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Looking at a person and recognizing their face as something human is a calculation done automatically by the brain that took 61 years of study to replicate into a camera. Some people are born without this ability and can't tell what they are looking at, they are forced to inspect and closely examine everything to even know if they are looking at a pen or a cat.

Question

What methods would allow the switch from manual brain processes to automatic ones?

In short, how could we turn everything into instinct?

Like a Mother learning to play various instruments through decades of study and practice and her children being born with an automatic knowledge of tones, rhythm, and flow, a newborn would hold their breath and swim if thrown into the water, or start playing recognizable music if given an instrument.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know about your cameras, but mine routinely identify as human faces various objects and even random assemblages of objects. I think that "replicate" is too strong a word for what the cameras do. (And just a note: even birds need to learn to sing properly, and birds very instinct-driven.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 2 '21 at 16:40
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    $\begingroup$ Also note that instinctive knowledge may preclude learning. Most birds can sing just a certain few songs, only few classes of them like parrots and corvids can learn a lot of new ones (but then they are considered terrible singers :) ). $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Sep 2 '21 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ Most “instincts” are genetically encoded behaviors (e.g. birdsong or nest-building). The example you gave—musical knowledge and skill—is a learned behavior that requires a reworking of the brain’s neural pathways. Like any learned skill or craft (e.g. athletics, basket weaving), musical performance requires countless repetitions in order to mold those neurons into what we call “muscle memory.” In other words, “practice makes perfect.”) Musical skill is encoded neurologically, not genetically. By contrast, Instincts (genetically encoded behaviors) exist because our survival depends on them. $\endgroup$ Sep 2 '21 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ I downvoted your answer and also one of those no-guys, but, maybe not in the way you imagine it it can be possible. Human system is the example of a system of knowledge transfer. So there is potencial for a fetus to be programmed by bearing parrent in the womb(or whatever) with some knowledge. U may imagine it like some memory crystall/flesh drive, which is read by offspring in a year two or more. Humans flesh drives are read ca 25 years. Better handwave, but no dna and such (if you had dna idea burn it) $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 2 '21 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ On the other hand I probably should not downvote the q, thinking about it, not necessarly impossible if we trow in a trash can clearly not working approaches like genetics, and adjust expectations. Interesting q. // oh yes this alone deserves downvote "in short how to make everything into instinct?" - impossibur, so yeah everything is fine. I mean make more examples and add some context - what is the goal $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 2 '21 at 21:20
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Why isn’t everything we do instinctive? Logically speaking there’s no immediate benefit to pondering what you’ll have for dinner in the coming week, after all you’re not doing anything and next week you might have to change plans entirely. It makes little sense to stop and think about what you are going to instead of actually doing something on the spur of the moment.

If everything is made instinctual it will be quick and reactionary!

In many ways this could be translated as involuntary behavior. You rest your hand on the stove and OUCH! In a few milliseconds you’ve removed your hand avoiding a severe burn. Speed is the selling point here. If it were voluntary you’d notice your hand burning and feel the pain, then consider removing your hand and then finally remove it from the stove. Severe burn and an unusable hand. But hey! At least you made the best possible decision.

It’s not just physical either. You’re playing an online shooter, you see the enemy disappear from your line of sight. Suddenly you turn around and shoot them before they get the chance to take you by surprise. The optimal decision for that moment was made in an instant. In retrospect it was genius, perfectly calculated but didn’t feel like it at all.

On the other hand there’s no way to stop and reevaluate the actions you take...

While instinct is cool and can make you do quick optimal decisions in the blink of an eye, sometimes you regret acting too quickly. You reflexively quick the football but while doing so forget that you’re about to kick someone who tried to pick it up. All in all instincts are good but difficult to control.

How do you make everything instinctual?

Humans have a modern brain and a primal brain. Your modern brain (frontal cortex) is responsible for problem solving, memory, language, judgment, impulse control, and reasoning. Your primal brain (hindbrain and medulla) is responsible for survival, drive, and instinct. Animals have noticeably larger portions of their brains dedicated to instinct, because that’s what they need the most. Therefore for a human to be more instinctual the hindbrain needs to occupy a larger portion of the brain, possibly taking over other areas as well. This would make a very quick to act difficult to reason person.

In the end you need a balance between instinct and conscious choices, but being mostly instinct would definitely make someone a far better survivor and expert in physical activities.

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  • $\begingroup$ I have to point out, and it is not adressed in your q, OP asks if it is possible and how. What specifically he asks or which means are acceptable to provide the result is not clear, but he does not ask if it make sense or not. Generally agree on your reasoning for earth humans and situation and it could be a good addenium for an answer to ops q, but we know nothing anout OPs setting to asume it makes sense for them. Upvoted as you the only one pointed out this problem, which is fundamental. But you could add a little about the ops q, at least, to make the A better. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 3 '21 at 10:44
  • $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg Thanks for pointing that out! I zoned out when writing the q I forgot about the main point. I’ve edited the answer accordingly. $\endgroup$ Sep 3 '21 at 10:56
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What you want to be instinctive has to bring immediate and vital advantage.

For example as soon as we are out of our mother womb we cry: that's instinctive because it allows our lungs to inflate and make us breathe. Without that we would be dead of anoxia.

Same goes for retracting your body from a pain producing stimulus: it's usually not advantageous to pierce one's body with a thorn.

But what you give an example, apart from not falling in this scenario unless you force it, is simply unfeasible with the current human development: we are born largely immature and we finish our development in the outer world. We take some years to learn to walk, while an herbivore can do it within minutes from its birth.

Playing an instrument other than a drum would require years of motor control development in brain and muscles to be achievable.

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Interesting question. This idea would require hard wired neural pathways for musical intervals. In order to genetically engineer that, suitable paths must be isolated from a "learned" brain first. Then, a replacement is designed.. and a genetic modification should be applied that replicates these pathways in the foetal brain.

This may sound easy, it is not. It's easy to build isolated and artificial neural nets that do this - that is why it can be done with faces and cameras - but connecting - or imposing - an artificial neural network design to a real brain is very complicated.

Sound production

Take into account that musical intervals have to do with muscle movements. It requires connections to motor system pathways. Chance is, these network interconnections will differ for voice, and every separate musical instrument. Voice seems the only option there, you don't want a hard wired piano brain. With voice however, you'll run into another challenge.. that is changing voice pitch with age. Children with musical talent seem to adjust easily, by listening. A hard-wired solution would not be that flexible..

Sound perception

As for perception (ears) I am not sure if frequencies change during life. Sensibility range does: children have means to hear far higher frequencies than adults. Children's ears are smaller, the actual detector inside ear may not, I am not sure about that.

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  • $\begingroup$ As I understod it a question about general ability to have inherited detailed knowledge, and music is only an example. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 2 '21 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg I tried to work out that specific example. This question has tags "genetic engineering" and "technology", other answers seem to ignore these tags, I did not. Maybe everyone has his/her field of interest and answers aspects of a question that appeal most to them ? $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Sep 2 '21 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for pointing genetic engenering tag, I didn't notice it. Sure people have their biases answering stuff, so as they miss some aspects. You worked example out - that is good, but after it - where is the generalization(assuming OP needs it, which should have been a question to op in his comment section). Important part of your answer is assumption that genetic engenering of that kind is possible, but u didn't adress it, which reasons make it possible with such fidelity of outcome. So far no one did that, and op asks about possibility so it important part of an answer, etc. Thus -1 $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 3 '21 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Molborg "where is the generalisation" for that answer, the other answers are better. My answer is about a specific, nice to have instinct, that is musicality. When everything would be instinct. (=hardwired) and you don't want to think of classic robots, evolution or medical science should facilitate things. And that is not going to happen. I agree with JohnO and L. Dutch there is little incentive, to hardwire things. Leaning is a feature, not a bug. Not being able to learn weakens the species. Instincts and learned things are a tradeoff.. instincts work faster, but limit flexibility. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Sep 3 '21 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ Other answers are not better(they got -1 as well, each for their own reasons, it just it not a big deal for them, they get their rep profit anyway. And one of the reason for me to mention downvoting under the q was that the quality of answers was way below average, including because no one, who answered, tried to clarify things with op, which made things even worse). Aspects you point out in A are legit and meaningfull, but it just insignificant compared to the main problem, but sure good to know. In my opinion this whole q/a thread is a train wreck - which amuses me, maybe meta worthy. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 3 '21 at 13:31
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In some sense, we already have instinctual music. Some people seem to have an innate sense of pitch and rhythm. But if you want people to be able to play music entirely instinctually, first we need to be able to make instruments instinctually. I mean, how can someone know how to play a flute if they have no idea what a flute is.

So in addition to what L.Dutch said, it seems impossible. Not only do we need an evolutionary reason to instinctually know music, we need an evolutionary reason to instinctually know how to make musical instruments.

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Your example of a mother learning something, and her children being born with that knowledge doesn't exist in Earth biology (at least, those that claim such are considered fringers and their claims disputed).

However, in principle nothing prevents this from being possible. DNA is a rather dense storage medium, and our DNA-based biology has mechanisms that prevent your ribosomes from getting ahold of non-genetic DNA and trying to synthesize proteins from that. What is needed is a mechanism that would take neurological information, and encode it into DNA (likely with several different intermediary steps).

Furthermore, the neurology of this species would also need to be highly uniform (is it likely that your biosoftware for recognizing someone's face is identical to my own, or that if we transferred yours into my brain that it'd run on my brain unmodified, and vice verse?). Supposing their neurology is sufficiently uniform across individuals, then the reverse mechanism would read that non-genetic DNA, and re-encode it into the neurology once the brain has developed sufficiently to host it.

From an evolutionary standpoint, this has a pretty decent survival value... everything the parents learned (up until the point of reproduction) is available to the offspring, even if the parents die before they can educate the offspring. I can't speculate as to how likely such mechanisms are... these are more complicated than we see in reality, but we only have one example to draw conclusions from.

Though, this only even becomes an issue once life develops neurology, or some equivalent. (That said, evolution's all about repurposing previously discovered mechanisms, perhaps a viable candidate even exists in Earth biology.) It seems as if it would be easier to adapt when neurology is primitive, but primitive neurology likely also has less to gain by it (what can a sea slug learn to make its life easier anyway?), so this might have to wait for more sophisticated brains before it's likely to manifest.

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  • $\begingroup$ Rick, you smart guy, why would you say such horrible things, my finger involuntarily twitched and downvoted it. Recording is like solving an insane system of nonlinear differential equations, including those to make proteins, inventing them, all that avoiding bifurcation solutions in stochastic environment for this specific outcome. Specific outcome makes it insane which starts from another insanity(as a problem) separating skill from her sensual reproductive expirience she had while listening heavy metall, or even her personality or psycho. Insanity of complexity is not reflected in this A. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 2 '21 at 20:54

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