Archive for April 25th, 2012
The high levels of intelligence seen in humans, other primates, certain cetaceans and birds remain a major puzzle for evolutionary biologists, anthropologists and psychologists. It has long been held that social interactions provide the selection pressures necessary for the evolution of advanced cognitive abilities (the ‘social intelligence hypothesis’), and in recent years decision-making in the context of cooperative social interactions has been conjectured to be of particular importance. Here we use an artificial neural network model to show that selection for efficient decision-making in cooperative dilemmas can give rise to selection pressures for greater cognitive abilities, and that intelligent strategies can themselves select for greater intelligence, leading to a Machiavellian arms race. Our results provide mechanistic support for the social intelligence hypothesis, highlight the potential importance of cooperative behaviour in the evolution of intelligence and may help us to explain the distribution of cooperation with intelligence across taxa.
The competitive spirit capitalism engenders can inhibit the creativity it requires. Think about the traits that creative people possess. Creative people don’t follow the crowds; they seek out the blank spots on the map. Creative people wander through faraway and forgotten traditions and then integrate marginal perspectives back to the mainstream. Instead of being fastest around the tracks everybody knows, creative people move adaptively through wildernesses nobody knows.
Students have to jump through ever-more demanding, preassigned academic hoops. Instead of developing a passion for one subject, they’re rewarded for becoming professional students, getting great grades across all subjects, regardless of their intrinsic interests. Instead of wandering across strange domains, they have to prudentially apportion their time, making productive use of each hour. Then they move into businesses in which the main point is to beat the competition, or in politics, Candidates enter politics wanting to be authentic and change things, but once they enter the campaign, they stop focusing on how to be change-agents.
New research reveals a global creativity gap in five of the world’s largest economies, according to the Adobe® State of Create global benchmark study. Four in 10 people believe that they do not have the tools or access to tools to create. Creative tools are perceived as the biggest driver to increase creativity, and technology is recognized for its ability to help individuals overcome creative limitations and provide inspiration.
More than half of those surveyed feel that creativity is being stifled by their education systems, with a culture of schools driven by standardization. “One of the myths of creativity is that very few people are really creative,” said Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. “The truth is that everyone has great capacities but not everyone develops them. One of the problems is that too often our educational systems don’t enable students to develop their natural creative powers. Instead, they promote uniformity and standardization. The result is that we’re draining people of their creative possibilities and, as this study reveals, producing a workforce that’s conditioned to prioritize conformity over creativity.”
Read also: Infographic
Back in 2001, MIT launched OpenCourseWare, a bold idea to put world-class MIT professors’ lectures, syllabi and resources online to the world for free. Today, Open Education Resources (OER) industry leaders are arguing that the free content is only the starting point. The next stage of the open education movement has evolved into Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) — the key word being “massive,” as in drawing tens or hundreds of thousands of students.
Even with all the OER in the world, the way people learn is by being excited about it, by making things (even if it is just a blog post) and working together. “The things I care most about is collaborative skills, are you a good communicator, can you get stuff done?” Focus on community, recognition and content because it is more important to discover successful learning techniques rather than merely sign up 100,000 students online. Promoting big-sized classes as a way to bring attention to the issue.
University wants scientists to make their research open access and resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls. Exasperated by rising subscription costs charged by academic publishers, Harvard University has encouraged its faculty members to make their research freely available through open access journals and to resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls. A memo from Harvard Library to the university’s 2,100 teaching and research staff called for action after warning it could no longer afford the price hikes imposed by many large journal publishers, which bill the library around $3.5m a year.