Societies… Cooperation… A lone man in the forest…

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Researchers are exploring how cooperation arises in human societies, where people tend to cluster into various group types — political, religious, familial, professional, etc. Within such groups, people can cooperate or ‘defect’ and receive payoffs based on those exchanges. Cooperation, they observed, is most favored when allowing for the existence of ‘loners’ — people who are temporarily not members of any group.

Chu and Tarnita found that cooperation still emerges, but that it is most favored when they allow for the existence of “loners” in the population – people who, due to barriers, are temporarily not members of any group. Loners are essential, Chu explained, “because they keep group sizes lower than they would have been without barriers to group entry.”

Smaller groups allow cooperation to thrive, while making the system as a whole more resilient, by limiting the destructive influence of a defector exploiting a group of cooperators. Chu cautions against drawing too much from one model amid a sea of evolutionary game theory models. Nevertheless, their recent work shows, reassuringly, that there may be hope for maintaining cooperation in our world. (1)

Societies thrive.

But only because there are people outside of them.

It is those people who drive societies along the dark paths of history.

By holding the light on while others are too preoccupied gazing at it.

For the dark forest is far away.

We may fear it, but we want to go back in.

We left it a long time ago.

We gathered together because we felt lonely outside of it.

And we never stopped thinking about it.

So many people gathered together.

Secretly longing to be lost in the woods again.

That’s why society will always need those people.

Staying where we once were.

A constant reminder that societies exist for no other reason,

Than to remind us that there is no reason for them to exist…

Μπορείς να με καταλάβεις;

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As two people speak, their brains begin to work simultaneously, synchronizing and establishing a unique bond. This is what in neuroscience is called brain synchronization.

New research by the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) in San Sebastián and published in Cortex magazine confirms that this phenomenon depends on the language we use to communicate.

“When a conversation takes place in one’s native language, both interlocutors pay attention to it in a more global way, focusing on the sentences and the global content of the message,” stresses Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, co-author of the study. However, when done in a foreign language, attention resources focus primarily on other, more complex linguistic levels for non-native speakers, such as sounds and words.

“In the latter communicative context we need to reconfigure our attention strategies so that we can understand each other, and this may be directly related to the difference in the areas synchronised during the conversation,” suggests Duñabeitia. (1)

Language.

Portrayed as a facilitator of communication.

But it is actually a barrier we must overcome.

Only when this barrier is lifted can we actually speak to each other.

Because communication and understanding never stem from logos.

But Logos is the result of the understanding we already have.

Speak to me.

And I will understand you…

Only if I already do…

Note: “Μπορείς να με καταλάβεις;” = “Can you understand me?” in Greek…

Human enhancements. Society.

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Human enhancement technologies are opening up tremendous new possibilities. But they’re also raising important questions about what it means to be human. These technologies are currently geared towards upgrading or restoring physical and psychological abilities for medical purposes. An application is surfacing, however, that is designed with another goal in mind: embellishing performance. An international team of researchers has been examining the ethical issues arising from these experiments. (1)

Society is based on humans getting together.

But humans want to improve.

And, thus, they believe society will do too.

Society is based on humans and humans are based on society. But this was not always the case. Society is a very recent construct. We used to be alone. And only at some point did we start realizing the potential in cooperating with others. It seems like a noble cause. But it is not. Humans have always looked towards their personal interest. They wish they could cooperate with others to serve that interest, through society. They wish they could enhance themselves to serve that interest.

But there is another way of seeing things.

A Man tried to teach that way once.

But we killed Him. Because it is not easy to kill one’s self.

That there is no us. That there are no others. There can be a society based on these premises. But not a society with other people.

But a society with the only One who matters…

Forget about society.

Let go of you.

And you will see.

That we are already all together…

Language. Thought. Time. Dasein.

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The relationship between language and thought is controversial. One hypothesis is that language fosters habits of processing information that are retained even in non-linguistic domains.

Languages, for instance, vary in their branching direction. In typical right-branching (RB) languages, like Italian, the head of the sentence usually comes first, followed by a sequence of modifiers that provide additional information about the head (e.g. “the man who was sitting at the bus stop”). In contrast, in left-branching (LB) languages, like Japanese, modifiers generally precede heads (e.g. “who was sitting at the bus stop, the man”). In RB languages, speakers could process information incrementally, given that heads are presented first and modifiers rarely affect previous parsing decisions. In contrast, LB structures can be highly ambiguous until the end, because initial modifiers often acquire a clear meaning only after the head has been parsed. Therefore, LB speakers may need to retain initial modifiers in working memory until the head is encountered to comprehend the sentence.

Studies show that the link between language and thought might not be just confined to conceptual representations and semantic biases, but rather extend to syntax and its role in our way of processing sequential information or in the way the working memory of speakers of languages with mixed branching or free word order works. “[…] left-branching speakers were better at remembering initial stimuli across verbal and non-verbal working memory tasks, probably because real-time sentence comprehension heavily relies on retaining initial information in LB languages, but not in RB languages”, says Alejandro Sanchéz Amaro, from the Department of Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego. (1)

Thinking in a sequence based on your language.

Languages based on the way you think.

A cosmos structured in the way you see.

People seeing based on how their brain is structured.

In a universe where things can go either right or left, there is only one correct way to go… (Nowhere!) In a cosmos where thinking can be done in various ways, there is only one way to think… (Don’t think!)

Listen to the forest whispering in your ear…

Watch the dim light of existence cast shadows under the light…

Listen to the silence between the words…

There is a structure in the cosmos. And there is chaos in this structure. There is logos governing the universe. And inside logos, the deep darkness of stillness. Any structure imposes structures. Any way of thinking destroys other ways, equally possible and correct.

There is a unity in the clatter of phenomena.

You cannot see this unity from left and go right. Neither if you observe from right to left. You cannot know everything if you already know things. You cannot understand it all if you start by claiming that you understand something.

This unity you can only watch by watching everything.

And the only way to do that, is by watching nothing…

Is the man sitting at the bus?

Search inside…

What is a man?

And you will be astonished by the lack of any plausible answer…

AI. Games. Intelligence. Humans.

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Artificial Intelligence is constantly beating humans in more and more board games. Some years ago, the same team that created that Go-playing bot celebrated something more formidable: an artificial intelligence system that is capable of teaching itself—and winning at—three different games. The AI is one network, but works for multiple games; that generalizability makes it more impressive, as it might also be able to learn other similar games, too.

They call it AlphaZero, and it knows chess, shogi (Japanese chess), and Go. All of these games fall into the category of “full information” or “perfect information” contests – each player can see the entire board and has access to the same info (that is different from games like poker where you do not know what cards an opponent is holding). The network needs to be told the rules of the game first, and after that, it learns by playing games against itself.

The system “is not influenced by how humans traditionally play the game,” says Julian Schrittwieser, a software engineer at DeepMind, which created it.

Since AlphaZero is “more general” than the AI that won at Go, in the sense that it can play multiple games, “it hints that we have a good chance to extend this to even more real-world problems that we might want to tackle later,” Schrittwieser adds. (1)

See?

Even computers can learn.

As long as you teach them. (the rules)

That is how you learnt as well.

Alone.

Wandering in the dark abyss.

Walking in the dead of the night.

You knew the rules.

You just had to deduct the rest.

And you were so afraid.

Because the only rule was that there were no rules.

Because the only law was that you were the law.

Once upon a time, your father told you he loves you.

And that you were free to go.

You decided to leave.

Afraid of yourself.

And you are trying to find rules ever since…