A Penny For Your Thoughts On Neuroeconomics – Part 1

A few weeks ago a person shared a link in a comment on one of my videos. It was a 2007 roundtable discussion on neuroeconomics hosted by the Philoctetes Center for the Multi-Disciplinary Study of the Imagination, formerly housed in the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. The organization, named after the mythological wounded Argonaut and holder of Heracles’s bow, failed after the collapse of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Madoff had been a benefactor and was in the audience (to the left of the rear podium) at the event from which these clips were drawn.

Including the Q&A period, the talk was around two hours long. Watch it in full here or my 45-minute highlight reel here. I thought it contained so much provocative information, and clearly there were networked influencers in the room, that I spent a few days creating a series of clips that I could share with readers of my blog. I plan to make more of these short posts featuring digestible bits of information I find interesting and pertinent to my recent lines of inquiry – artificial intelligence, networked sensor systems, swarm or collective intelligence, tokenization of social relations, and cybernetic governance for evolutionary optimization towards some new phase of digital, photonic, simulated “life.”

Participants in the 2007 roundtable included:

Alberto Bisin – NYU professor of economics with a specialty in econometrics and behavioral economics

William Brown – former chief economist at JP Morgan, later at Barclays Bank

Edward Nersessian – psychiatrist at Weill-Cornell Medical College and staff of New York Psychoanalytic Institute, co-founder of the Philoctetes Center and The Helix Center

Elizabeth Phelps – Harvard professor of cognitive neuroscience with a research focus on emotion, cognition, and memory as well as social behavior and economic decision making

Paul Glimcher – lead developer of the field of neuroeconomics and founder of the NYU Institute for the Study of Decision Making, lead investigator in the Kavli-funded “Big Human Data Research Platform”

I’m going to post half the clips tonight and half tomorrow. Before you choose a few to watch (they’re just 2-4 minutes each), I invite you to review and think about this infographic I made depicting a range of activities associated with Vienna from cybernetics to crypto-currency; from logic to metaphysics; from music to psychoanalysis. Consider the wave forms of matter, sound, economic forecasts, and thought. Glimcher said he was seeking a “Generalized Neural Theory of Human Decision Making.” He didn’t know why they needed it, but increasingly it feels like it’s wanted as a gift for the humanoid robots.

If you want to click the links on the graphic try this.

For insights into how I have been thinking about these topics you can listen to a one-hour chat I had with my friend Cliff about the prospect of living inside an “outside-in robot” here.

Listen and think about choice, prediction, and use of sensors and currency to shape behavior.


How does it make you feel that JP Morgan wasn’t very effective at training people to act like a machine?

Can you imagine how economic modeling will become integrated into biology? Can you see how gamification and tokens fit into this scenario?

Where he’s talking about “safety systems” for cars, can you see how this would be applied to people through their digital twin?

Where they talk about potential applications for using oxytocin (related to dopamine) to instill trust in people, I think this has been accomplished through devices and social media feeds. We are self-engineering our minds through personal technology. They did it.

Listen to what she’s saying and then consider the use “outside-in” robots to monitor and manage the emotions of kindergarten children. This is something Cliff and I talked about in our video.

Part two tomorrow. I really do want to hear your insights. These clips are each just 2-4 minutes long. so take a break from the bot noise and really think. Use your imagination!

31 thoughts on “A Penny For Your Thoughts On Neuroeconomics – Part 1

  1. Roderick says:

    First clip brought to my mind an example given by Clement Vidal in his essay “Distributed Cognition: from local brains to the Global Brain” about how would work an automatized drivers license points system via affective computing enabled sensors and I assume Smart Contracts:
    “Let’s imagine that most pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers have emotion sensors, linked to their location information. Suddenly, a car makes a huge acceleration, a lot of noise, without any other reason than showing-off. A dozen drivers, pedestrians and bikers get stressed out. This emotional feedback is anonymized and could be sent directly to the dangerous driver, or processed by the police. The driver would lose points on his driving license, or incur increased premiums on his insurance.”

  2. Roderick says:

    Second clip: the rationale behind the the practical applications of neuroeconomics seems to be to create Order out of the Chaos inherent to the nature of the human brain, using a cybernetic system of pavlovian and skinnerian entrainment to make us fit in their “Philosopher Kings” Dystopian World Order where not even our thoughts will be safe from the control freak predator energy.

  3. Roderick says:

    Third clip: at this point is very clear how important will be the ubiquitous network of affective computing enabled sensors for the economic modeling and the distribution of tokens and badges according to the emotions enacted from social interactions. You lose or win tokens depending on how you adjust your behavior to the pre-established set of rules.

  4. Roderick says:

    Fourth clip: taking the example given above by Clement Vidal, we could easily envision a scenario where the dangerous driver digital twin gets a “predictive maintenance” that translates in the nanorobotic realease of specific hormones in the “physical twin” in order to prevent him from showing off, thus optimizing operations and costs associated with his would be dangerous behavior.

  5. Roderick says:

    “Human Energy initiated this project, Science of the Noosphere, to conduct research that would place the ideas described in Chapter 10 — titled “The Formation of the Noosphere: A Plausible Biological Interpretation of Human History” — on solid scientific ground. You can find an excellent illustrated explanation of the noosphere’s central ideas on another part of this site.”

    • Cliff says:

      “…a particular biological entity such as has never before existed on earth—the growth, outside and above the biosphere, of an added planetary layer, an envelope of thinking substance, to which, for the sake of convenience and symmetry, I have given the name of the Noosphere.”

      Great link Roderick, thank you!

      • Kathleen Smith says:

        The Noosphere that people like Julien Huxley and others at UNESCO were talking about was a synthetic network aka The Internet created by military (as we all know), but I question why De Chardin is lumped in?? Throwing the baby out with the bath water. Is it not possible that De Chardin naively showed this evil entity what NATURE and the organic evolution of the human consciousness was ultimately going to become which they hijacked? We know scientifically that people that are prayed for recover better than those that aren’t – is this not evidence of the Noosphere that De Chardin was discovering? De Chardin might be just like today’s block chain developers who really don’t know what the true goal of block chain is — Evil will use the smartest people to accomplice its true mission and those helping it have no idea. And then once again this gives me hope that the ultimate goal of this satanic force can and will be stopped. Organic always trumps synthetic. Love to know your thoughts Alison and Cliff.

    • Kathleen Smith says:

      Thanks for the clip — I think what I wrote was misinterpreted by you, and it was my fault because of the way I wrote it. I agree with you – this evil entity that exists is beyond labels (not about Rothschilds, China, or Rockefellers) — what I think gets lost or thrown out (baby with the bath water comment) is de Chardin’s discovery of the ultimate natural evolution of global human consciousness which is the noosphere. The internet is a synthetic copy which this evil entity hijacked by copying it and it will ultimately use this fake noosphere to ensnare all of humanity in – that was basically my point.

      I know you are crazy busy, but did you ever do any research on Gnosticism or Nag Hammadi library — ancient Gnostic Scrolls dating back to 2nd Century discovered in 1946. Religious dualism and where it comes from is another interesting topic. Gnostics believed salvation was not found by faith – but by knowledge and discovery of spiritual world. Religion is wrapped up in all of this stuff more than I think most people realize.

      Keep up your amazing work.

  6. Bill Watson says:

    Fascinating and disturbing, Alison. What seems to be missing in all these arguments is relationship to Spirit: the notion of human character, and what’s to become of it in the coming era. I am very uncomfortable with programmed character formation. It’s not “real”, organic; it’s “phony”, mechanical. These neuropsych programmers are engineering minds, tinkering with the natural order of things. I clearly see where they’re going with this, and why, and it feels very dark. In theory, fascinating and exciting; in practice, rather frightening and IMO a highway to hell. As a long-retired psychologist I am utterly dismayed at the direction this is all heading, and I applaud your work unmasking those that intend to create a “new human” in their image and likeness, which to me is an abomination. I suppose I’m a “reactionary” in this regard, but I strongly feel that this is being guided by very dark forces that is taking us on a new trajectory that is likely to have a very bad outcome–a reset far worse than even Klaus Schwab et.al. imagine.

    • wrenchinthegears says:

      What gives me hope Bill is that the vast majority of people who see this for what it is don’t want it. They just don’t yet know that they need to be paying attention to this area of study.

      • Kathleen Smith says:

        I highly respect you and your research – just trying to give a different perspective from what I have learned in my own research is all. I will just respond with this last comment – please read and then we can agree to disagree.

        The parallels between De Chardin’s and Huxley’s ideas on the noosphere should not have us ignore their differences. De Chardin believed the culmination of humanity’s evolution –was to reach a “Christ consciousness.” This was the Omega Point. Huxley’s response to this in one of his later letters: “I have always regretted that Teilhard neglected to explain and discuss the mechanisms of biological evolution as well as its results in its long temporal course, and I was quite unable to follow him in his conclusions about Christification, Point Omega, and the like.” That is HUGE and you think these two men were lock step on what the noosphere is? Remember, The Vatican only allowed the publication of De Chardin’s philosophical writings after his death. Think about it – you have a guy who admittedly doesn’t understand the Christ Consciousness Omega Point writing the foreword to his book and the book is only published after his death. COME ON!

        The natural evolution of humanity will be the noosphere, but it will be the organic water based version, not the synthetic silicon chip based version aka the meta verse that this evil entity of domination is currently building. TWO very very different ideas on what the noosphere is. On page 9 of the UNESCO Charter -according to Huxley, the only difference between the brain of modern man and ancient Peking Man are societal differences and technology developments – and of course being the eugenicist he was, he also believed there are some Darwinian elements to why people are different. On the other hand, De Chardin believed the human brain evolves and modern man thinks fundamentally different from an ancient cave dweller. Another guy I also think you completely don’t understand, Rudolf Steiner says the same exact thing as De Chardin — human consciousness has evolved and we do not think like the ancient humans of our past.

        The even bigger rabbit hole you might want to research is that of Christianity and who the Christ really was –for example did you know there are two Jesus birth stories in the Gospels? Why two different stories? Ask a priest or nun to explain this to you and they will tell you the Gospels were written hundreds of years after Jesus’ death and they made mistakes? My response: if the Gospels were inspired by God how could they contain mistakes? God doesn’t make mistakes, thus maybe you and the Church are interpreting them wrong. There are many other contradictions as well. Rome hijacked the true meaning of Christianity in the 4th century when it became its official religion. The earliest Christians (Gnostics) believed the God of our earth is Nature- it has the ultimate wisdom and is more beautiful, powerful, and efficient than anything else in material existence. So than, why do humans exist? Why do you exist is a question everyone should ask themselves. Humans exist for LOVE, it is our most powerful force and it is God’s gift to us. Humanity’s purpose on this earth is to raise his level consciousness to that of the Christ Consciousness – this is De Chardin’s noosphere and this was the true message of Jesus – LOVE thy enemy as your own.

        You will not stop what is coming Alison, I admire you — but this spiritual war is happening and it is meant to happen. Unlike you I believe the way you fight evil is not head on, but rather you beat it by entering it and changing it from within. Every man will come to his truth and salvation when he decides to and if he decides to — many soul’s will perish never to awaken again. Jesus Christ showed humanity the way and he is our salvation. You can agree with me or not, but this is what the last 7 years of my research has brought me to. I entered the rabbit hole through the lies we are told in money creation and finance. FY,I I was raised a Roman Catholic, but was never spiritual or religious – that is until I got deep into my research. Please stay safe, the evil entity you are poking is very dangerous.

  7. kocotube01 začasni says:

    There was a small bank near where I live and some time ago it was eaten by a bigger bank and later that one was also eaten by a big foreign investment fund. Yes, and?
    Well the place that was occupied by the small bank is now occupied by a Sigmund Freud University (SFU) which has its domicile in Vienna (yes, Vienna again), Austria; with other branches in Paris, Milano, Berlin, Ljubljana, Linz. They almost immediately begun churning out new psychoanalysts and psychotherapists-propaedeutics.
    Let me end this introduction with these words: once locally prominent bank, churning out debt to its customers, merged, like a small water stream, into a small river (bigger bank) and that river merged into transcontinental river (international investment fund) and that super-flow will eventually disappear into ocean (virtualized cloud banking of something even more ethereal). So the old-times institution of control, while in the process of bodily dissolution (Moonshot like process), returns in a pure mindf..k-form, “rebirthed” as as private-public business model for governance of society that suffers from debt-initiated windfall effect (psychotherapy as continuous and dynamical crisis management). In other words the bank’s body is almost immediately replaced by a new-times institution of control that deals with management of mental health disorders. And they, the local SFU, immediately engaged in lobbying for a new national Mental Health legislation. Just reading these wiki words about Vienna SFU (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud_University_Vienna) is disturbing enough:
    “Security research
    With the CEUSS | Center for European Security Studies, led by Prof. Dr. Alexander Siedschlag, SFU has as well assumed a leading role in establishing Security Research as an academic subject and has so far taken part in four security research projects co-funded within the 7th EU Framework Programme, including the flagship project FOCUS that supports scenario foresight-based planning of future security research, with an emphasis on societal an ethics aspects. Within the framework of SFU as a university for humanities, CEUSS in particular contributes to the strengthening of social and cultural aspects and security culture as an analytical approach.”.

    What? You can’t get more in bed with security complex then that in Europe.
    That were introductory words and, if interested, you can look more closely to this SFU-CEUSS cooperation:

    To build reliable models that will serve as a feedback loops for social control and development steering, they need reliable “qualitative evaluation”. And for that they need army of self-sufficient battlefield grunts, bankers’ avatars, gathering data, analyzing it, reporting back, gathering new data, evaluating effects…

    And here is the method that SFU uses on their own grunts (sorry, students), as explained on their local website:
    20 students from SFU Berlin will travel [2017] in groups of 5 to one of the four different SFU sites (Vienna, Milan, Ljubljana and Paris) where they will be hosted by local participating students. Three weeks later, the host students from the receiving SFU sites will travel to Berlin and will be hosted by the 20 SFU Berlin students.
    On the first 3-day trip, the students will form partnerships and conduct mutual interviews. The questions shaping this (preliminary) interview-guide: What distinguishes my SFU? How do students perceive the structure of the study programme? How important is national belonging for me? Which other belongings are important for me in my life? What importance does Europe have for me? Which interests (politics/culture etc.) do I have? How do I participate and engage in activities in my country/my city/my university? Additionally, SFU lecturers affiliated with the project will organize a specialized “orientation programme” for the visiting students (getting to know the university etc.) at each site.
    The interviews will be transcribed and the results summarized (drawing methodologically on Philipp Mayring’s qualitative content analysis). The students carry out these steps on their own, but have the possibility to ask for assistance from lecturers from their respective university.
    Three weeks after the first research trip, the local host students will travel to SFU Berlin where they will participate in a one-day data analysis workshop (9am-6pm) facilitated by SFU Berlin lecturers. The workshop will offer students the possibility to discuss the results of the interviews and to work on overarching conclusions.
    The results of this process of exchange, the documented interviews, conclusions etc. will be documented in English and published online.”.

    Which brought me to this book, titled “A Companion to QUALITATIVE RESEARCH” (pdf). You can download it here: https://3lib.net/book/1073766/699e58/?wrongHash

    On page 140:
    we get answer regarding Alison’s wonderings about … why “they” don’t tell us openly what are their true intentions …, their end game, to change it all, completely.
    Also the quotes below reveal most important reason for qualitative research, which in my view, judging how it has been implemented on the “battlefield”, is active and proactive damage control to retain as much planned cultural change rolling and only allow delays on fronts where execution of “their” plan has been met with too much opposition which might jeopardize whole campaign. We can read:

    “Unlike the kind of evaluation research based on the normative paradigm, a qualitative perspective is concerned not with statistical representativity, but rather with a selection of units of investigation that can generate some theory: for example, those that are guided by hypotheses (see 4.2) in accordance with principles of ‘theoretical sampling’ (see 4.4). Instead of foreordained times for measurement it is concerned with observed turning-points, crises and objections in the course of the project, and these are taken as meaningful and significant data. Instead of comparisons with control groups it is concerned with the systematic comparison of contrasting cases (Stake 1995), whose characteristics are examined in detail. In place of a summary observation of reactions to standardized data-collection instruments and tests, the focus is on the reconstruction of differing patterns of justification and action strategies. And instead of testing model assumptions using prescribed categories it is interested in the communicative negotiation of purposive and mutually accepted criteria for success on the basis of project experiences.
    For qualitative evaluation research, therefore, it is not primarily a matter of developing general theories, but of producing project-related, often locally restricted, but scientifically well-founded statements and responses to questions of practical commonsense in situations that are negotiable, but also structurally bound, asymmetric, power-driven and determined by interests.”.

    So … bankers’ damage control psychologists are spreading as we speak onto the battlefield (devastated by debt and planned economic crises) because they specialize in reconstruction by justifications and negotiations, using systematic comparison of practical commonsense contrasting cases to develop scientifically well-founded statements and responses that allow them to manage situation where they have tactical advantage (where there is power of the whole public-private apparatus behind their back or they have moral, sorry again: that should say legal, higher ground).

    And on page 142
    we get some truth by author (Ernst von Kardorff) of chapter 3.12 (Qualitative Evaluation Research):

    “In summary, we may claim the following as both description and challenge: qualitative evaluation sees itself as a joint enterprise or type of social research that seeks to discover social reality, to probe its capacity for change and to test its boundaries, and on that seeks to change and create social reality. For this it must also come to terms with its social accountability.
    The developmental opportunities for an independent qualitative type of evaluation research are very difficult to assess. The political and administrative demand – particularly in the crisis confronting the welfare state – is mostly for answers to pre-defined questions and, as far as possible, for quantifiable ‘hard’ data (that is, data capable of numerical presentation) for proof of effects and for quality and cost control. Furthermore, there is a demand for quality assessment using criteria and standards defined by experts and for reports agreed with experts before publication that seem more suited to purposes of legitimization than a type of evaluation which is open-ended, critical, participatory, determined by conflict-ridden negotiation processes and focused on socio-communicative learning processes. On the other hand, the crises in application (see 6.3), in acceptance and the significance of evaluation (Kraus 1995; Legge 1984) have increased willingness to see evaluation more as a research accompaniment and
    development, or as a process of experiencing and learning that goes with social change. In general, this means that there is a desire to reach more satisfactory models of practice, where subjective views and interests, or popular and expert theories and practices, are more strongly expressed. In this way greater importance will be attached to a problem-related practical type of reasoning (Chelimsky and Shadish 1997; Guba and Lincoln 1989; House 1993; Shaw 1999). In pedagogy, in social work, in psycho-social care and public health as well as in local ecological projects where more attention is given to the meaning of subjective theories (cf. Flick 1998b) and to the reinforcement of private initiative, responsibility and self-determination – in all of these areas developments will continue to be characterized by empowerment approaches (Fetterman 1994; Stark 996), supportive consultancy and monitoring.”.

    Those involved in Qualitative Evaluation Research are obviously well aware that they have capacity to change and also create social reality and they admit to be interested in doing so through empowerment approaches on the “battlefield”. It also gives away their superiority complex (I could almost hear them yawning) when comparing themselves with Quantitative Research Bunch.

    Mind you, this book is from 2004.

    Now I understand why bankers’ bodies, while dissolving into thin air, are transposing themselves into slick and cunning damage control avatars. Sleazy old car salesmen technique, … Sunny … if they don’t bother looking under the hood, don’t volunteer the fact that breaks are failing, … just complement their shoes and hand them car keys.

    Was this too long-a-rant? Sorry, banter, in case “they” are listening and evaluating.

    DISCLAIMER: no feelings were shaken nor emotions stirred in the course of this comment.

      • kocotube01 začasni says:

        Mmmmm, what a t(h)reat.
        I very much liked those “actual security” on “Preliminary model” slide (page 13) definitions:
        “Police records [check],
        Prosecutor records [double check],
        Auxiliary records [bingo!!!]
        […] Interventions [bingo again; and the feedback loop closes]”.

        And page 16 slide confirms it all. … As long as it maintains an illusory public image that “data privacy and protection” principles were observed, the digital-Stasi e-Smith agents can have a ball.

        They write on the Why bother? slide (page 4): “To truly understand security one needs to
        monitor changes over time”.

        If “they” are willing to be bothered with our securitization, then we should be bothered with “their” intentions and machinations.
        In that regard, Alison, I thank you for doin what you’re doin and, please, keep doin it.

  8. ewentworthEW says:

    Thank you for adding a new post! PS I really like kocotube01 začasni’s Disclaimer on his comment 🙂 and the following statement “bankers’ bodies, while dissolving into thin air, are transposing themselves into slick and cunning damage control avatars. Sleazy old car salesmen technique”

  9. paul says:

    read this

    a difference is drawn
    between nueromarkeing
    which i believe is a kind of neo-phrenology
    IE fakery
    and neuro economics

    which is being PR’d as totally different kind of thing


    i wish you well

    your latest turns in research are fascinating

    future mapping via lack of human movement is easy for AI

    they seek to hold us in pens

  10. Kathleen Smith says:

    These videos are very interesting — and they give me hope that their ideas of using algorithms to predict and influence behavior through tokens is ultimately going to fail because these people are completely clueless to the fact that humans were not created to maximize their ability to make money. The real eye opener was when the guy says the birds they studied were very efficient at their decision making on what size worm was worth exerting energy to catch, but he couldn’t understand why people made really bad economic decisions. Hmm? Maybe they are doing the wrong studies and the fact that people make awful economic decisions shows money is a terrible way to maximize human potential.

  11. Roderick says:

    In light of complex systems theory the notion of a guided self-organization sounded preposterous to me but apparently it’s a new field of investigation and I suppose experimentation. David Sloan Wilson (Human Energy team member) is co-founder of Prosocial World, a nonprofit organization that promotes what I think is a practical application of the science of guided self-organization: “The Prosocial ARC Process can best be understood as a process of wisely managed cultural evolution. It brings together cognition, cooperation, and culture into a flexible framework that can be used to help groups improve collaboration and cooperation in different contexts.” (https://www.prosocial.world/). Like Peter A. Gloor (Swarm Leadership and the Collective Mind), they talk about a “collective consciousness”, of course they use the usual dogooder slang of “protecting the commons” and “achieving peace and harmony” to gloss their new science of social engineering, but we know their true objective: parasitic control over the body, spirit and mind of humanity. Here’s a video of Wilson explaining the science and method of Prosocial World

  12. Clifford A Gomes says:


    I asked Alison if she’s up for meeting online in a zoom call with the people who’ve so insightfully responded to the fist in this new series asking what you see in the clips she highlighted. She is, but asked that I make the invitation and facilitate the zoom call. This series, Looking around the Labyrinth, is grounded in an idea that encourages people to look close to home, either physically, or close to their home frame, the intimate window of concern through which they consider this emerging structure of domination. If you’d like to participate in a group conversation with us please send me your email address. I’m going to work to find a time that can accommodate different time zones. It’ll might take a little back and forth, but I’ll find a time that those wanting to participate can all be available for.

    Thank you again for your thoughtful and insightful contributions. You’re invited!

    I’m Cliff Gomes. My email address is cliffgomes1@gmail.com Please include your local time zone if you’d like to join us, and any questions you have about participating in it.

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