Mateusz Bagiński

Wiki Contributions


Standardized communication protocols

Language is the most obvious example, but there's plenty of others. E.g. taking different parts of the body as subsystems communicating with each other, one neurotransmitter/hormone often has very similar effects in many parts of the body.

In software, different processes can communicate with each other by passing messages having some well-defined format. When you're sending an API request, you usually have a good idea of what shape the response is going to take and if the request fails, it should fail in a predictable way that can be harmlessly handled. This makes making reliable software easier.

Some cases of standardization are spontaneous/bottom-up, whereas others are engineered top-down. Human language is both. Languages with greater number of users seem to evolve simpler, more standardized grammars, e.g. compare Russian to Czech or English to Icelandic (though syncretism and promiscuous borrowing may also have had an impact in the second case). I don't know if something like that occurs at all in programming languages but one factor that makes it much less likely is the need to maintain backward-compatibility, which is important for programing languages but much weaker for human languages.

Human speech and bird song are both cases of vocal learning. They are (at least) largely learned, more complex and require more precision control, whereas mouse vocalizations are mostly hardwired

Is it actually true that speech is by far the most fast & complicated & intricate & precise motor control task that a human routinely does? I mean, I think so? But I’m not sure how to prove or quantify that

Hmm, I think it is but anecdotally speaking it seems to me that you can be quite clumsy, have bad coordination etc bad no speech impairment

That's also what this meta-analysis found but I was mostly wondering about social cognition deficits (though looking back I see it's not clear in the original shortform)

Huh, you're right. I thought most fruits have enough to cover daily requirements.

Avoiding wireheading doesn't seem like failed inner alignment - avoiding wireheading now can allow you to get even more pleasure in the future because wireheading makes you vulnerable/less powerful.

Even if this is the case, this is not why (most) humans don't want to wirehead, in the same way that their objection to killing an innocent person whose organs could save 10 other people are not driven by some elaborate utilitarian arguments that this would be bad for the society.

Does severe vitamin C deficiency (i.e. scurvy) lead to oxytocin depletion?

According to Wikipedia

The activity of the PAM enzyme [necessary for releasing oxytocin fromthe neuron] system is dependent upon vitamin C (ascorbate), which is a necessary vitamin cofactor.

I.e. if you don't have enough vitamin C, your neurons can't release oxytocin. Common sensically, this should lead to some psychological/neurological problems, maybe with empathy/bonding/social cognition?

Quick googling "scurvy mental problems" or "vitamin C deficiency mental symptoms" doesn't return much on that. This meta-analysis finds some association of sub-scurvy vitamin C deficiency with depression, mood problems, worse cognitive functioning and some other psychiatric conditions but no mention of what I'd suspect from lack of oxytocin. Possibly oxytocin is produced in low enough levels that this doesn't really matter because you need very little vit C? But on the other hand (Wikipedia again)

By chance, sodium ascorbate by itself was found to stimulate the production of oxytocin from ovarian tissue over a range of concentrations in a dose-dependent manner.

So either this (i.e. disturbed social cognition) is not how we should expect oxytocin deficiencies to manifest or vitamin C deficiency manifests in so many ways in the brain that you don't even bother with "they have worse theory of mind than when they ate one apple a day".

Has anybody converted into ebook format or is working on it?

I'm not sure if that's what you mean that genes and agency are both perfectly valid abstractions IMO. An abstraction can summarize the state of a small part of the system (e.g. genes), not necessarily the entire system (e.g. temperature).

Hm, I had a vague memory that contrast detection relies on something like lateral inhibition but when I thought about it a bit more it doesn't really make sense and I guess I conflated it with edge detection in the retina.

Regarding cerebellum in hearing voices: If I understand your model correctly, it goes something like this. Region S (sender) "generates voices" and region R (receiver) "hears voices" generated by S. R expects to receive those signals from S (or maybe even just expects to receive these kinds of signals in general, without specifying where they come from). R gets surprised when it receives unexpected signals and interprets them as "not mine". R would expect to receive them, if it first got a message "hey, S is soon going to send some voice-signals to you". Isn't this exactly the role of the cerebellum, to learn that, e.g. if S activates in this particular way (about to "generate voices"), then R will soon activate in the other way ("hears voices") and therefore it would make sense to preempt R, so that it can expect to get that particular signal from S and act accordingly even before receiving that signal?

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