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Social Foraging
Dynamics of Social Interaction
Curated by Ashish Umre
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Darwinian Conservatism by Larry Arnhart: Does Strong Reciprocity Support a Darwinian Left?

Darwinian Conservatism by Larry Arnhart: Does Strong Reciprocity Support a Darwinian Left? | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The Left has traditionally assumed that human nature is so malleable, so perfectible, that it can be shaped in almost any direction. By contrast, a Darwinian science of human nature supports traditionalist conservatives and classical liberals in their realist view of human imperfectibility, and in their commitment to ordered liberty as rooted in natural desires, cultural traditions, and prudential judgments.

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Scientists developing device to 'hack' into brain of Stephen Hawking

Scientists developing device to 'hack' into brain of Stephen Hawking | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Stephen Hawking is testing out a groundbreaking device to allow him to communicate through brain waves in a project that scientists have likened to 'hacking into his brain.'

 

Hawking, 70, has been working with scientists at Standford University who are developing a the iBrain - a tool which picks up brain waves and communicates them via a computer.

 

The scientist, who has motor neurone disease and lost the power of speech nearly 30 years ago, currently uses a computer to communicate but is losing the ability as the condition worsens.

 

But he has been working with Philip Low, a professor at Stanford and inventor of the iBrain, a brain scanner that measures electrical activity.

 

"We'd like to find a way to bypass his body, pretty much hack his brain," said Prof Low.

Researchers will unveil their latest results at a conference in Cambridge next month, and may demonstrate the technology on Hawking.

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Why We Lie, Go to Prison and Eat Cake: 10 Questions With Dan Ariely

Why We Lie, Go to Prison and Eat Cake: 10 Questions With Dan Ariely | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A professor of behavioral economics and psychology at Duke University, Ariely is the author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions, and The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic, both New York Times bestsellers. Ariely’s new book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, explores some of the surprising reasons we lie to each other, and ourselves. Raised in Israel, Ariely holds Ph.D.s in both business administration and psychology. Wired senior editor Joanna Pearlstein spoke with Ariely as part of the Live Talks Business Forums series at the City Club of Los Angeles.

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'A Perfect and Beautiful Machine': What Darwin's Theory of Evolution Reveals About Artificial Intelligence

'A Perfect and Beautiful Machine': What Darwin's Theory of Evolution Reveals About Artificial Intelligence | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Some of the greatest, most revolutionary advances in science have been given their initial expression in attractively modest terms, with no fanfare.

 

Charles Darwin managed to compress his entire theory into a single summary paragraph that a layperson can readily follow.

Francis Crick and James Watson closed their epoch-making paper on the structure of DNA with a single deliciously diffident sentence. ("It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairings we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the replicating unit of life.")

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Lego Turing Machine Is Simple, Yet Sublime

Lego Turing Machine Is Simple, Yet Sublime | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Two researchers in the Netherlands helmed the construction of a Lego Turing machine, a quirky manifestation of the classic computer science concept first devised by Alan Turing in 1936.

 

The device, built by Jereon van den Bos and Davy Landman using a single Lego Mindstorms NXT set, is one of the most impressive — and simple — attempts we’ve seen at building a physical Turing machine.

 

“Alan Turing’s original model has an infinite tape,” write the researchers, “but Lego had a slight problem supplying infinite bricks. So we chose to fix our tape size to 32 positions.”

 

The Turing machine was a purely theoretical concept. Several attempts at crafting Lego Turing machines have been made in the past, with varying levels of success. And a fanciful mechanical Turing machine built by Jim MacArthur was unveiled in 2011 at Maker Faire UK.

 

Turing would have turned 100 years old this Saturday. Events are being organized worldwide this year to commemorate the centennial of the computer scientist’s birth.

The Lego Turing machine is currently on display as part of a Turing exhibition at the Centrum Wiskunde and Informatica in the Netherlands.

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The False Allure Of Group Selection

The False Allure Of Group Selection | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Human beings live in groups, are affected by the fortunes of their groups, and sometimes make sacrifices that benefit their groups. Does this mean that the human brain has been shaped by natural selection to promote the welfare of the group in competition with other groups, even when it damages the welfare of the person and his or her kin? If so, does the theory of natural selection have to be revamped to designate "groups" as units of selection, analogous to the role played in the theory by genes?

 

Several scientists whom I greatly respect have said so in prominent places. And they have gone on to use the theory of group selection to make eye-opening claims about the human condition.[i] They have claimed that human morailty, particularly our willingness to engage in acts of altruism, can be explained as an adaptation to group-against-group competition. As E. O. Wilson explains, "In a group, selfish individuals beat altruistic individuals. But, groups of altruistic individuals beat groups of selfish individuals." They have proposed that group selection can explain the mystery of religion, because a shared belief in supernatural beings can foster group cohesion. They suggest that evolution has equipped humans to solve tragedies of the commons (also known as collective action dilemmas and public goods games), in which actions that benefit the individual may harm the community; familiar examples include overfishing, highway congestion, tax evasion, and carbon emissions. And they have drawn normative moral and political conclusions from these scientific beliefs, such as that we should recognize the wisdom behind conservative values, like religiosity, patriotism, and puritanism, and that we should valorize a communitarian loyalty and sacrifice for the good of the group over an every-man-for-himself individualism.

 

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Two Algorithms for Sorting On Heterogeneous Clusters

In the past few years, performance improvements in CPUs and memory technologies have outpaced those of storage systems. When extrapolated to the exascale, this trend places strict limits on the amount of data that can be written to disk for full analysis, resulting in an increased reliance on characterizing in-memory data. Many of these characterizations are simple, but require sorted data. This paper explores variations on two classic algorithms for distributed sorting-radix and sample sort – under two novel constraints imposed by the projected requirements of an exascale machine, heterogeneity and limited external storage. The two approaches are evaluated on the GPU-based NSF Keeneland system, including an analysis of data movement and the effects of GPUs on performance and scalability. Results from Keeneland indicate a substantial performance advantage for sample-based approaches on some data distributions, but this advantage comes at the cost of randomized behavior and load imbalance.

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The highly productive habits of Alan Turing

The highly productive habits of Alan Turing | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

June 23 marks the 100th birthday of Alan Turing. If I had to name five people whose personal efforts led to the defeat of Nazi Germany, the English mathematician would surely be on my list. Turing's genius played a key role in helping the Allies win the Battle of the Atlantic—a naval blockade against the Third Reich that depended for success on the cracking and re-cracking of Germany's Enigma cipher. That single espionage victory gave the United States control of the Atlantic shipping lanes, eventually setting the stage for the 1944 invasion of Normandy.

 

But even before this history-changing achievement, Turing laid the groundwork for the world we live in today by positing a "universal computing machine" in 1936. "It is possible to invent a single machine which can be used to compute any computable sequence," he contended. His proposed device could read, write, remember, and erase symbols. It would produce the same results "independent of whether the instructions are executed by tennis balls or electrons," the historian George Dyson notes, "and whether the memory is stored in semiconductors or on paper tape."

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Brain control helps fight depression

Brain control helps fight depression | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The technique, known as neurofeedback, involves patients going into an MRI scanner where their brain activity is continuously measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and fed back to them. The same research group has already applied this technique to Parkinson’s disease.

In the present study, published in the journal PLoS One, eight patients with depression were shown positive, negative, and neutral pictures to help identify areas in their brain that were engaged in the processing of positive emotions.

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Mexican jumping beans may influence robot design (w/ Video)

Mexican jumping beans may influence robot design (w/ Video) | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Most animals move around by using their appendages, such as legs, wings, or fins. But a few exceptional creatures employ rolling as a mode of locomotion. Included in this group are rolling salamanders, spiders, caterpillars, and Mexican jumping beans. In a new study, researchers have investigated the seemingly random motion of Mexican jumping beans, which are not actually beans but hollow seeds containing moth larva, and found that their motion is not entirely random. The researchers developed an algorithm of the beans’ behavior, which they then used to program rolling robots to move in a controlled direction.

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The wrong and right way to learn a foreign language

Linguist Stephen Krashen takes issue with the notion that people who want to learn a foreign language need to go through a grammar and vocabulary boot camp.
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Alan Turing: why the tech world's hero should be a household name

Alan Turing: why the tech world's hero should be a household name | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The life and achievements of Alan Turing - the mathematician, codebreaker, computer pioneer, artificial intelligence theoretician, and gay/cultural icon - are being celebrated to mark what would have been his 100th birthday on 23 June.

 

To mark the occasion the BBC has commissioned a series of essays to run across the week, starting with this overview of Turing's legacy by Vint Cerf.

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Computer AI makes sense of psychedelic trips

Computer AI makes sense of psychedelic trips | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Artificial intelligence could help us better understand the effects of psychedelic drugs, by analysing narrative reports written by people who are using them.

 

Scientists barely understand how existing psychedelic drugs work to alter perception and intensify emotions, let alone keep pace with new ones flooding the market – often sold as "bath salts" or "herbal incense".

Enter artificial intelligence. Matthew Baggott of the University of Chicago and colleagues used machine-learning algorithms – a type of artificial intelligence that can learn about a given subject by analysing massive amounts of data – to examine 1000 reports uploaded to the website Erowid by people who had taken mind-altering drugs.

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Liquid Robotics launches swarm of ocean-patrolling robots

Liquid Robotics launches swarm of ocean-patrolling robots | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Joe Rizzi first heard the underwater songs of humpback whales a decade ago while scuba diving near Hawaii. Enthralled, he decided to pipe their migration music into his beachfront home.Here's the difference between Joe Rizzi and your average souvenir seeker: He's a rich venture capitalist. Rizzi's quest to capture the whalesong started with a glass pickle jar, a hydrophone and a kayak. It ends with Liquid Robotics, a Sunnyvale, Calif., company with $22 million from investors, 80 employees and customers like BP Oil and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

 

Liquid Robotics operates a fleet of wave-propelled, solar-powered ocean robots. Designed to capture Rizzi's elusive music, they have the potential to do much more: predict tsunamis, track fish, snuff out offshore oil leaks and patrol waters for national security threats. They use no fuel, produce no emissions and can travel up to 2,000 miles using wave power alone.

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The ‘Big Mistake’ and ‘Grand Deception’ Hypotheses: Alternatives to CMLS?

If CMLS (cultural multilevel selection) doesn’t help to explain human social evolution, how did human ultrasociality (ability to cooperate in huge groups of unrelated individuals) evolve? Steven Pinker falls back on the ‘usual suspects,’ kin selection and reciprocal altruism: “The huge literature on the evolution of cooperation in humans has done quite well by applying the two gene-level explanations for altruism from evolutionary biology, nepotism and reciprocity, each with a few twists entailed by the complexity of human cognition. … A vast amount of human altruism can be explained in this way.”

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How would Alan Turing develop biology?

How would Alan Turing develop biology? | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Alan Turing was a pioneer of computing, cryptography, artificial intelligence, and biology. His pursuit of the latter was cut short. What was his contribution to biology and where would he have taken the field with more time?

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NICT Daedalus: 3D Real-Time Cyber-Attack Alert Visualization

NICT Daedalus: 3D Real-Time Cyber-Attack Alert Visualization | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

3D real-time graphics, rapidly moving particles and dangerous cyber attacks: it is all there.The visualization system is called the "NICT Daedalus Cyber-attack alert system", where Daedalus stands for "Direct Alert Environment for Darknet and Livenet Unified Security." The system is specifically developed to observe large groups of computers for any suspicious activity, as it visualizes any suspected activity as it moves through the network.

 

According to the explanation in the video, watchable below, the sphere in the center represents the Internet, and the circles moving around it represent networks under current observation. The circles are actually also doughnut pie charts, of which the blue part corresponds with IP addresses that are used, and the black part are not used. Different character indicate alerts, which can be clicked to receive a more detailed description.

 

A similar system in use today is called Nicter ("Network Incident Analysis Center for Tactical Emergency Response"), which is specialized for the early detection and in-depth analysis of cyber-attacks.

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Listen to Music That Evolved From Random Noise

Listen to Music That Evolved From Random Noise | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Music, you might think, is an innately human pursuit; something which can only truly be written by us, the most intelligent of creatures. But a team of researchers has demonstratedthat, actually, it's possible for digital music to evolve by itself, without any creative input from a composer.Armand Leroi, professor of evolutionary developmental biology at Imperial College London, explains the thinking behind the work to the BBC:

 

"We don't often think of music as evolving, but everybody knows it has a history and it has traditions. But if you think about it, it really has evolved, it is changing continuously. We believe music evolves by a fundamentally Darwinian process - so we wanted to test that idea."

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An Improved CUDA-Based Implementation of Differential Evolution on GPU

Modern GPUs enable widely affordable personal computers to carry out massively parallel computation tasks. NVIDIA’s CUDA technology provides a wieldy parallel computing platform. Many state-of-the-art algorithms arising from different fields have been redesigned based on CUDA to achieve computational speedup. Differential evolution (DE), as a very promising evolutionary algorithm, is highly suitable for parallelization owing to its dataparallel algorithmic structure. However, most existing CUDAbased DE implementations suffer from excessive low-throughput memory access and less efficient device utilization. This work presents an improved CUDA-based DE to optimize memory and device utilization: several logically-related kernels are combined into one composite kernel to reduce global memory access; kernel execution configuration parameters are automatically determined to maximize device occupancy; streams are employed to enable concurrent kernel execution to maximize device utilization. Experimental results on several numerical problems demonstrate superior computational time efficiency of the proposed method over two recent CUDA-based DE and the sequential DE across varying problem dimensions and algorithmic population sizes.

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The associative structure of language: Contextual diversity in early word learning

Previous studies demonstrated that statistical properties of adult generated free associates predict the order of early noun learning. We investigate an explanation for this phenomenon that we call the associative structure of language: early word learning may be driven in part by contextual diversity in the learning environment, with contextual diversity in caregiver speech correlating with the cue–target structure in adult free association norms. To test this, we examined the co-occurrence of words in caregiver speech from the CHILDES database and found that a word’s contextual diversity—the number of unique word types a word co-occurs with in caregiver speech—predicted the order of early word learning and was highly correlated with the number of unique associative cues for a given target word in adult free association norms. The associative structure of language was further supported by an analysis of the longitudinal development of early semantic networks (from 16 to 30 months) using contextual co-occurrence. This analysis supported two growth processes: The lure of the associates, in which the earliest learned words have more connections with known words, and preferential acquisition, in which the earliest learned words are the most contextually diverse in the learning environment. We further discuss the impact of word class (nouns, verbs, etc.) on these results.

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Direct reciprocity in structured populations

Reciprocity and repeated games have been at the center of attention when studying the evolution of human cooperation. Direct reciprocity is considered to be a powerful mechanism for the evolution of cooperation, and it is generally assumed that it can lead to high levels of cooperation. Here we explore an open-ended, infinite strategy space, where every strategy that can be encoded by a finite state automaton is a possible mutant. Surprisingly, we find that direct reciprocity alone does not lead to high levels of cooperation. Instead we observe perpetual oscillations between cooperation and defection, with defection being substantially more frequent than cooperation. The reason for this is that “indirect invasions” remove equilibrium strategies: every strategy has neutral mutants, which in turn can be invaded by other strategies.

 

However, reciprocity is not the only way to promote cooperation. Another mechanism for the evolution of cooperation, which has received as much attention, is assortment because of population structure. Here we develop a theory that allows us to study the synergistic interaction between direct reciprocity and assortment. This framework is particularly well suited for understanding human interactions, which are typically repeated and occur in relatively fluid but not unstructured populations. We show that if repeated games are combined with only a small amount of assortment, then natural selection favors the behavior typically observed among humans: high levels of cooperation implemented using conditional strategies.

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Can Big Data Analytics Solve “Too Big to Fail” Banking Complexity?

Can Big Data Analytics Solve “Too Big to Fail” Banking Complexity? | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Despite investing millions upon millions of dollars in information technology systems, analytical modeling and PhD talent sourced from the best universities, global banks still have difficulty understanding their own business operations and investment risks, much less complex financial markets. Can “Big Data” technologies such as MapReduce/Hadoop, or even more mature technologies like BI/Data Warehousing help banks make better sense of their own complex internal systems and processes, much less tangled and interdependent global financial markets?

 

British physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, in 2000 said; “I think the next century will be the century of complexity.” He wasn’t kidding.

 

While Hawking was surely speaking of science and technology, it’s of little doubt he’d also look at global financial markets and financial players (hedge funds, banks, institutional and individual investors and more) as a very complex system.

With hundreds of millions of hidden connections and interdependencies, hundreds of thousands of various hard-to-understand financial products, and millions if not billions of “actors” each with their own agenda, global financial markets are the perfect example of extreme complexity. In fact, the global financial system is so complex that even attempts to analytically model and predict markets may have worked for a point in time, but ultimately failed to help companies manage their investment risks.

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'Hallucinating' robots arrange objects for human use

'Hallucinating' robots arrange objects for human use | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

If you hire a robot to help you move into your new apartment, you won't have to send out for pizza. But you will have to give the robot a system for figuring out where things go. The best approach, according to Cornell researchers, is to ask "How will humans use this?"

 

Researchers in the Personal Robotics Lab of Ashutosh Saxena, assistant professor of computer science, have already taught robots to identify common objects, pick them up and place them stably in appropriate locations. Now they've added the human element by teaching robots to "hallucinate" where and how humans might stand, sit or work in a room, and place objects in their usual relationship to those imaginary people.

 

Their work will be reported at the International Symposium on Experimental Robotics, June 21 in Quebec, and the International Conference of Machine Learning, June 29 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Freud's theory of unconscious conflict linked to anxiety symptoms

Freud's theory of unconscious conflict linked to anxiety symptoms | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A link between unconscious conflicts and conscious anxiety disorder symptoms have been shown, lending empirical support to psychoanalysis.

 

An experiment that Sigmund Freud could never have imagined 100 years ago may help lend scientific support for one of his key theories, and help connect it with current neuroscience.

 

June 16 at the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association, a University of Michigan professor who has spent decades applying scientific methods to the study of psychoanalysis will present new data supporting a causal link between the psychoanalytic concept known as unconscious conflict, and the conscious symptoms experienced by people with anxiety disorders such as phobias.

 

Howard Shevrin, Ph.D., emeritus professor of psychology in the U-M Medical School's Department of Psychiatry, will present data from experiments performed in U-M's Ormond and Hazel Hunt Laboratory.

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Firefly light powers nanorods that glow

Firefly light powers nanorods that glow | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Nanorods created with firefly enzymes glow in a test tube. "The nanorods are made of the same materials used in computer chips, solar panels and LED lights,” says chemist Mathew Maye. “It’s conceivable that someday firefly-coated nanorods could be inserted into LED-type lights that you don’t have to plug in."

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