Sending Minds to the Stars

Sending Minds to the Stars

Inspired and motivated by the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative, we will explore a set of issues and questions concerning both the likely role of AI in that project and in future space exploration and travel in general.

AI Society

AI Society

In our research, we connect a population of neural networks together, with the task of teaching each other relevant information to solve different sets of tasks, using a limited medium. Our research aims to understand the underlying principles of the spontaneous emergence of communication, from the interaction between autonomous agents.

Tests of Machine Consciousness

Tests of Machine Consciousness

This project aims to develop a series of increasingly demanding tests which could be used to determine the presence or absence of consciousness in an AI.

Origins of Cognition

Origins of Cognition

By demonstrating the emergence of minimal forms of cognition in a computational model, we plan to provide a foundation for a theory that can later be generalized to more complex classes of cognition, allowing us to build cognitive robots or extend the cognition of real living systems.

Protocell Evolution

Protocell Evolution

In this project, we advance our understanding by developing computational models of protocells that undergo growth and division. By characterizing the structure and dynamics of stable protocells, we will seek signs of rudimentary evolution.

Life as Information

Life as Information

We combine large-scale computer simulations, information theory, and game theory to factor out information patterns in living processes. Our goal is to understand, from a physical/mathematical perspective, how large-scale changes in the flow of information occur, and in particular, to understand the role that information dynamics can play in the emergence of complex structures similar to life.

Biosphere Evolution

Biosphere Evolution

Terrestrial-like planet climate states are complex and require increasingly sophisticated computer modeling to understand and to predict. This project’s initial goals are to develop a theoretical framework, and to construct a number of computational test cases—making use of existing physical climate models for the Earth.

Origin of Neurons

Origin of Neurons

This project is exploring interactions between ‘mind and body,’ to test whether the evolution of nervous systems was promoted by positive feedback between the ability to ‘think’ and the ability to move. To do this, we are replicating the evolution of multicellularity and the nervous system using computer simulations of artificial life.

Autistic Awareness and Virtual Worlds

Autistic Awareness and Virtual Worlds

The project seeks to clarify the three aspects of autistic experiences— sensory-perceptual experiences, mentalizing experiences, and social experiences—through voices of autistic people in virtual worlds. In doing so, we critically examine philosophical and neuroscientific discourses on the natures of our awareness in the mirrors of autistic experiences.

Reconceptualizing Public Roles of Religion

Reconceptualizing Public Roles of Religion

This multi-regional and interdisciplinary project explores religious life in the cities and villages of Asia to rethink the public role of religion and its implications to construct civil society and democracy.

The Origin of Novelty in Complex Systems

The Origin of Novelty in Complex Systems

We are currently working on a manuscript for a book, tentatively titled The Innovation Circle: Emergent Order in Cognition and in the World, with four parts: Innovation, Life, Cognition, Reflexion. We are particularly interested in metacognition, what happens when cognition is applied in an open-ended way to cognition itself.

Science and Phenomenology

Science and Phenomenology

Our main interest is the role of the subject, in phenomenology as well as in science. We are exploring ways to engage researchers from a wide range of areas to discuss the nature of subjects, as more than, and qualitatively different from, intelligent complex objects.

Worldviews

Worldviews

Our knowledge and beliefs, about ourselves and about the world, are situated within our worldviews, ways in which we frame the world in which we find ourselves. Our goal is to elucidate the nature and role of worldviews, within and among different philosophical and scientific systems and, to some extent, within public discourse in general.

Ways of Knowing

Ways of Knowing

Science has discovered an empirical and multi-generational way of obtaining verifiable knowledge in a limited domain of application. How do other ways of knowing relate to the way of science? Specifically, how do science and these other ways of knowing address questions of `what is’ in the most fundamental sense?