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Aug 21, 2019 13 tweets 27 min read Read on X
"Life did not invent #DNA."

Experimental support for the #hotsprings hypothesis for life's origin: David Deamer of @ucsc on nucleic acid polymerization in the wet-dry cycling of Darwin's "warm little pond," powered by #geothermal. Lab results confirmed in #hydrothermal pools.
From "boring statistical partitioning" in the fission of early protocells to the complex #homeostasis-driven #mitosis of the cells we know - Doron Lancet of @WeizmannInstSci on the gradient between closure of #autocatalysis #networks to complex regulatory mechanisms of #biology.
"Life is an integrated nested network of dynamic #kinetic cycles."

Addy Pross emphasizes the importance of motion to the persistent forms of self-organizing #complexsystems at SFI today
The #adjacentpossible: new possibilities emergent at the boundaries of an evolving system, ratcheting its way into more #novelty. @stevenstrogatz joins us remotely to explain the #math of how "one new thing leads to another"

#zipfslaw #evolution #technology
Exploring the boundaries of the possible expands those boundaries.

Vittorio Loreto on Sannon #entropy, #surprise, #novelty, and the #adjacentpossible at SFI today.

#PKD @loretoff
"The landscape is not just a metaphor."

On cells as attractors within the phase space of all possible interactions within gene regulatory networks: Sui Hang of @isbsci speaking on #cell types as literal basins into which #biology settles...

#embryogenesis #CellBiology
"What I'm really interested in is whether we can statistically determine living chemistries from non-living chemistries."
- @Sara_Imari of @ASU

A: Yes. #Criticality distinguishes living #networks, due to the relationship between #logic & #connectivity...

#boolean #astrobiology
"If you think of as #Earth as a system exploring the #adjacentpossible, #Mars certainly isn't."

@Sara_Imari of @ASU on how to tell the difference between living & non-living planets, #biology from #randomness...

#scaling #criticality #astrobiology
"It's just #networks of switches. Why should that model #biology?"

Stefan Bornholdt of @UniBremen at SFI today on the #emergence of synchrony in autonomous #Boolean networks, with implications for #attractor #scaling (# of cell types as function of gene regulatory network size).
Stefan Thurner of @CSHVienna on the #combinatorial-#coevolutionary-#critical model of #evolution, which starts from amazingly simple premises to make meaningful predictions of major evolutionary transitions, economic phase shifts, bursts of product/species #diversity, and more...
"What is the greatest source of #uncertainty in #climate forecast models? Us. Humans."

Brian Beckage of @uvmvermont on designing a Climate Social Model that includes crucial behavioral dynamics in #forecasting #climatechange.

Key point: #behavior matters as much as #physics.
"Logical relations have physical consequences...but logical structures are not reducible to physical structures."

Philosopher of Science Michael Epperson (@calstate) on how Descartes gets in the way of understanding #quantumphysics, & how to grapple with #duality & #potential.
When it comes to living systems, #science ought to give up on the search for universal laws, says Maël Montévil at SFI today - the path-dependency and inability to prestate function means no entailment, *but enablement*, in #biology:

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More from @sfiscience

Mar 10, 2023
🧵 "The Smell of Inhibition. A Code in the Nose?"

ICYMI, this week's SFI Seminar by Fractal Faculty Stuart Firestein (@Columbia) on "what started out ass a very simple-seeming problem [re: #olfaction] and turned out to be very complicated":

"Everything we know about the world comes through these little holes in our head and the skin covering our body, processed through tissue specialized to interpret it."

"The thing to notice about [sight and hearing] is that they're [processing] fairly low-dimensional stimuli."
"Even a simple smell is composed of a VARIETY of molecules, and these are high-dimensional from a chemical point of view. And it's also a somewhat discontinuous stimulus. How do we get from this bunch of molecules to this unitary perception of something like a rose?"
Read 8 tweets
Mar 10, 2023
🧵 "#Possibility Architectures: Exploring Human #Communication with Generative #AI"

Today's SFI Seminar with ExFac Simon DeDeo @LaboratoryMinds (@CarnegieMellon), streaming now:
"A key feature of this is talk is that we make sense of what each other are saying IN PART by what they say, but ALSO by what we expect of them."
"Language transmits info against a background of expectations – syntactic, semantic, and this larger cultural spectrum. It's not just the choices of make but [how] we set ourselves up to make later choices."

@LaboratoryMinds re: work led by @clairebergey:
Read 15 tweets
Mar 9, 2023
"I think what really drives [the popularity of the #multiverse in #scifi] is regret... There's a line in @allatoncemovie where #MichelleYeoh is told she's the worst version of herself."

"I don't think we should resist melting brains. I think we should just bite the bullet."
"When you measure the spin of an electron, or the position...what happened to all of the other things you could have seen? Everett's idea is that they're all real. They all become real in that measurement."
- SFI Fractal Faculty @seanmcarroll at @guardian…
"At the level of the equations there is zero ambiguity, but the metaphors break down. The two universes it splits into aren't as big as the original universe. The thickness of the two new universes adds up to the thickness of the original universe."
Read 4 tweets
Dec 14, 2022
"Compositionality in Vector Space Models of Meaning"

Today's SFI Seminar by @marthaflinders, streaming:

Follow this 🧵 for highlights!
"Scientists gather here
Santa Fe Institute, oh so near
Inquiring minds seek truth"

#haiku about SFI c/o @marthaflinders & #ChatGPT

...but still, #AI fails at simple tasks:
"One way to represent the kind of #compositionality we want to do is with this kind of breakdown...eventually a kind of representation of a sentence. On the other hand, vector space models of #meaning or set-theoretical models put into a space have been very successful..."
Read 14 tweets
Dec 13, 2022
"Humans are prone to giving machines ambiguous or mistaken instructions, and we want them to do what we mean, not what we say. To solve this problem we must find ways to align AI with human preferences, goals & values."
- @MelMitchell1 at @QuantaMagazine:…
“All that is needed to assure catastrophe is a highly competent machine combined with humans who have an imperfect ability to specify human preferences completely and correctly.”

- Stuart Russell (@UCBerkeley) as quoted by @MelMitchell1 in her latest @QuantaMagazine article
"It’s a familiar trope in #ScienceFiction — humanity threatened by out-of-control machines who have misinterpreted human desires. Now a not-insubstantial segment of the #AI research community is concerned about this kind of scenario playing out in real life."
- @MelMitchell1
Read 6 tweets
Dec 12, 2022
"Training Machines to Learn the Way Humans Do: an Alternative to #Backpropagation"

Today's SFI Seminar by Sanjukta Krishnagopal
(@UCBerkeley & @UCLA)

Starting now — follow this 🧵 for highlights:
"When we learn something new, we look for relationships with things we know already."

"I don't just forget Calculus because I learned something else."

"We automatically know what a 'cat-dog' would look like, if it were to exist."

"We learn by training on very few examples." Image
1, 2) "[#MachineLearning] is fundamentally different from the way humans learn things."

3) Re: #FeedForward #NeuralNetworks

"You choose some loss function...maybe I'm learning the wrong weights. So I define some goal and then I want to learn these weights, these thetas." ImageImageImage
Read 13 tweets

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