Wisdom Dojo
Mahon McCann Podcast
#82 - John Vervaeke - Attention, Agency & Aligning AI

#82 - John Vervaeke - Attention, Agency & Aligning AI

New podcast with John Vervaeke

Sup Seekers,

Very excited to welcome back to the podcast Dr john Vervaeke!

John is a professor of cognitive science and cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, the creator of "Awakening from the Meaning Crisis." (check out his channel here and the PP and RR integration talk here ) and he has featured on the biggest podcasts around like Lex Fridman, Tim Ferris, Theo Von, Jordan Peterson, Modern Wisdom etc

In this podcast, we are discussing

  • predictive processing

  • John’s integration of predictive processing and relevance realisation

  • the nature and function of attention

  • Attention’s relation to agency and meaning in life

  • How can this new understanding of human beings be used to create aligned AI

Check out the conversation 👇


00:00 The Quest for Inner Peace and Optimal Agency

00:23 Welcoming John Verveke: A Dialogue on Attention and AI

00:32 Unveiling the Intricacies of Attention

00:45 Predictive Processing and Relevance Realization: A Deep Dive

01:51 Exploring the Spotlight Metaphor of Attention

02:35 Beyond the Spotlight: A New Understanding of Attention

04:04 Attention as Cognitive Unison: A Revolutionary Perspective

05:21 The Interplay of Attention and Relevance Realization

06:35 Precision Weighting: Bridging Predictive Processing and Relevance Realization

07:30 From Cause Theories to Effect Theories of Attention

09:19 The Emergence of Agency and the Role of Relevance Realization

10:13 Predictive Processing: A Framework for Anticipation

10:40 The Meta Problems of Anticipation and Relevance Realization

14:46 Predictive Processing and the Sensory Motor Loop

18:39 The Bias-Variance Trade-off in Predictive Processing

20:34 Opponent Processing and Optimal Grip: A New Model of Attention

22:52 Enhancing Agency and the Potential for Self-Deception

25:26 Agency Emerges: Autopoietic Correction and Self-Organization

27:17 Meaning as Optimal Agency: The Confluence of Predictive Processing and Relevance Realization

29:12 The Autopoietic Nature of Mind and Body

29:55 Plato's Insights on Internal Coordination

30:33 The Quest for Optimal Agency and Inner Peace

31:12 Predictive Processing and Motivation

32:23 The Role of Persuasive Technologies

32:44 Anticipation in Spatial and Temporal Contexts

34:56 Optimal Agency and Collective Intelligence

36:00 The Platonic Proposal for Human Flourishing

37:55 AI as Agents vs. AI as Environment

42:32 The Potential of AI to Foster Human Enlightenment

43:45 Mentoring Machines for a Better Future

45:18 The Challenge of Social Media Reform

46:22 The Wicked Problem of Relevance Realization

51:25 Stealing the Culture: A Bottom-Up Approach

52:36 Historical Precedents for Cultural Transformation

53:35 The Advent of a New Sacredness

57:35 Redefining Success and Addressing Existential Questions

01:01:21 The Silicon Sages: A Vision for AI

01:01:37 Concluding Thoughts and Hopeful Outlook

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All the best,


Wisdom Dojo
Mahon McCann Podcast
Cultivating Wisdom, Virtue and Character in the Digital Age. Hosted by Irish Philosopher, Black belt and award-winning Playwright Mahon McCann. Every Thursday, jump into new audio essays and podcast interviews with the world’s brightest and most thought-provoking leaders to educate, inspire and motivate you to become your wisest self. (Join the Wisdom Dojo Substack to get the weekly essays and podcasts delivered to your inbox 👇)