancestor's habitat, using evolutionary models. With help from Yale University biology student Ignacio Quintero, Wiens calculated such estimates for 540 species in 17 groups of living vertebrates. They studied reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals primarily native to North and Central America, but with some European, Asian, Australian, South American, and African species as well. Then they used global climate models to determine how the local climate of each species is expected to change by the end of this century.

 

Despite differences in local climate and in the vertebrates themselves, the results were consistent. The average rate of adaptation for 15 of the 17 groups was less than 1°C per million years. Two groups adapted slightly faster, but still below 2° per million years. So if a frog breeds in autumn because the temperature is right, it might adapt to warmer temperatures by breeding in December, January, or February. And lizards that survive on those eggs might have to change their diet. But the study found that such adaptations typically occur about 10,000 to 100,000 times too slowly to keep pace with global warming projections for the year 2100. The researchers reached the same conclusion for the expected regional increases and decreases in rainfall: Again, the species adapted 10,000 to 100,000 times too slowly.

 

Adapting too slowly does not mean certain death. A species can relocate. But due to habitat destruction and other factors, not all species can move. If a rodent lives on a mountain and warmer temperatures compel the animal to climb higher, it may run out of mountain while temperatures keep rising.

 

Wiens was surprised by the results because they suggest that the studied species, which typically adapt to less than 1°C of change per million years, now must adapt to 4° between now and the year 2100. "It's almost crazy to think that they're going to, in just a few decades, be more different than they've become over millions of years," he says.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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CCJD's curator insight, March 10, 2015 7:07 PM

humans need to slow down climate change by finding an alternate fuel source to replace fossil fuels and find other solutions to reduce the pace of greenhouse gas emissions. if we do not, precious animal life could be lost in the future.

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Inside The Data-Driven System That Keeps The Netherlands Above Water

Inside The Data-Driven System That Keeps The Netherlands Above Water | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The white skeleton of the Maeslantkering, the massive floating water barrier protecting Rotterdam from high seas, dazzles in the sunshine. This engineering marvel is one of the largest moving structures in the world. Each arm is as large as the Eiffel Tower and weighs twice as much. If a storm surge above three meters is anticipated in the port of Rotterdam and its hinterland of 1.5 million people, the Maeslantkering automatically starts to close, flooding the two arms which move the barrier itself into place and dropping it into the waterway to form a watertight seal. The yearly test closing of the barrier, which seals the entrance to Europe’s busiest port, costs up to 30 million euros ($40 million).

 

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Physics and the birth of the emoticon

Physics and the birth of the emoticon | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The use of the smiley face may be frowned upon in professional communications, but it’s an essential part of the lexicon of the Internet. It didn’t take long after the invention of the message board for people to start using it. According to alumni of Carnegie Mellon University, it all began with a joke in a conversation about physics.

The use of the smiley face may be frowned upon in professional communications, but it’s an essential part of the lexicon of the Internet. It didn’t take long after the invention of the message board for people to start using it. According to alumni of Carnegie Mellon University, it all began with a joke in a conversation about physics. - See more at: http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/july-2013/physics-and-the-birth-of-the-emoticon#sthash.XvS1KrAW.dpuf
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foc.us Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Headset Helps Get Your Game On

foc.us Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Headset Helps Get Your Game On | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Video gaming is primarily a sport of the brain, so to exercise this "muscle" it you need specialty equipment. Electric neurostimulators have been used for years in therapy and as an adjunct to exercise, but now a new device lets you use transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to “increase the plasticity of your brain,” according to Focus Labs, the company that makes it. It’s mostly geared toward video gamers that want to improve their hand-eye coordination and get an edge on opponents, but if the system really does improve individual performance, perhaps one day we’ll see it used by clinical specialists like surgeons and trauma docs during procedures to improve focus and prevent mistakes. It’s controlled via Bluetooth through an iOS device like an iPad or iPhone, and you can set the strength of the current and duration for your particular needs. Now, no playing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at home, even if you can figure out how to hook up more power to the thing.

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Environmental structure and competitive scoring advantages in team competitions

In most professional sports, the structure of the environment is kept neutral so that scoring imbalances may be attributed to differences in team skill. It thus remains unknown what impact structural heterogeneities can have on scoring dynamics and producing competitive advantages. Applying a generative model of scoring dynamics to roughly 10 million team competitions drawn from an online game, we quantify the relationship between a competition's structure and its scoring dynamics. Despite wide structural variations, we find the same three-phase pattern in the tempo of events observed in many sports. Tempo and balance are highly predictable from a competition's structural features alone and teams exploit environmental heterogeneities for sustained competitive advantage. The most balanced competitions are associated with specific environmental heterogeneities, not from equally skilled teams. These results shed new light on the principles of balanced competition, and illustrate the potential of online game data for investigating social dynamics and competition.

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Spatial Structures of the Environment and of Dispersal Impact Species Distribution in Competitive Metacommunities

Spatial Structures of the Environment and of Dispersal Impact Species Distribution in Competitive Metacommunities | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The correspondence between species distribution and the environment depends on species’ ability to track favorable environmental conditions (via dispersal) and to maintain competitive hierarchy against the constant influx of migrants (mass effect) and demographic stochasticity (ecological drift). Here we report a simulation study of the influence of landscape structure on species distribution. We consider lottery competition for space in a spatially heterogeneous environment, where the landscape is represented as a network of localities connected by dispersal. We quantified the contribution of neutrality and species sorting to their spatial distribution. We found that neutrality increases and the strength of species-sorting decreases with the centrality of a community in the landscape when the average dispersal among communities is low, whereas the opposite was found at elevated dispersal. We also found that the strength of species-sorting increases with environmental heterogeneity. Our results illustrate that spatial structure of the environment and of dispersal must be taken into account for understanding species distribution. We stress the importance of spatial geographic structure on the relative importance of niche vs. neutral processes in controlling community dynamics.

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Information and Perception of Meaningful Patterns

Information and Perception of Meaningful Patterns | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The visual system needs to extract the most important elements of the external world from a large flux of information in a short time for survival purposes. It is widely believed that in performing this task, it operates a strong data reduction at an early stage, by creating a compact summary of relevant information that can be handled by further levels of processing. In this work we formulate a model of early vision based on a pattern-filtering architecture, partly inspired by high-speed digital data reduction in experimental high-energy physics (HEP). This allows a much stronger data reduction than models based just on redundancy reduction. We show that optimizing this model for best information preservation under tight constraints on computational resources yields surprisingly specific a-priori predictions for the shape of biologically plausible features, and for experimental observations on fast extraction of salient visual features by human observers. Interestingly, applying the same optimized model to HEP data acquisition systems based on pattern-filtering architectures leads to specific a-priori predictions for the relevant data patterns that these devices extract from their inputs. These results suggest that the limitedness of computing resources can play an important role in shaping the nature of perception, by determining what is perceived as “meaningful features” in the input data.

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Michael Rost's comment, August 19, 2013 10:03 AM
Listening is in part 'data reduction', taking an overly rich and complex input source and creating meaning from it...
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Do Bodily Expressions Compete with Facial Expressions? Time Course of Integration of Emotional Signals from the Face and the Body

Do Bodily Expressions Compete with Facial Expressions? Time Course of Integration of Emotional Signals from the Face and the Body | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The decoding of social signals from nonverbal cues plays a vital role in the social interactions of socially gregarious animals such as humans. Because nonverbal emotional signals from the face and body are normally seen together, it is important to investigate the mechanism underlying the integration of emotional signals from these two sources. We conducted a study in which the time course of the integration of facial and bodily expressions was examined via analysis of event-related potentials (ERPs) while the focus of attention was manipulated. Distinctive integrating features were found during multiple stages of processing. In the first stage, threatening information from the body was extracted automatically and rapidly, as evidenced by enhanced P1 amplitudes when the subjects viewed compound face-body images with fearful bodies compared with happy bodies. In the second stage, incongruency between emotional information from the face and the body was detected and captured by N2. Incongruent compound images elicited larger N2s than did congruent compound images. The focus of attention modulated the third stage of integration. When the subjects' attention was focused on the face, images with congruent emotional signals elicited larger P3s than did images with incongruent signals, suggesting more sustained attention and elaboration of congruent emotional information extracted from the face and body. On the other hand, when the subjects' attention was focused on the body, images with fearful bodies elicited larger P3s than did images with happy bodies, indicating more sustained attention and elaboration of threatening information from the body during evaluative processes.

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Has Large-Scale Named-Entity Network Analysis Been Resting on a Flawed Assumption?

Has Large-Scale Named-Entity Network Analysis Been Resting on a Flawed Assumption? | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The assumption that a name uniquely identifies an entity introduces two types of errors: splitting treats one entity as two or more (because of name variants); lumping treats multiple entities as if they were one (because of shared names). Here we investigate the extent to which splitting and lumping affect commonly-used measures of large-scale named-entity networks within two disambiguated bibliographic datasets: one for co-author names in biomedicine (PubMed, 2003–2007); the other for co-inventor names in U.S. patents (USPTO, 2003–2007). In both cases, we find that splitting has relatively little effect, whereas lumping has a dramatic effect on network measures. For example, in the biomedical co-authorship network, lumping (based on last name and both initials) drives several measures down: the global clustering coefficient by a factor of 4 (from 0.265 to 0.066); degree assortativity by a factor of ~13 (from 0.763 to 0.06); and average shortest path by a factor of 1.3 (from 5.9 to 4.5). These results can be explained in part by the fact that lumping artificially creates many intransitive relationships and high-degree vertices. This effect of lumping is much less dramatic but persists with measures that give less weight to high-degree vertices, such as the mean local clustering coefficient and log-based degree assortativity. Furthermore, the log-log distribution of collaborator counts follows a much straighter line (power law) with splitting and lumping errors than without, particularly at the low and the high counts. This suggests that part of the power law often observed for collaborator counts in science and technology reflects an artifact: name ambiguity.

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The Collaborative Image of The City: Mapping the Inequality of Urban Perception

The Collaborative Image of The City: Mapping the Inequality of Urban Perception | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A traveler visiting Rio, Manila or Caracas does not need a report to learn that these cities are unequal; she can see it directly from the taxicab window. This is because in most cities inequality is conspicuous, but also, because cities express different forms of inequality that are evident to casual observers. Cities are highly heterogeneous and often unequal with respect to the income of their residents, but also with respect to the cleanliness of their neighborhoods, the beauty of their architecture, and the liveliness of their streets, among many other evaluative dimensions. Until now, however, our ability to understand the effect of a city's built environment on social and economic outcomes has been limited by the lack of quantitative data on urban perception. Here, we build on the intuition that inequality is partly conspicuous to create quantitative measure of a city's contrasts. Using thousands of geo-tagged images, we measure the perception of safety, class and uniqueness; in the cities of Boston and New York in the United States, and Linz and Salzburg in Austria, finding that the range of perceptions elicited by the images of New York and Boston is larger than the range of perceptions elicited by images from Linz and Salzburg. We interpret this as evidence that the cityscapes of Boston and New York are more contrasting, or unequal, than those of Linz and Salzburg. Finally, we validate our measures by exploring the connection between them and homicides, finding a significant correlation between the perceptions of safety and class and the number of homicides in a NYC zip code, after controlling for the effects of income, population, area and age. Our results show that online images can be used to create reproducible quantitative measures of urban perception and characterize the inequality of different cities.

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Humans With Amplified Intelligence Could Be More Powerful Than AI

Humans With Amplified Intelligence Could Be More Powerful Than AI | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

With much of our attention focused the rise of advanced artificial intelligence, few consider the potential for radically amplified human intelligence (IA). It’s an open question as to which will come first, but a technologically boosted brain could be just as powerful — and just as dangerous – as AI.

 

As a species, we’ve been amplifying our brains for millennia. Or at least we’ve tried to. Looking to overcome our cognitive limitations, humans have employed everything from writing, language, and meditative techniques straight through to today’s nootropics. But none of these compare to what’s in store. Unlike efforts to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI), or even an artificial superintelligence (SAI), the human brain already presents us with a pre-existing intelligence to work with. Radically extending the abilities of a pre-existing human mind — whether it be through genetics, cybernetics or the integration of external devices — could result in something quite similar to how we envision advanced AI.

 

Looking to learn more about this, I contacted futurist Michael Anissimov, a blogger atAccelerating Future and a co-organizer of the Singularity Summit. He’s given this subject considerable thought — and warns that we need to be just as wary of IA as we are AI. The real objective of IA is to create super-Einsteins, persons qualitatively smarter than any human being that has ever lived. There will be a number of steps on the way there.

 

The first step will be to create a direct neural link to information. Think of it as a "telepathic Google." The next step will be to develop brain-computer interfaces that augment the visual cortex, the best-understood part of the brain. This would boost our spatial visualization and manipulation capabilities. Imagine being able to imagine a complex blueprint with high reliability and detail, or to learn new blueprints quickly. There will also be augmentations that focus on other portions of sensory cortex, like tactile cortex and auditory cortex. The third step involves the genuine augmentation of pre-frontal cortex. This is the Holy Grail of IA research — enhancing the way we combine perceptual data to form concepts. The end result would be cognitive super-McGyvers, people who perform apparently impossible intellectual feats. For instance, mind controlling other people, beating the stock market, or designing inventions that change the world almost overnight. This seems impossible to us now in the same way that all our modern scientific achievements would have seemed impossible to a stone age human — but the possibility is real.

 

For it to be otherwise would require that there is some mysterious metaphysical ceiling on qualitative intelligence that miraculously exists at just above the human level. Given that mankind was the first generally intelligent organism to evolve on this planet, that seems highly implausible. We shouldn't expect version one to be the final version, any more than we should have expected the Model T to be the fastest car ever built.

 

http://io9.com/humans-with-amplified-intelligence-could-be-more-powerf-509309984


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Dominic's curator insight, March 26, 2015 6:24 PM

Our brain is a powerful device that has much potential to undertake theories in which we thought was impossible, to reality. This article discovers the ways that we humans can release our cognitive limitations and use the power of the brain to explore innovations that we couldn't even dream of. This also explores how amplified human intelligence (IA) could become more advanced than Human Intelligence. 

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From Social Pathology to Social Emergence

From Social Pathology to Social Emergence | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Whenever there is disruptive change there is always two opposing forces. One side tries to hang on and control the way things have been and another side wants to break away from the inadequacies of the way things have been.

 

The Age of Disruption is upon us. As the 21st century unfolds there is a clear tension between those using the disruption around us to further old self-centered me agendas and those seeing disruption as the means to create new us agendas.  As illustrated in the diagram in this post, from the book Leading from the Emerging Future, today we are witnessing the interplay of two powerful social fields: presencing and absencing.

 

http://www.relationship-economy.com/2013/07/from-social-pathology-to-social-emergence/

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Push, PushGP, and Pushpop

PushGP is a genetic programming system that evolves programs in the Push programming language. PushGP has been used for a variety of applications, ranging from intelligent agent design to automatic quantum computer programming. Features include:

Multiple data types without constraints on code generation or manipulation.Arbitrary modularity without constraints on code generation or manipulation.Evolved module architecture with no extra machinery.Support for explicit, arbitrary recursion.Support for ontogenetic "development" of code as it runs, via code-manipulation instructions.Automatic program simplification (in some implementations).Support for the evolution of tag-based modularity (in some implementations)

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Turning visitors into sales: seduction vs. analytics

Turning visitors into sales: seduction vs. analytics | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The context here is about increasing conversion rate, from website visitor to active, converting user. Or from passive newsletter subscriber to a lead (a user who opens the newsletter, clicks on the links, and converts). Here we will discuss the newletter conversion problem, although it applies to many different settings.

Of course, to maximize the total number of leads (in any situation), you need to use both seduction and analytics:

 

sales = f(seduction, analytics, product, price, competition, reputation)

 

How to assess the weight attached to each factor in the above formula, is beyond the scope of this article. First, even measuring "seduction" or "analytics" is very difficult. But you could use a 0-10 scale, with seduction = 9 representing a company doing significant efforts to seduce prospects, and analytics = 0 representing a company totally ignoring analytics.

 

http://www.datasciencecentral.com/profiles/blogs/turning-visitors-into-leads-seduction-vs-analytics

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The Physics Of Usain Bolt's Record-Breaking Sprint

The Physics Of Usain Bolt's Record-Breaking Sprint | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In 2009, at the World Championships in Berlin, Usain Bolt beat his own previous world record by 0.11 seconds, running a 9.58-second 100-meter dash. The record is getting more and more difficult to break, as it's history shows (and as we may be nearing the limit of human speed), making each new record-breaking performance intriguing to physicists. A study, published today in the European Journal of Physics, examines the physics of Bolt's historic feat.

Stats:
Height: 6 ft 5 in.
Distance: 100m
Time: 9.58 seconds
Terminal Velocity: 12.2 m/s (27.3 mph)
Average Force: 815.8 newtons
Tailwind: 0.9 m/s (~2 mph)

Using approximate race-day conditions (temperature, altitude, Bolt's surface area) along with measurements from the race's laser velocity guard device (which measured Bolt's position and speed every 0.1 second), the researchers were able to calculate the immense amount of drag that Bolt overcame. Bolt used 81.58 kJ of energy during the race, but 92.21% of that energy was absorbed by the drag! Additionally, Bolt's maximum power output was 2619.5 watts after only 0.89 seconds of the race--more than enough energy to power a large vacuum cleaner (or the Pirate Bay).

 

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