Learn to fear…

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Computers can master some tasks—like playing a game of Go—through trial and error. But what works for a game doesn’t work for risky real-world tasks like driving a car, where “losing” might involve a high-speed collision. To drive safely, humans have an exquisite feedback system: our fight-or-flight response, in which physiological reactions like a rapid heart rate and sweaty palms signal “fear,” and so keep us vigilant and, theoretically, out of trouble. Now, researchers at Microsoft are giving artificial intelligence (AI) programs a rough analog of anxiety to help them sense when they’re pushing their luck.

The scientists placed sensors on people’s fingers to record pulse amplitude while they were in a driving simulator, as a measure of arousal. An algorithm used those recordings—80 minutes divided among four people—to learn to predict an average person’s pulse amplitude at each moment on the course. It then used those “fear” signals as a guide while learning to drive through the virtual world: If a human would be scared here, it might muse, “I’m doing something wrong.” AIs using this method still had to crash to learn safe driving skills, but they required 25% fewer crashes to reach the same level of performance as a nonfearful AI, the researchers reported this week at the International Conference on Learning Representations here. (1)

Fear guides men. (And soon, computers too)

Fear creates paths.

Fear pushes one forward (or backwards)

So stubborn are we.

Full of fear. And yet, moving!

Believing that we achieve something.

That we overcome our self.

(Can you overcome your self?)

Refusing to acknowledge that what we fear is not moving.

But standing still…

Look. You are walking…

Reading emotions… Listen to the silence…

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Research shows for the first time that adults with autism can recognize complex emotions such as regret and relief in others as easily as those without the condition.

Psychologists at the University of Kent used eye-tracking technology to monitor participants as they read stories in which a character made a decision then experienced a positive or negative outcome. The lead author Professor Heather Ferguson, from the University’s School of Psychology, explained that the study highlights a previously overlooked strength in adults with ASD.

The researchers found that adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were quickly able to think about how things might have turned out differently (either better or worse than reality), then judge whether the story character would feel regret or relief (known as counterfactual emotions).

The adults with ASD were found to be just as good at recognizing regret emotions in the character as adults without the condition, and even better at computing relief. (1)

We believe that reading emotions is important. But there is nothing to read. Because everything lies within our self. Let go and become a hole for the cosmos to fill. And you will understand everything.

People with ASD do not try to understand, explain or respond as we do. They simply receive. And their inability to express what they know makes us believe that they know nothing, even though the truth is exactly the opposite.

It is the silence which holds the knowledge we try to find.

It is the absence of understanding which holds the wisdom we seek.

Listen to the ones who speak not.

And in their absence of words.

You will hear everything…

Touching.

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Every year, museums bear the cost of repairing the damage caused to their artworks by visitors touching them. Why would people want to touch objects they can clearly see? What is it that touch provides that vision does not?

Philosophers, starting with René Descartes, all noted that touch provided ‘a sense of reality’, and made us feel in contact with the external world. By contrast, psychologists have tended to assume that touch has no intrinsic superiority over the other senses.

Our tendency to ‘fact check’ by touch is common, but remains unexplained: from the biblical account of the doubting apostle Thomas, we now see a ‘Thomas effect’ in cell phones and other new technologies, where people still prefer to press buttons than simply select items on a screen, and in retail where stores let people touch products. In clinical studies, compulsive patients tend to check taps or locks by touch, even though they can see they are closed.

Now an interdisciplinary group of researchers based at LMU and the School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, published the first scientific evidence that when faced with ambiguous information we trust our fingertips more than our eyes. The report is available in Nature Scientific Reports. (1)

Thomas needed to touch in order to believe.

But blessed will be the ones who believe without touching.

Yes, you can touch that painting.

But it is more important to let that painting touch you…

See your father from a distance.

Touch his face.

He is crying…

Smile.

Trained to be altruistic?

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The decisions of individuals such as their willingness to cooperate and altruistic acts are just as important as international agreements or national regulations. This is what scientists call “prosocial behavior”.

Psychologists from the University of Würzburg and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have now published the results of a longitudinal study that investigated the influence of various mental trainings on prosocial behavior over several months.

The results: “We were able to demonstrate that human prosociality is malleable and that different aspects of prosociality can be improved systematically through different types of mental training,” Anne Böckler-Raettig explains; she is a junior professor at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Würzburg. According to her, this can be achieved through training that consists of short daily practices, which are easy to implement in everyday life. The scientists published the results of their study in the journal Scientific Reports of the Nature Publishing Group. (1)

Very nice. But once more, science is missing the point.

It does not matter what you show to the outside world.

But what you are in the inside.

The meaning of the cosmos lies not in what you do not control.

But in what you can control and alter based on your own free will.

If you are trained to be altruistic, then you are not altruistic. If you are brain-washed to be a bad person, then you are not a bad person. If you are trained to be a good person, you are not actually a nice person. At least not until you prove that you actually are.

It takes a lot of courage to be human.

And only we can decide if we are.

Roaming in the forest.

Listening to the birds.

Teach not the sparrow how to sing.

For if you do,

You will have left it mute…

Be (pessimistic) optimistic.

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Optimistic thinking is leading people to set up businesses that have no realistic prospect of financial success, shows new research which may help explain why only fifty per cent of businesses in the UK survive their first five years. (1)

All life ends up in death.

The most optimistic ones will experience the ultimate sorrow. And die.

Only the most pessimistic ones will live longer.

Only to see that they were never alive in the first place.

Be optimistic. For the Sun is dead.

And the brightest moon is lighting your path…

Down to the depths of the great sea.