The Brain and the Law: How Neuroscience Will Shift Blameworthiness

Insights from neuroscience are challenging long-held assumptions at the core of our criminal justice system. Are all brains really created equal? Is mass incarceration the most fruitful method of dealing with juveniles, the mentally ill, and the drug-addicted? Do emerging technologies such as real-time...

Zoobiquity: What Dolphin Diabetes Can Teach Us About Human Health

Dinosaurs suffered from brain cancer, arthritis, and gout. Koalas catch Chlamydia. Gorillas experience clinical depression. Stallions self-harm in a way that correlates to “cutting” for human patients. Animals and humans get the same diseases, yet physicians and veterinarians rarely talk. Drawing on...

Cultural Morphospace and Technological Evolution

This presentation employs morphospace analysis to explore the relationship between population size and technological complexity. A complex relationship is proposed, in which technology expands logistically in cultural morphospace but is dependent on a minimal population of human innovators.

Islands of Order

Not long ago, both ecology and social science were organized around ideas of stability. This view has changed in ecology, where nonlinear change is increasingly seen as normal, but not (yet) in social science. This talk focuses on three surprising discoveries about historical transitions in the islands...

The Minds of Children

Human children are dependent longer than the young of any other species. Scientists used to believe babies were irrational and their thinking limited. New research suggests that even the youngest infants have powerful learning abilities; that toddlers analyze statistics and do experiments; that preschoolers...

Why Children are Better (or at Least More Open-Minded) Learners than Adults Are

I argue for a theoretical link between the development of an extended period of immaturity in human evolution and the emergence of powerful and wide-ranging causal learning mechanisms, particularly the use of causal models and Bayesian learning. In fact, young children may actually be more wide-ranging...

Cultural Contingency and Gene - Culture Coevolution

Annual Science Board Symposium and Meeting New Perspectives in Evolution

The Dynamics of Genomic Sequence Evolution in 40 Adapting Budding Yeast Populations

Annual Science Board Symposium and Meeting New Perspectives in Evolution

On the Evolution of Sex and the Advantages of Recombination

Annual Science Board Symposium and Meeting New Perspectives in Evolution

Personal Genomics: Changing Lives and Transforming Research

Annual Science Board Symposium and Meeting New Perspectives in Evolution

Inferring the Past for Traits that Alter Speciation and Extinction

I will describe BiSSE, a likelihood-based approach to infer how speciation and extinction rates depend on the state of a particular character. The phylogenetic tree of a group of species contains information about character transitions and about diversification: higher speciation rates, for example,...

A Science of Cities

For the first time, it appears that there is enough momentum in the world to beginning to define "a science of cities" or perhaps "a science for cities." Our concern with cities over the last century has largely been based on defining obvious problems and attempting to solve them without much understanding...

Systematic Biological Modeling, Model Reduction, and Prospects for Complexity-Related Understanding

Experience in biological modeling at the cellular and developmental scales has led to a systematic approach to creating and exploiting these heterogeneous and complex models. A model specification phase uses quasi-equilibrium and/or steady-state statistical mechanics of molecular complexes such as those...

The Triple Revolution: Groups to Social Networks, Personalized Internet, Mobile Access

I discuss the structural changes that have facilitated the turn to social networks. I show how digital media — the internet and mobile devices — have been both responded to and amplified the social network revolution in how people connect in the community, the household and at work.

Information Spread in Structured Populations

Given a finite, genetically homogeneous population, suppose that a single mutant in introduced. What is the probability this mutant will become fixed in the population? In 1958 the Australian statistician Patrick Moran answered this question for birth-death processes in unstructured populations. Whether...

Structural Determinants of Scoring Dynamics and Outcomes in Team Competitions

The outcomes of many team-based competitions are determined by the steady accumulation of minor interactions over time. Yet we lack a general understanding of their fundamental dynamics and how those dynamics are shaped by a competition's structure. We introduce a novel generative model that can directly...

Information-Based Physics: An Intelligent Embedded Agent's Guide to the Universe

In this talk, I propose an approach to understanding the foundations of physics by considering the optimal inferences an intelligent agent can make about the universe in which he or she is embedded. Information acts to constrain an agent’s beliefs. However, at a fundamental level, any information is...

Graph Grammars and Directed Hypergraphs: Discrete Models of Chemistry

Labeled (multi)graphs have a long tradition as models of molecules as witnessed by the field of ``chemical graph theory''. Chemical reactions, in this setting, are naturally thought of as graph transformations, a notion that goes back to the work Dugundji and Ugi. In a more convenient framework chemical...

How Social Media Might Help You Survive the Next Big Disaster

Historically, when a wildfire, earthquake or hurricane strikes, people seek information from authorities. Today, however, with every disaster event, we learn of new and accelerated ways in which people not only seek information beyond official sources, but also how they produce and share it with neighbors,...

Efficient Coordination in Weakest Link Games

Coordination problems resembling weakest-link games are ubiquitous in the economy and society. Since they possess Pareto ranked equilibria it is important to understand if and when agents are able to coordinate on the efficient equilibrium. Existing research on weakest-link games shows an overwhelming...