[One] region of the brain that is masculinized during development is the amygdala, which in addition to its roles in the processing of emotions is a key region regulating social play behavior by juveniles, sometimes called rough-and-tumble play, which differs markedly in males and females across a wide range of species. The dimorphism in the frequency and intensity of play is particularly interesting in that it is expressed during a time of life when there are minimal to no circulating steroids, and thus any differences in males and females are either genetic or the result of earlier organizational effects of steroids on the brain. __ http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/44096/title/Sex-Differences-in-the-Brain/
The brain of billionaire Paul Allen has empowered him to amass about $18 billion in wealth, and has motivated him to found the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Allen wants to understand the human brain well enough to build one.
The first project is to build an artificial brain from scratch that can pass a high school science test. It sounds simple enough, but trying to teach a machine not only to respond but also to reason is one of the hardest software-engineering endeavors attempted — far more complex than building his former company’s breakthrough Windows operating system, said to have 50 million lines of code.
The second project aims to understand intelligence by coming at it from the opposite direction — by starting with nature and deconstructing and analyzing the pieces. It’s an attempt to reverse-engineer the human brain by slicing it up — literally — modeling it and running simulations.
The two projects are being led by different scientists: AI researcher Oren Etzioni leads the brain-building team, and Christof Koch leads the brain deconstruction team.
Playing the two research teams against each other is reminiscent of how large software and engineering companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Apple run competing teams in internal competition.
Whoever achieves a constructable human-level intelligent mind first, will have a grand head start on competing corporations.
Google, which acquired AI company DeepMind in 2014 for an estimated $400 million, has been secretive about its plans in the field, but the company has said its goal is to “solve intelligence.” One of its first real-world applications could be to help self-driving cars become better aware of their environments. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says his social network, which has opened three different AI labs, plans to build machines “that are better than humans at our primary senses: vision, listening, etc.”
… Allen’s vision is creating an AI machine that would be like a smart assistant, rather than an independent being, “answering questions and clarifying things for you and so forth.” But he admits he has wondered whether it will one day be possible for that assistant or its descendants to evolve into something more.
… The European Commission’s Human Brain Project, which began in 2013 with about $61 million in initial funding, aims to create an artificial model of the human brain within a decade. President Obama announced the United States’ own BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) effort in 2014 to great fanfare, comparing it to the Human Genome Project that led to the current genetic revolution. BRAIN was launched with initial funding of $110 million.
Intelligent brains that never sleep, never tire, never get bored, never get inebriated or intoxicated, brains that keep on working and solving problems — such brains provide not just a corporate advantage, but a national advantage to any nation that can keep the secrets of building and operating such brains to itself.
There are many subtle aspects to human brains, minds, and consciousness which artificial intelligence researchers cannot hope to understand or incorporate into their machine models. They are hoping that they will never have to do so. Interesting things such as the differences in the ways that male and female brains work, for example:
… there is now increasing evidence that differences in brain function are prevalent across the sex divide, and that these differences manifest in surprising ways in animal models of both health and disease. (See “Gender bias in neuropsychiatric disorders.”) Many sex differences in adult brain structure and behaviors are the result of in utero organizational effects of gonadal steroid hormones, in particular androgens and their aromatized derivatives, estrogens, both of which are present in substantially higher concentrations in male fetuses due to testicular steroidogenesis. Brain differences between the sexes can also arise from diverse factors, including the expression of genes carried on the sex chromosomes and discrepancies in maternal treatment of male and female progeny. Together, these factors mediate differences in neurogenesis, myelination, synaptic pruning, dendritic branching, axonal growth, apoptosis, and other neuronal parameters.
… By default, the gonadal precursor will differentiate into an ovary; formation of a testis requires a transcription factor coded for by the Sry gene on the Y chromosome. Likewise, the brain will develop as a female brain by default and be directed towards masculinization only if exposed to the steroids produced by the testis.
… Developmental masculinization of the brain leads to significant structural differences in the brains of the two sexes. (See illustration.) Some brain regions are larger in males; others are smaller. Collections of cells that constitute nuclei or subnuclei of the brain differ in overall size due to differences in cell number and/or density, as well as in the number of neurons expressing a particular neurotransmitter. The length and branching patterns of dendrites and the frequency of synapses also vary between males and females—in specific ways in specific regions—as does the number of axons that form projections between nuclei and across the cerebral hemispheres. Even nonneuronal cells are masculinized. Astrocytes in parts of the male brain are more “bushy,” with longer and more frequent processes than those in the same regions of the female brain. And microglia, modified macrophages that serve as the brain’s innate immune system, are more activated in parts of the male brain and contribute to the changes seen in the neurons.
Sex differences in human brains are numerous, sometimes subtle and sometimes not. We have barely begun to discover a few of them.
It is politically correct to claim that male and female brains are essentially interchangeable, so that any difference in achievement between men and women must be due to prejudice or preferential treatment. But if male and female brains are different, it would be natural for real life achievement between the sexes to be different, statistically.
The same principle might well apply to differences in brain development and achievement between racial and ethnic groups.
Why is violent crime so common among black Africans and blacks who have immigrated to other regions? The phenomenon is so consistent that it points squarely at genes and gene expression affecting the brain.
In the beginning was the gene . . .
Human IQ, brain size, brain connections, executive function, and the size of particular brain folds and nuclei, are closely linked to the person’s genes. While the individual’s environment clearly affects gene expression, if the proper genes are not there to build an intelligent, patient, goal-oriented, impulse-controlled brain, the environment cannot fully compensate for the lack.
A careful study of the genetics of violence reveals some important statistical differences between the brains of violent offenders, and the brains of those who are typically non-violent.
Crime statistics themselves point out significant differences which suggest an underlying genetic component. But the direct study of genes and gene expression is necessary to understand the differences between male and female, and brain differences within and between different population groups.
The Brain is not Static
The brain is constantly undergoing changes in structure and function, as a result of ongoing experiences, and as a consequence of the overall state and condition of the rest of the body. Consider what sleep deprivation does to the brain:
… wakefulness alters the brain, including reduced diffusion with increasing time awake, and altered functional connectivity after sleep deprivation. How this plasticity reflects the consequences of waking on the brain, however, isn’t clear. Sleep is known to be essential to tissue repair and is particularly important for promoting lipid integrity to maintain healthy cell membranes and myelination. The question remains, therefore, how detrimental the structural reorganization from sleep deprivation really is. Does the plasticity reported here and elsewhere persist for days, weeks or longer, or can a long night of deep catch-up sleep reverse any detriment that all-nighter caused?
Similar structural and functional changes have been seen with alcohol intoxication, tobacco abuse, aggressive behaviour, and more. Lifestyle and habitual behaviours clearly affect gene expression in the brain. But the exact form in which brain structure and function are changed depends upon the underlying genome and the particular mechanisms of genetic and epigenetic expression of the particular brain in question.
All of this is meant to provide hints to the subtle and dynamic differences in brain structure and function — not only between male and female, or between different population groups, but between the same brain at different times.
We know that human genius is not the same thing as extremely high IQ. Something more is needed to provide the impetus to create an entirely new area of thought and study.
Human population trends are set in an unfortunate direction — the direction of a global average decline in human population IQ — a dysgenic direction.
The populations of Europe and East Asia that have produced most of human advancement and invention, are beginning to age and lose reproductive potential — in comparison to the populations of Africa and elsewhere that add virtually nothing to a more prosperous and expansive human future, which are undergoing a veritable population explosion.
All of this is to say that if humans are ever to understand the brain and human intelligence well enough to duplicate human level intelligence in machines or artificially grown biological mechanisms, they had best hurry. Average human IQ is in decline, and the slope of the decline is likely to increase. The type of human brains capable of understanding consciousness and intelligence is in decline, and the type of human brain prone to violence and brutish behaviours is on the ascent.
Much of this potentially catastrophic dysgenic process is due to extremely bad governance on the part of the more advanced nations. The decline of Europe, for example, was made particularly egregious by the policies of 19th and 20th century Germany, Russia, and France. It is too late to erase those idiocies, born of human ambition and envy. (More: Putin flirts w/ WWIII while Merkel and Hollande celebrate the coming dysgenic immigrant Idiocracy)
But it is not too late to eradicate dangerous immigration policies of Europe and the Anglosphere, nor is it too late to get much tougher on criminal immigrants who are flooding into the more advanced and less violent (until now) nations.
Nor is it too late to radically alter the nature of modern universities away from modern and extravagant palaces of indoctrination, to more basic institutions capable of challenging and more broadly educating young minds that are naturally prejudiced and opinionated by instinct, upbringing, and cultural socialisation.
Foreign aide to more primitive nations should be cut back, in order to allow nations of low average population IQ to find their own levels and build their own appropriate types of sustainable societies and population levels.
More advanced nations need to focus their efforts on building a more expansive and prosperous human future for their own people, overall. Instead, their policies are creating a dysgenic Idiocracy where all boats sink in an ebbing tide.
At a certain point of knowledge and human competence, it will be possible to “uplift” naturally reduced populations of lower average IQ and naturally lower fertility to levels of higher competence, executive function, and aptitude. But we should not rush to kill the possible future in a vain attempt to prematurely uplift burgeoning populations of low IQ and high violence peoples, before we have secured our own futures.
We know that Obama, Hollande, and other elected leaders of Europe and the Anglosphere are idiots of a particular kind. We know that Putin and leaders of the despotic world are idiots of another kind. Humans could do without such idiots if they would only focus more on the building of broad human competence, practical skills, executive function, and creative intelligence.
Such has always been the objective of the Al Fin Institute for the Dangerous Child. But to this point, we have not seen a lot of competition from other groups and institutions.
The most probable sketch of the future we are likely to face, is one of a patchwork of general poverty, violence, anarchy, and tyranny, dotted by islands of greater competence and prosperity. Some of these islands of competence and prosperity will have much higher average population IQs. Others will have effective high-IQ market dominant minorities which will provide sufficient motive power to lift populations of average and near-average IQ in a stable and sustainable manner.
Until humans learn to build sustainable and defensible colonies off-planet, or in particularly defensible positions on-planet, the human future will be somewhat vulnerable in light of the ongoing dysgenic Idiocracy.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.
Universities, news and entertainment media, particular government agencies, and other cultural and societal institutions are creating the greatest obstacles to a prosperous and expansive human future. New approaches to governance, and virtually all other modern institutions will need to be devised — carefully and methodically.