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Hakwan Lau

Hakwan Lau directs the Laboratory for Consciousness at the RIKEN Institute (Center for Brain Science) near Tokyo. Prior to moving to Japan in 2021/2022, he was a tenured full professor at University of California, Los Angeles. He specializes in human neuroscience, including applications of machine learning for neuroimaging data. Hakwan received his doctoral degree from the University of Oxford, where he was funded by a Rhodes Scholarship. Previously he has also been an associate professor at Columbia University in the City of New York, as well as a research fellow at University College London. His former academic mentees include 9 independent faculty members / principal investigators. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers:

Previous work w/ Harmony:

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zkDAO – Succinct, Private, Fair

Jan 2022 Deliverables:

  • onboard 4 mentees (2 technical contributors, 1 creative contributors, 1 fellow to focus on hollywood/NFT/metaverse/DAOs)
  • launch zku.ONE & retain 5+ active students who complete all assignments, to launch products in Feb/March
  • co-organize an event in LA ( on a topic related to decentralized basic income) w/ partner FRAX + RARI capital (aiming for Jan, but due to omicron, potentially postponed to Feb)

His book:

Chapter 0: Reality as One Sees It I explain why we will focus on cognitive neuroscience rather than physics-centric theories.

Chapter 1: Definitions & Game Plan Subjective experience is our focus here, though it may relate to other notions of consciousness such as wakefulness or voluntary control too. We will arbitrate between global and local theories.

Chapter 2: The Unfinished NCC Project If we control for the key experimental confounds, the evidence is in favor of the prefrontal cortex’s role in consciousness - although it may not be for the purpose of global broadcast.

Chapter 3: Hitting the Right Note Lesions and stimulation studies are often conceptually misinterpreted or factually misrepresented. There is good evidence for the causal involvement of the prefrontal cortex in consciousness.

Chapter 4: Untouched Raw Feels? When we don’t pay attention we don’t perceive much details. But our experience may be subjectively β€˜inflated’ beyond what we actually represent in the sensory cortices; troubles for local theorists.

Chapter 5: What Good is Consciousness? To answer the question we need new experimental methods, beyond subliminal priming. Current evidence suggests that consciousness may not be as useful as global theories suggest.

Chapter 6: A Centrist Manifesto Let’s take stock of the findings reviewed so far. Neither global nor local theories seem right. What are the constraints for a plausible theory? What can we learn from current AI research?

Chapter 7: Are We Alone? We introduce the perceptual reality monitoring theory (PRM), according to which some animals may not be conscious. And yet, perhaps even a robot or computer program could be (to be revisited in Chapter 9).

Chapter 8: Making Ourselves Useful In the social and clinical sciences, β€˜consciousness’ often refers to our rational grasp of reality. How is this related to the kind of consciousness we have discussed so far?

Chapter 9: What of the Hard Problem? Subjective experiences are characterized by β€˜what it is like’ to have them. Cognitive neuroscience can address this quality too. Metaphysical theories don’t fare better, and may just hinder scientific progress.

On Universal Basic Income & 20% fixed-income :