February 2020 Update

Michael Edward Johnson ../people/michael-edward-johnson (Qualia Research Institute)https://www.qualiaresearchinstitute.org/
February 29, 2020

Lots to share since our last update. First, three big organizational notes:

Research-wise, on Thanksgiving we released our integrative theory of emotional updating, Neural Annealing (NA). As I wrote in the conclusion,

Neural Annealing is a neuroscience paradigm which aims to find the optimal tradeoff between elegance and detail. It does this by identifying a level of abstraction which supports parallel description under three core principles of self-organization: physical self-organization (around connectome resonances), computational self-organization (around minimization of surprise), and energetic self-organization (around conditional entropic disintegration).

There’s a lot more there, and in my admittedly biased view, I think NA is currently the neuroscience paradigm to beat for understanding the dynamics of meditation, psychedelics, musical experience, depression, trauma, and therapy.

Andrés has been continuing technical work on our CDNS algorithm for quantifying consonance, dissonance, and noise in neuroimaging data, which we think will help position us to be a central node for hedonic analysis of EEG & fMRI data. Andrés has also been putting together a formal model of the phenomenology of smell; I’ve seen the preliminary framework, and I think it’s both a powerful piece of original research and a pilot project for how to systematize any domain of qualia.

Romeo has been laying out his retranslation of Buddhist thought in (mis)Translating the Buddha; there’s a lot of gems there, with more on the way.

We’ve also been getting our volunteer network up and running, thanks in large part to our amazing volunteer coordinators, Anders and Maggie. If you reached out previously and didn’t get a response, feel free to contact us again at . Finally, QRI alumni Kenneth Shinozuka and Andrew Zuckerman have been developing parts of QRI’s memeplex:


(This presentation based on an essay published in the Berlin-based art magazine Art Against Art; see models 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6, 7 & 8.)

Core items on our near-term horizon:

Finally, Andrés has a [preliminary list of events and conferences he’ll be at over the next few months](https://qualiacomputing.com/2020/02/15/qualia-computing-at-tsc-2020-ips-2020-unscruz-2020-and-ephemerisle-2020/. If you’d like to chat with one of us in person, these will be good venues.

Thank you everyone on the team for all your hard work. I’m incredibly proud of what we accomplished in 2019, and 2020 looks even better.

Michael Edward Johnson, Executive Director



For attribution, please cite this work as

Johnson (2020, Feb. 29). February 2020 Update. Retrieved from https://www.qualiaresearchinstitute.org/blog/february-2020

BibTeX citation

  author = {Johnson, Michael Edward},
  title = {February 2020 Update},
  url = {https://www.qualiaresearchinstitute.org/blog/february-2020},
  year = {2020}