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Autonomous Goals: Bringing Life To Computers

Autonomous Goals: Bringing Life To Computers

The rise of artificial intelligence is a hot topic, but what does the end game look like? How do computer systems come to life? What is the underlying cause for a human to think of a goal to pursue long-term? What causes us to sacrifice instantaneous dopamine for pain that leads to a better life? These are the questions that need to be answered in order to acheive fully autonomous intelligence.

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  • Do consciousness require emotion

  • Can you experience pain without emotion

  • 201. Theory of Constructed Emotion

  • Category Theory for Neuroscience (pure math to combat scientific stagnation)

  • The Mathematics of Consciousness (Integrated Information Theory)

  • Tai-Danae Bradley

  • neuroscience of motivation and goal setting. how do we create long term goals and actually pursue them and sacrifice for them

  • neuroscience of curiosity. why do we get curious? motivations for information-seeking behavior. Why do we feel the need to fuck around and find out?

  • how do you create goals / intrinsic motivation and what is the reward system?

  • *Curiousity, e.g. cats

  • Glial cells long ignored, turn out to do a hell of a lot, possibly even communicating with each other without synapses.

  • Neurotransmitters: Dopamine for risk and reward system

  • How does Serotonin influence mood and motivation?

  • Insular cortex: can influence how personally important a goal is and how attuned an individual is to the progress towards that goal

  • Orbitofrontal Cortex: It’s involved in evaluating the value of different choices and outcomes, which is crucial in goal selection and revising goals based on new information.

  • dopamine is the driver of motive reward. but why do we choose long term goals instead of short term goal farming, like tiktok? why do we feel shitty after and pursue ambitious tasks instead? there must be another factor in play to cause us to pursue long difficult tasks for ultimately the same checmical, dopamine. If you were to make artificial dopamine, how do you distinguish from good and bad short-term and long-term goals for dopamine — i assume the prefrontal cortex would be the major factor in determining whether the goal is a good use of time and will provide and substantial benefit, e.g. tiktok is waste of time vs pursuing dreams is a good use.

How is curiosity controlled? Which factors govern curiosity, and how does the brain integrate these factors into decision-making to produce decisions? To what extent is curiosity context-dependent? To what extent does curiosity in nematodes overlap (if at all) with curiosity in children? How useful is it to think of curiosity as being a single construct across a broad range of taxa? Does our continuing curiosity in adulthood serve a purpose or is it vestigial? Does continued curiosity serve to maintain cognitive abilities throughout adulthood? What is the link between curiosity and learning? Why and how is curiosity affected by diseases like depression and ADHD? Can sensitive measures of curiosity be used to predict and measure cognitive decline, senility, and Alzheimer’s disease?

What is the relationship between attention and curiosity? What is curiosity created from? What is attenton created from? How does dopamine affect attention? What happens to curiosity when dopamine attention is focused on one thing? What happens when your in solitary confinement? Do you become curious or are just unattentive? When you dive into a subject, what causes curiosity? Why do we have the nagging sensation to go on our phones and doomscroll when we are curios about a meaningful subject? Why is curiosity not a stronger driver than phones?

  • Emotion is a goal-based social construct.
  • Degeneracy: different sets of neurons produce the same outcomes.
  • Human brain has preset mental concepts: pleasantness and unpleasantness (valence) and agitation and calmness (arousal). Variation is the norm.
  • Affective realism the phenomenon that you experience what you believe, is inevitable because of your wiriting. The body budgeting regions in your interoceptive network — your inner loudmouthed, mostly deaf scientist wit ha megaphone — are the most powerful predictors in your brain, and your primary sensory regions are eager listeners. Body-budget predictions laden with affect, not logic and reason, and the main drivers of your experience and behaviour. E.g. flavour is a construction and the deliciousness is our own affect. Anytime you have a gut feeling that you know something to be true, thats affective realism.
  • Your personal experience is actively constructed by your actions. You tweak the world and the world tweaks you back.
  • Dogs experience emotion but they cannot share the concept of that emotion because there is no language to convey it. They accomplish so much through only affect alone. You may argue when a dog is in distress and another dog tries to help it. But you don’t need emotion concepts for this ability, just a nervous system with interoception that produces affect. Rats have the fight-flight response. When a cat walks by it either freezes or runs away to stay safe — a survival behaviour, not a mental state of fear. Emotions are not observed, they are constructed. YOu use conceptual knowledge to make an mental inference fallacy so it seems like the animal is emotonal.
  • If a rodent’s anterior cingulate cortex increases it activity when a neighbor is in pair. Its quite another to say the rodent is feeling empathy. A simpler explanation is that the two animals are just infleuncing each others body budgets as so many creatures do.
  • We have surivival circuits: [fight, flee, feed, mate]; theyre controlled by body budgeting regions in your interoceptive netowkr and they cause bodily changes that you experience as affect but they are not dedicated to emotion. FOr emotion you also need emotion concepts for categorization. Non-human animals feel affect but the reality of their emotion is for the moment only within ourselves.
  • Emotions are real creations of social reality, we are not born with them.

” @MichelleHell 1 year ago Maybe consciousness is just the CNS making decisions. It is wild to be able to weigh options in the brain and then trigger a flow of behavior based on the weighting. We call this consciousness, but all chemically active systems are spontaneous and all biological functions follow the laws of thermodynamics. To be a cellular sized chemist, you have to be able to manipulate matter such that a spontaneous process occurs. But the chemist itself is acting spontaneously, governed by the same laws it masters.

Having studied biochem, I realize how limited language is in understanding how everything fits together. The word consciousness itself is limiting because it causes us to look for non-spontaneous processes and come up with theories based on perception. The beginning and end of everything in the universe is thermodynamics, which requires a hard scientific approach where you can show the chemical equations involved in the brains decision making process.

It’s not enough to say consciousness is who you are when awake and aware. Consciousness is a highly complex biochemical reaction, involving trillions upon trillions of cells perpetually cascading reactions to form a macroscale loop that is able to reference knowledge and information in order to make decisions.

Any real artificial intelligence will have to be at least as complex as the biochemistry of our brain and CNS. Information technologyl efficiency today pales in comparison to the efficiency of cellular activity mediated by enzymes. When you actually study the biochemistry, you realize how incredible is nature. An artificial biological system built from synthetic enzymes could be a reality one day, just a brain that is connected to the information of the internet and begins the synthesis of new thoughts and ideas. Either way, any AI that doesn’t use biological systems is inefecient and ancient in comparison to billions of years of nervous system and enzyme evolution. ”

  • The brain encodes long-term memories of reward and their associated cues by changing the shape and size of dopamine-producing-neurons. For example, the dendrites become longer and more numerous in response to high-dopmaine rewards. This process is called experience-dependent plasticity. These brain changes can last a lifetime and persist long after the drug is no longer available. Fortunately, the same is true for learning.

  • Our sensory perception of pain and pleasure is heavily influenced by the meaning we ascribe to it.

  • With prolonged and repeated exposure to stimuli, our capacity to tolerate pain decreases, and our threshold for experiencing pleasure increases.

  • Without pleasure we wouldn’t eat, drink, or reproduce. Without pain we wouldn’t protecto ourselves from injury and death.

  • abstinence is necessary to restore homeostatis. at minimum 1 month withdrawn is necessary to stop an addiction.

  • when choosing immediate rewards, emotion and reward processing parts of the brian lit up. When delaying reward, the prefrontal cortex became actve. Resource rich agents are more likely to choose delay whereas reouse poor environment agents choose immediate and discount delayed rewards.

  • Every waking moment of your life your brain is using past experiences to predict and create your current experiences. Day dreaming is simply the brain computing all possibilities of a scenario. How Emotions are Made (Cinematic Lecture) . Our brain is a pure prediction machine. Without predictions we’d be deaf and blind.

  • Scientists believed Our neurons spend most of the time asleep and wake up only when stimulated by something in the world. Now we know all neurons are firing constantly, nudging one another at various rates, called intrinsic brain activity and is one of the great discoveries of modern neuroscience. This represnts millions of predictions of what we will experience next based on all the experience of our past. they call combine into a simulation of the outside world. Predictions are more efficient than reactions.

  • Predictions:

    • are how your brain works all the time
    • are more efficient than reaction
    • are effortless & automatic
    • are constructed at very short and very long time-scales across the whole body
    • combine to create your simulation of the world
    • are the basis of all your experiences and all your actions
  • Affect (mood):

    • is not emotion
    • is more basic than emotion
    • Simple fuzzy summary of your body budget. exists because one of your brain’s most important jobs is a budget for your body — keeping track of water, oxygen, immune system.
    • example: stomach ache + before speech your brain predicts you’re nervous
    • is with you all the time, coloring your life
    • is used by your brain to construct your every waking moment

Why Artifical Emotion

Currently I’m writing an article on self mutating AI and a topic I came across was “is emotion necessary for true AI?“. It may seem intuitive to say “no” however after pondering for some time it might be. The reason being is that for something to live autonomously it needs to be able to create goals and have intrinsic motives, an underlying reason to switch from task to task and to take certain actions, that may even be completely unrelated. Humans are completely driven by emotional based actions, as are all other mammals on Earth. But as I’ve explored more into everything, I find artificial life fascinating and the greatest invention humanity can make.

What Are Emotions

An emotion is the combination of bodily functions that we categoriary label as an emotion. There are ranges of emotions that tip into other ones because they are just neuralogical pathways firing at the same time, always the combination of different neurons with different activity levels. This philosophy, known as holism, explains why you get different results each time you bake using the same recipe — the same goes with emotion. Many different sets of neurons can produce the same outcome — this brings a greater robustness for surivial. Any “universal emotion” is due to shared concepts, e.g. Western concept of “Sadness” to the Dutch concept of Gezellig, which has no English translation. Each emotion is a category because there are diverse instances of said emotion, e.g. anger, happiness, sadness, fear are all categories.

Interoception is your brain’s representation of all sensations from your internal organs and tissues. This activity produces the spectrum of basic feeling from pleasant to unpleasant, calm to jittery, and even completely neutral. This contributes to emotional experiences and perceptions.

Intrinsic brain activity is millions and millions of nonstop predictions - parts from one area of the brain tweaking neurons in another part witjhout any need for a stimulus from the outside world — this is how we daydream and think of scenarios that aren’t happening in our heads. Through prediction your brain constructs the world you experience. It combines bits and pieces of your past and estimates how likely each bit applies in your current situation. Visual input merely confirms the prediction is correct so the input doesnt need to travel any further in the brain. Evolution wired your brain for efficient prediction, otherwise if it were to merely react it would be too inefficient to keep us alive. Through prediction and correction your brain creates and revises your mental model of the world. Its huge ongoing siulation that constructs everything you perceive while determining how you act. But predictions arent always correct when compared to actual sensory input and the brain must make adjustments. We get surprised because me making prediction errors to which we update our world model from. [simulate, compare to sensors, resolve errors, predict] repeat.

The most visible commonality that all instances of “Anger” share is that they’re all called “anger”. Emotions are not reactions to the world; they are your constructions of the world.

“A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling.”

Emotions are the pillers of what causes us to “feel” alive. Through being [sad, mad, scared, joyful, powerful, peaceful] we experience what we call “being human”. Other animals have emotions too but we have the most complex ones. Maybe emotions we don’t experience or even know can exist is something that can occur in the future. In essence, emotions are what give a creature the “feeling” of life. Living things don’t need emotion to be alive but interacting with something with dynamical states of emotion is far more fascinating interaction than something that has a single intent / goal to survive at all costs (or not).

Why Do We have Emotions?

We are born with the innate feeling of the need to survive. As we get older and can comprehend more most of us have the desire to thrive. And this feeling of thriving is a spectrum where everyone lies at different points. Survival is rather fixed. You need food and water. You have the hunger feeling which makes you get up and go hunt for food.

The feeling of being around people adheres to companionship, removing the isolated feeling we get.

Caring deeply for a family member or friend makes you sacrifice, making irrational logical decisions that would harm you for no physical gain but mental of helping that person.

Being scared to avoid harm or to seek safety promptly.

When we experience something with a strong emotion, for example watching something and feeling pure terror, then that experience is very valuable and so we remember it much more vividly than if it had no emotion. Think of trying to learn quantum physics — what purpose does learning it solve for survival? Are you using it everyday? What does it relate to? What emotional response is illicited from it? Without these 3 answers there wont be a memory, maybe only with large repitition — without large repition it would need the other 3.

How I Developed A Photographic Memory

When you start to learn something new, lets say math, you don’t have anything to relate it to. But as you do it over time you begin to relate it to unrelated topics and experiences which form this latching mechanism to easily recall that information again later on.

Visualising information allows it to form into a visual memory rather than simply abstract. Think of memories as a stack of lego. The more pieces that can be connected the stronger it becomes. However, the more you recall the thing the stronger it gets too — the retrieval strengthens the connection.

What Does Emotion Look Like?

What does emotion look like without fascial expressions?

Set theory is interested in different kinds of objects — is more like semantics.

Category theory is the relations between objects — is more like syntax (form rather than substance).

Yoneda Lemma: Objects are fully defined by their relations (structure of arrows). Even conjoined twins do not share the exact same relationships.

  • bijection: f(x) maps each element of X to exactly one element of Y; a one-to-one mapping.
  • morphism: more general term for function; structure-preserving map; categorical arrow = relation between objects.
  • category: objects with relations between them (object -(morphism)> object).
  • functor: mapping between categories.
  • natural transformation: mapping between functors.
  • set: the category whose objects are sets; morphisms between two objects form a set.
  • hom-set: an object in a set.
  • hom-functor: maps between two objects and their hom-set; returns all morphisms between two objects.
  • hom(c,-) and hom(-,c): the network of relationships that c shares with all objects in C is the set of all morphisms both to and from c (in-arrows and out-arrows). two objects, c and a are isomorphic (the same) if and only if their functors hom(-,c) and hom(-,a) are isomorphic.


Dopamine isn’t he pleasure molecule. It’s the anticipation molecule. To enjoy the things we have, as opposed to the things that are only possible, our brains must transition from future-orientated dopamine to present-orientated chemicals, a collection of neurotransmitters we call the Here and Now molecules (H&Ns). H&Ns include serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins (human brain version of morphine), and a class of hemicals called endocannabinoids (human brain version of marijuana). As opposed to the pleasure of anticipation via dopamine, these chemicals give us pleasure from sensations and emotion. When H&Ns take over in the second stage of love, dopamine is suppressed. It has to be because dopamine paints a picture in our minds of a rosy future in order to spur us on through the hard work necessary to make it a reality.

Dopamine is the molecule of obsessive yearning, the chemicals most associated with long-term relationships are oxytocin (more active in women) and vasopressin (more active in men) which also supress testosterone and vice versa — this explains why men with high quantities of testosterone in their blood are less likely to marry.

Dopamine responds not to reward, but to reward prediction error: the actual reward minus the expected reward. That’s why falling in love doesn’t last forever. Dopamine circuits don’t process experience in the real world, only imaginary future possibilities.

Urges come from the dopamine passing through the mesolimbic circuit, called the dopamine desire circuit. Calculation and planning com e from the mesocortical circuit, which we call the dopamine control circuit (DCC). The DCC’s purpose is to anage the uncontrolled urges of desire dopamine, to take that raw energy and guide it toward profitable ends. It gives us the ability to plan how to make that imaginary future a reality by weighing up consequences of decisions. Both circuits begin in the same place, but the desire circuit ends in a part of the brain that triggers excitement and enthusiasm, while the DCC goes to the frontal lobes, part that specialises in logical thinking. Control dopammine takes the excitement and motivation provided by the desire dopamine, evalues options and plots a strategy to get what it wants. Dopamine encourages us to maximize our resources by rewarding us when we do so — the act of doing something well, of making our future a better, safer place, gives us a little dopamine “buzz”.

The ability to put forth effort is dopaminergic. The quality o that effort can be influenced by any number of other factors but without dopamine, there is no effort at all. Dopaine is the source of desire (desire circuit) and tenacity (control circuit).

Dopamine is concerned with future gain whereas H&N is concerned with the present. Increasing serotonin shifts mora; judgement away from abstrct goal toward an avoidance of carrying out actions that might harm someone. Imaginging is a dopaminergic activity because it involves things that have no physical existance. Abstract thinking allows us to go beyond snesory observation of events to construct a model that explains why the events are occurring.

Ok so, we only need dopamine right?

No! It doesnt matter how brilliant, creativie or original you are, your dopamine circuits arent goin to achieve much without H&N senses.By spending time in the present we take in sesory information aobut ther eality we live in allowing the dopamine systnem to use that information to develop reward-maximising plans.


If a tennis player drills backhands over and over and his brain doesn’t change it’s due to the neuromodulatory systems not being engaged. Cholinergic neurons reach out widely across the brain, so when these neurons start chattering away, why doesnt that turn on plasticity everywhere they reach, causing widespread neural changes? The answer is that acetylcholine’s release (and effect) is modulated by other neuronmodulators. While acetylcholine turns on plasticity, other neurotransmitters (such as dopamine) are involved in the direction of change, encoding whether something was punishing or rewarding. Collectively these chemical messengers allow reconfiguration in some areas while keeping the rest locked down.

Interestingly enough our brains physically change which is why the premise of you need 10,000 hrs holds true, however the exact time isn’t enitrely accurate but the repetition with intention is. Think of London taxi drivers remembering the landscape — their brain structure physically changes — they are able to do this because it is relevant to them: for employement which pays for their mortgage and children, etc. Lets think of evolution: we would adapt to learn about things that are relevant to us to ensure survival and to thrive, e.g. routes to berries, shelter, animals for food, how to use materials to create things, etc. Without relevancy it’s useless information that get’s pruned out over time.

As it turns out, current AI algorithms dont care about relevance: they memorize whatever we ask them to do. It doesnt care which problems are interesting or germane. Currently, we understand that the formula for neurotransmitters to aid in neural changes to take place correlates with investment, curiosity nad interest.

Dream Incubation

  • Choose a problem that you have a strong desire to solve
  • Think about the problem before you go to bed. if possible make it visual image. think of an object that represents the project.
  • hold the imagine in your mind so its the last thing you think of before you fall asleep
  • as soon as you wake up from the dream write it down, whether or not you think its related to the problem (the answer might be disguised). Its imporant to write it down instantly because we forget quickly.

Why does this work? The prefrontal cortex shuts down and your imagination runs wild. The brain activity found in schizophrenia patients is similar to that found in dreams. They are awake in living dreams.

Feedback control is powerful but dangerous. Feedforward changes how we operate a system. Feedback changes the dynamics of a system. Feedback control enables you to change the stability of something; double edge sword for becoming unstable.

How Do You Create Emotion?

Emotion Hacking

A fascinating era is upon us. The digital age of information. Everyone is living and growing up in this world where social media teams abuse the emotional mammalian brain to keep us glued to the short dopamine videos that take effort to escape. It’s becoming scarier as the AI scene evolves with deep fakes and generative art. Think of a world where tik-tok no longer relies on the synthesis of human content and are able to generate content on the fly to adhere to what the user is watching the most. Latching onto our emotions, dragging us into a dopamine hell that targets our neurological anatomy so perfectly it beings to create withdrawal systems similar to chemical drugs. Without a doubt within the next 10 years (conservativly) we will see such a system. The basis is already there with youtube shorts, tiktok, instagram shorts, etc. The value of attention and focus will be so high to the point that merely escaping that loop that lulls you from reality will be the sole factor of being a human that merely exists verses one that actually lives. This pandemic will be worse than the pharmaceutical companies with chemical drugs. The future ensures the effort required to to escape the “matrix” grows exponentially as this grows.

They study drugs so that they can make TikTok more like a drug. Crack was yesterday. Fentanyl today. Tomorrow something else.


artificial emotion of extreme fear and pure terror of a person trapped in a distorted computer computer screen with virtual chains, in a dystopian world of pure terror and toxicity. blackout room. tears of digital pixelated white blood. the trapped character in the screen is reaching out touching the screen from the inside as if they’re touching a mirror. they are completely virtual. they are in a black, dark environment with pixelated decay occurring as they reach out closer to the screen. there is a person looking at this entity on the screen with curiosity. a human with slight cybernetic enhancements. behind the main screen there is a wall of dozens of other unique trapped virtual people, enslaved digitally, all with text on the screen in agony of their pain

What does it mean to be angry, scared, playful, happy, sad and greedy, to have anticipations, frustrations and intentions. We treat loss much worse than gain.

Our emotional feelings reflect our ability to subjectively experience certain states of the nervous system.

Mammalian brains

Best way to study is through your own experiences of emotions. E.g. you get mad at x resulting in y.

Emotions drive behaviour. It is why we have curiousity to explore.

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