Science and Research

Human EEG Responses to a Conditioned Stimulus Reward Delay

Human Rat Study

We studied in humans reports that visual information from a rat's eyes is modified by past experience before it is processed by the lowest levels of the rat's visual cortex.
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Work with Terrence Deacon, Professor of Biological Anthropology, UC Berkeley

Since 2012, I've worked with Terrence Deacon and his colleagues on the question of how living semiotic agents, such as ourselves, emerged from non-living physics.  I've aided our group by distilling complex ideas into single page sketches and graphics, examples below.  This has clarified concepts and their inter-relations and contributed to both publications and simulations.
(click to enlarge images below)

Work and Entropy    TeleoDynamic Work    TeleoDynamic Simulation


Papers available upon request.


From Constraint to Regulation at the Origin of Life
Terrence W. Deacon, Alok Srivastava, J. Augustus Bacigalupi
Frontiers of Bioscience, in press

The origin of living dynamics required an evasion of second law degradation effects by maintaining critical dynamical and structural constraints, by synthesizing new components for replacement and reproduction, and regulating these interactions with respect to critical intrinsic needs and extrinsic conditions. Model systems for life’s origin that focus on molecular replication (e.g RNA-world), or co-production of components (e.g. autopoiesis), or physical containment of molecular interactions (e.g. protocells) fail to distinguish between constrained chemistry and regulated metabolism. For this reason they do not address the question of how living processes first emerge from simpler constraints on molecular interactions. We begin with a simple molecular model system consisting of coupled reciprocal catalysis and self-assembly in which one of the catalytic bi-products tends to spontaneously self-assemble into a containing shell (analogous to a viral capsule). We term this dynamical relationship autogenesis because it is self-reconstituting in response to degradation. Self-reconstitution (and reproduction) is made possible by the fact that each of these linked self-organizing processes generates boundary constraints that promote the perdurance of their combination by limiting each other. This synergy thereby becomes embodied as a persistent rate-independent constraint on dynamical constraint generation. It is proposed that this synergy of dynamical/structural constraint-generation is necessary and sufficient to constitute regulation as opposed to mere constraint. Two minor elaborations of this simple model system demonstrate that this simplest form of regulation can be the foundation for the evolution of two higher-order forms: cybernetic and template-based regulation. We offer this thought experiment as a plausibility proof that regulatory relationships can spontaneously emerge from physicochemical constraints. 


Refinement: A Rigorous Description of Autonomous Adaptive Agents
J. Augustus Bacigalupi
Kybernetes, View in Browser (download PDF below)

Structured Abstract:
Purpose - Develop a theoretical framework to empirically test for cognitive behaviour in autonomous adaptive agents.

Design/methodology/approach -This project proposes a theoretical framework, or design parameters, inspired by empirically observed phenomena, cognitive behaviours, and thermodynamics.  Success of the framework is measured by its capacity to implement, not just a model of select attributes of cognition, but to implement the foundational physical nature of cognition of which all observed behaviours are based.[4][7]

Findings - A rigorous mathematical framework, employing only information theory and conventional physics, is hypothesized to empirically measure for cognitive behaviours.

Research limitations/implications - Empirical studies will be conducted on synthetic agents using the theoretical framework described herein to demonstrate whether or not cognitive behaviours have been achieved.

Practical implications - This paper proposes an alternative form of information processing inspired by evolved organisms, distinct from Turing equivalent machines, able to augment existing human and digital systems.

Social implications - This paper offers a novel and rigorous foundation for the intuition that the vitality of all living systems at all scales are dependent on each other.

Originality/value - See 'implications' above.

Joshua Augustus Bacigalupi,
Dec 24, 2017, 9:59 AM
Joshua Augustus Bacigalupi,
Feb 7, 2014, 11:59 PM