(My apologies: My _bio_ is fairly up to date, but my publications site and vitae have not been kept properly up to date for quite a while. I will correct this as soon as I have time!)
Competition is an inescapable
occurrence in the animate and even in the inanimate universe. To give
our minds the flexibility to transfer and to operate in different
substrates bestows upon our species the most important competitive
I co-founded the non-profit organization Carboncopies.org and head the Rebrain part of the Avatar project. I am also a co-founder of the Neural Engineering Corporation of Massachusetts. Prior to this, I headed the analysis efforts of the ambitious Silicon Valley nanotechnology start-up Halcyon Molecular. Before that, I have been the director of the Department of Neuroengineering at Tecnalia, third largest private research organization in Europe, and was a research Prof. at the Center for Memory and Brain of Boston University. My research objective is whole brain emulation, creating the large-scale high-resolution representations and emulations of activity in neuronal circuitry that are needed in patient-specific neuroprostheses. The Department of Neuroengineering of the Fatronik-Tecnalia Foundation was focused on research in neuro-adaptive control, with robotics applications, and research in neural recording, interfaces and feedback.
At carboncopies (carboncopies.org), we support practical approaches toward what we descriptively term “advanced substrate-independent minds” (ASIM), i.e. transferring mind functions from the biological substrate to another substrate on which those functions can be performed. Carboncopies initially takes a technology agnostic stance. Carboncopies' main tasks are to clarify the fundamentals of ASIM and to maintain roadmapping activities towards the ASIM objective. Carboncopies organizes workshops and conferences where interested parties can exchange ideas, network with others, and keep updated on the latest developments in the field. We also gather up-to-date literature and news relevant to the ASIM community.
My professional background includes computational neuroscience, psychology, information theory, electrical engineering and physics. Presently:
I received my Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience at the Department of Psychology at McGill University, and my M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Information Theory at Delft University of Technology, after having studied Physics at the University of Amsterdam. I am a member of the Oxford working group that convened in 2007 to create a first roadmap toward whole brain emulation.
Department of Neuroengineering at the Fatronik-Tecnalia Foundation
Neural Engineering Corporation (Massachusetts, USA)
Laboratory of Computational Neurophysiology, Center for Memory and Brain, Boston University
InnerSpace Foundation (Boston, MA)
NETMORPH (see for example the animation below)
On a tangent, but aptly demonstrating a view very close to my own without more self-references, here is a link to the highly insightly film by James Martin that is very well worth watching: The Meaning of the 21st Century
I have had the opportunity to give several interesting and entertaining interviews recently. Here are a few that stand out in their attention to the topic matter:
Note: The first public conference, Advancing Substrate Independent Minds 2010 (ASIM-2010), of the carboncopies.org organization, was held as a mixed physical and virtual event on August 16-17 as a satellite to the Singularity Summit in San Francisco.
Note about this web site: If there is former content of my web site that you cannot locate or if you experience difficulty accessing linked materials, please send me email. This web site was reconstituted from my previous site on a server that has moved on to a different owner. In particular, some of the media files associated with publications listed on the publications page have not yet been uploaded to this new site.
Realism - I think that it takes a certain deeper insight, a departure from a deep blindness in fact, to realize that there is insufficient rational reason to be beholden to conventional norms of what one should strive for. The status quo is not inherently desirable, just because it is there. The things we are dreaming about are possibilities and options that we can just as well choose to strive for, because they are the sort of things that being in this universe allows. So, I think you need to become a realist and puncture the many layers of obfuscation and imaginary purposes in mainstream society before you can address our topics with clarity. (2010)
Pyramidal cell "grown" with NETMORPH (Koene et al., 2009).
Now for something completely different...
An observation, perhaps I will add more or blog them elsewhere.
Social anxiety is composed of a set of fears. Those are not fears of things that can directly cause actual harm, such as being demoted in your social standing, being physically harmed, etc. Instead, they are fears of emotional hurt based on emotional sensitivity. The fears in social anxiety include fear of rejection, fear of ridicule and fear of embarrassment.
This is not fear of failure. You don't fear failure, which is not an emotion. You conclude failure based on some criteria. But you can fear that if you fail you might be rejected, ridiculed or embarrassed, which are very unpleasant.
Interestingly, the best way to deal with rejection, ridicule and embarrassment is probably not to fear them. If you don't fear them then you can turn them around (perhaps the rejector becomes the outsider) or try again and again until you don't get the same result.
Not fearing rejection, ridicule or embarrassment is confidence. After all, when you confide in someone, you tell them something without fearing that you will be rejected, ridiculed or embarrassed. So, if you approach something confidently, you are not fearing rejection, ridicule or embarrassment.
Of course you don't want to banish fear entirely, especially fear of direct harm. There is a difference between confidence and foolhardiness.
These emotions (not about direct harm but social anxiety) take place within you - they are not something that someone else does to you. You do that to yourself.
Many things can be learned and unlearned. The first step in learning confidence and unlearning social anxiety is probably to pay attention and notice the many times when your decisions reflect not what you want or consideration for others, but instead a reaction to social anxiety.
When you notice that, ask yourself, aside from fear of rejection, ridicule or embarrassment, is there any other reason why that action could likely be a bad idea? If not, then you should probably do it!
If the experience turns out to be worthwhile then future confidence will be boosted and social anxiety decreased.
If you are a parent then you can use classical conditioning (reward, punishment) to help your kids along. Don't punish uninhibited activity unless you recognize a direct danger. Reward it.