Apr 14, 2023

What are Cognitive Light Cones? (Michael Levin Interview)

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, robotics/AI

Michael Levin’s 2019 paper “The Computational Boundary of a Self” is discussed. The main topics of conversation include Scale-Free Cognition, Surprise & Stress, and the Morphogenetic Field. Michael Levin is a scientist at Tufts University; his lab studies anatomical and behavioral decision-making at multiple scales of biological, artificial, and hybrid systems. He works at the intersection of developmental biology, artificial life, bioengineering, synthetic morphology, and cognitive science.

🚩The Computational Boundary of a Self: Developmental Bioelectricity Drives Multicellularity and Scale-Free Cognition (can read in browser or download as pdf)

❶ Scale-Free Cognition.
3:05 Ultimate question of the embodied mind.
5:50 The most difficult interview to prepare for.
6:55 One of my favorite papers of all time (screenshare)
7:40 The Computational Boundary of a Self.
9:25 Defining intelligence (cybernetics)
10:30 Cognitive light cones.
16:50 All intelligence is collective intelligence.
17:35 Nested selves vs. one integrated self (Not Integrated Information Theory)
21:10 The same dynamics in the brain occur in every tissue of the body.
22:50 Why scale “free” cognition?

❷ Stress & Surprise.
27:22 Stress = Surprise?
30:30 Intelligence within a salamander example (homeostatic capability of collective intelligence)
33:35 The scale-free importance of stress.
37:30 Stress is an exported error signal.
40:45 Stress means your problem becomes everyone’s problem (cooperation without altruism)
42:25 Stress has no ownership metadata (gap junctions permit mind meld)

❸ The Morphogenetic Field.
49:00 About 99% of the Shannon information in a cell is in the membrane and transmembrane gradient (Bob Gatenby)
52:25 Shannon information doesn’t distinguish meaning… 55:53 Cancer cells have the wrong scope of “self” 1:01:17 Manipulating cells via retraining vs micromanaging 1:04:45 “Drugs and words have the same mechanisms of action”-Fabrizio Benedetti 1:07:10 Morphogenetic field of signals coordinating cell behavior, bioelectricity special layer (screenshare) 1:11:13 Harold Saxton Burr predicted this 100 years ago! 1:14:50 Connections to Zen Buddhism 1:18:18 Find more of Levin’s work 🚩Links to Levin 🚩 Technological Approach to Mind Everywhere: An Experimentally-Grounded Framework for Understanding Diverse Bodies and Minds (2022)… Buddhism, and AI: Care as the Driver of Intelligence (2022) Emergence of informative higher scales in biological systems: a computational toolkit for optimal prediction and control (2020)… 🚾 Works Cited Jeremy Quay (visual artist) at… There’s Plenty of Room Right Here: Biological Systems as Evolved, Overloaded, Multi-Scale Machines (Bongard & Levin 2023) Bob Gatenby talk on “Information Dynamics in Living Systems” • Bob Gatenby talk…

🚨 Note.
Apologies for the sound issues. I have tried to fix the radiator knocking, but it’s a building-wide problem, emanating from an old system. Also, this wasn’t one of my crisper performances. Ever have those days where you just can’t seem to find the right words in conversation? I thank Michael for his patience here, he was a most gracious guest.

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