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Quantum Cognition/Extraordinary Umwelts/AI website builder

Thijs Pepping
Apr 26, 2024

This quest for Regenerative Intelligence is intriguing. I’m a few months in now, and slowly the concept takes shape and gains a strong foundation. There’s a vocabulary that begins to form. Concepts that keep popping up in different disciplines such as umwelt, agency, microbiome, and quantum. There’s something overlapping in a broad range of disciplines, and I’m slowly figuring out what that is. It’s about being, our environment, achieving goals, and thinking and dreaming big.

Every newsletter I put out is a step forward. So let’s get to it! Three gems again, three clues in our quest toward Regenerative Intelligence.

  1. Human Intelligence: Quantum Cognition – explaining human irrationality?
  2. Natural Intelligence: Umwelt – the hidden sensory world of animals
  3. Artificial Intelligence: AI agency – Devin builds a website from scratch

1) Quantum Cognition – explaining human irrationality?

Human Intelligence

This is not a belated April Fool’s joke. A mathematician named Dorje C. Brody is applying the mathematics of quantum physics to better understand human thinking. In his paper, published over a year ago, he argues that his quantum approach could explain why humans sometimes use reasoning that doesn’t follow the rules of classical logic.

Humans are, of course, irrational beings. For example, in an experiment, participants were asked whether they think Al Gore is a honest person, and 68% said yes. When asked if they believe Bill Clinton is honest, 57% affirmed. However, if the question order is reversed, starting with Bill Clinton, only 50% consider him honest, while Al Gore’s honesty drops to 60%.

Brody claims he can explain this irrational variance, among other phenomena like confirmation bias. I recommend checking out the paper or watching the video above by theoretical physicist and YouTube science communicator Sabine Hossenfelder. If you’re unfamiliar with her, her videos are fantastic.

2) Umwelt; The hidden sensory world of animals

Natural Intelligence

Umwelt describes the unique ways organisms sense and experience the world. For every person this is slightly different, for other species the Umwelt can almost be like a different planet. Take this example; Human beings can taste with their tongue, but catfish can taste with their whole body… Imagine that. How would your clothes taste like? The chair you are sitting on..? Strange huh?

And what about hearing, seeying, touching, smelling? Some animals even have different senses, like sensing the magnetic field or using echolocation. This <10 min video showcases astonishing examples of how various organisms scan and explore their environment.

In essence, this video shows diverse modalities of ‘being’ and experiencing reality. It makes me humble regarding my own experiences and point of view on the world. My Umwelt represents merely a fragment, a highly subjective perspective, of the broader reality around us.

3) AI Agency; Devin builds a website from scratch

Artificial Intelligence

In most definitions of intelligence, there are two key components. The first is about understanding information, and the second is about applying that understanding to manipulate the environment to achieve goals.

Much of the recent focus on AI has been on the first aspect; its ability to understand questions, pass exams, etc. However, there is significant progress in the “doing” part as well. AI agents are improving remarkably. In the realm of coding, two AI agents, Devin and MAGIS, are performing exceptionally well. They outperform other models by eight times in resolving real Github issues (as detailed in a recent paper).

A great example of what AI can do on its own, as of April 2024, is this website. This project was initiated by a prompt from innovation and AI Associate Professor Ethan Mollick, author of the book Co-Intelligence (published on the 2nd of April (I’ve preordered it and will share my thoughts on it soon)).

Mollick tasked Devin with creating a website on how to rebuild civilization from scratch. The website should be interactive and have a lot of features. The result is an ‘ok’ looking website, with interactive quizzes at the bottom of each page. What makes it impressive is that beyond the initial prompt, it was entirely created by Devin, from the content to its live internet deployment. It’s 100% made by Devin.

In Conclusion

From Quantum Cognition to sensing and perceiving the world around us, to AI acting and executing tasks on the internet… Intelligence manifests in unique and diverse forms. And there isn’t a single form of intelligence, including our own, that we fully understand.

Many intriguing crossover questions arise:

  • How would you describe the Umwelt of AI agent Devin?
  • Are there already experiments with Quantum & AI? And is there a project that combines all the buzzwords, such as: communicating with artificial Quantum AI characters in the Metaverse and recording your mystical interactions on the blockchain? ;-P
  • Is there a book about humans attempting to mimic animal senses? For example, what devices enable us to sense the magnetic field, not just visualize it but truly ‘experience’ it? Like those who have surgically inserted magnets in their fingertips, which, however, lose their ‘power’ after a few years, leaving them with inert metal in their bodies…

That’s it for now. See you in the next one!

About the author

Thijs Pepping

Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Thijs Pepping is a humanistic trend analyst in the field of new technologies. He is part of the think tank within SogetiLabs and in his work he continuously wonders and analyses what the impact of New Technologies is on our lives, organizations and society.

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