Outline of the Paper Defining what is altruism and what is the nature of an altruistic beingReview of theories about altruism Reciprocal altruism Mindless altruists Kin selection Bystander effect
Outline of the Paper Is altruism developed by culture or is it a pre- evolutionary artifact?Is joint-learning and cooperative task completion related to our altruistic streak?Is altruism somehow realized within the evolutionary framework through mirror neurons?
Outline of the Paper Is human altruismunique? Are we the oneswho are “intentionally” altruistic?
Ambitious Questions! Can altruism be engineered into AI? Should the definition of altruism be broadened; for instance, include “online” altruism support for the Middle-Eastern rebellion through Facebook, Twitter etc., Is altruism a receding trait? Will future generations of humans possess that trait? To what extent does technology play a role in impacting this?
Mirror Neurons and the Empathy Threshold Identification of Empathy towards Kin via MN kin, motivated by system MNs Empathy Threshold
Bystander Effect – Interfering Mirror Neurons Person #1Person #2 Person i Person n
Altruism as an outcome of Cultural Evolution Culture inculcates altruistic norms which subordinate the individual to group welfare. Children are rewarded for acts of kindness or helpfulness and punished for selfish behavior. Does this reinforcement instill altruistic behavior in children, or does it enhance an already existing character attribute?
Case Studies by Tomasello et al. Infants between the ages of 12-18 months voluntarily help human “observers” in certain experiments. Infants were able to overcome previously unseen obstacles to assist the “helpless” adults complete their task. This willingness to go “out-of-the-way” to help a stranger evolves into cooperation and joint learning? A similar study with chimpanzees Willing to help in scenarios which are less “cognitively” demanding Willing to help in “difficult” tasks only if they are rewarded
Case Studies by Tomasello et al. Observed that children who were offered a prize for helping out actually helped out LESS on further trials. The intrinsic satisfaction in accomplishing a cooperative task is diminished by offering a material reward.
Uniqueness of Human Altruism Evolved as a means to be accepted into/ gain popularity with a society. Assign value to different kinds of helpful deeds: An action which yields a “positive” outcome is valued “less” than an action which eliminates a “negative” outcome. Weighted based on the subject at the receiving end of the helpful act. Mostly reciprocal altruists
An Unified View Mirror Evolutionary Selection Empathy Neurons Need to beaccepted into society Altruism Positive and Negative ReinforcementSocial Cultural
Basis of Human Cooperation Altruistic DesireCognitive Achieve more; Cooperation work less Offload Information Dissemination