“Must we make sense to ourselves?” by Simon DeDeo

Past Event

17 November 2014, 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Future of Humanity Institute
Suite 1, Littlegate House, 16/17 St Ebbe’s Street, Oxford, OX1 1PT

This seminar is hosted by the Future of Humanity Institute, an Oxford Martin School Institute

Speaker: Simon DeDeo Assistant Professor in Complex Systems, faculty in Cognitive Science, Indiana University

Summary: Social systems are characterised by greater or lesser degrees of self-awareness, differing in both quantity and quality, and ranging from the purely inferential to the representational, normative, and what scholars have termed the "transcendental" modes. In the modern era, unreflective reliance on machine learning may drastically increase inferential self-awareness at the social level, crowding out other modes that may be slower but whose initial emergence was associated with major increases in human flourishing and social resilience. We review recent quantitative results into self-awareness in animal and human societies, and examine the extent to which exponential increases in inferential self-awareness, unmatched by corresponding growth in other modes, may endanger social complexity.

About the speaker

Simon DeDeo is an assistant professor in Complex Systems, faculty in Cognitive Science, at Indiana University, and is an external professor of the Santa Fe Institute. His Social Minds lab conducts research in Cognitive Science, Social Behavior, History, Economics and Linguistics; recent collaborative work includes studies of institution formation in online social worlds, the emergence of hierarchy in animal conflict, competitive pricing of retail gasoline, and parliamentary speech during the French revolution. http://homes.soic.indiana.edu/sdedeo/