The Global Mind, Collective Intelligence, Agency, and Morpho

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techstepgenr8tion
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10 Nov 2022, 9:49 pm

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The Global Mind, Collective Intelligence, Agency, and Morphogenesis - Michael Levin Λ Joscha Bach

Don't know if anyone else watches Curt Jaimungal's 'Theories of Everything' channel, if not he does these really cool positive-sum, not really debates but cross-disciplinary discussions and explorations of ideas. Sometimes it'll be physicists, sometimes, neurologists, other times philosophers of science, other times consciousness researchers.

In this discussion you have Joscha Bach who's an outside-the-box computer sciences guy who pays a lot of attention to biology, philosophy, and how these things inform what he works with (he also has a lot of interest in the consciousness problem, where he'd separate intelligence and consciousness, etc.). Michael Levin and Karl Friston both have been doing a lot of really interesting systems studies of biology, while Friston is a neuroscientist Levin is a professor and experimenter in biology and in particular he's gotten to be particularly well known for his finding that cell differentiation and formation of bodies involves, even more than genetic code, communication across ion channels that ends up becoming something like a software layer on top of everything else that's running the processes and monitoring in a self-conscious way, and to this extent to add an extra eye on a frog, rearrange it's features, make two-headed flatworms instead of one-headed, all you have to do is interfere with certain currents of this communication. He's also taken cells off of frog embryos and observed what they do to survive, and from this came his xeno-bots (biological but AI-assisted in their formation). A lot of really neat parsing of just how many layers of data processing there is in the body, not just in in utero but all through life.

Anyway enough said, here's the discussion:


_________________
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.” - James Baldwin


techstepgenr8tion
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10 Nov 2022, 11:07 pm

Timestamps of the discussion:

00:00:00 Introduction
00:01:55 Bach and Levin speak about each other's work
00:03:34 The cell functions as a neuron
00:07:15 Software as a control pattern
00:10:55 Disciplinary boundaries in academia
00:14:38 The perceptron is a "toy model" of the brain
00:18:44 How do you identify yourself as a researcher?
00:20:10 The benefits of podcasts vs. academia
00:30:04 Beliefs of Bach's and Levin's that have drastically changed
00:38:54 Memory moves outside the brain structure
00:45:06 Engrams and memory storage
00:47:30 The implications of transferring memory between species
00:55:25 Weissman's barrier
00:59:25 The notion of "competence" (Bach's and Levin's largest insight)
01:12:10 Virtualization for unreliable hardware
01:16:02 Defining "competence"
01:22:35 Bach's issues with goals (for and against teleology)
01:27:34 Planarian goals and explicitly encoded instructions
01:34:55 Navigation in "Morphic Space"
01:36:11 One species' birth defect can be another's benefit
01:37:42 The "Intelligence Trap" and bias
01:39:05 Application of each others' work to their own
01:52:25 Necessities of general intelligence in cells


_________________
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.” - James Baldwin