Best ways to beat depression (NEW RESEARCH) ⋆ AI of the week ⋆ Uncanny Valley

Dancing tops new depression-fighting strategies, Anthropic's Claude 3.5 Sonnet leads AI advancements, and the uncanny valley hypothesis explores our evolutionary caution toward near-human entities

Best ways to beat depression (NEW RESEARCH) ⋆ AI of the week ⋆ Uncanny Valley

This week we
- unpack how dance tops the charts in combating depression,
- look into AI's newest marvels, and
- explore the eerie realm of almost-human figures that may well have roots deep in our evolutionary past

Thing 1 - Best ways to beat depression (NEW RESEARCH)

I'm not surprised - having danced ballroom and latin every day for years - that dancing is the top way to beat depression, according to the study.

Here's a refreshed look at top strategies:

  1. Dance
    Engaging in dance offers unmatched benefits due to its blend of physical activity, expressive movement, and social interaction, making it the top choice.
  2. Walking and Jogging
    These remain strong options for improving mental health through regular, rhythmic physical activity.
  3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    As a non-physical intervention, CBT is very effective and pairs well with physical activities for a holistic approach.
  4. Yoga and Strength Training
    Both activities round out our list, promoting mental wellness through physical strength and flexibility.

Some additional research-supported tips

  • Get enough sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. (research)
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet can help to improve your mood and energy levels. (research)
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. Alcohol and drugs can worsen depression symptoms. (research)
  • Connect with others. Spending time with loved ones can help to improve your mood and reduce feelings of isolation. (research)
  • Do things you enjoy. Make time for activities that you used to enjoy. (research)

Thing 2 - AI of the week

  • Ilya Sutskever (one of OpenAI cofounders), Daniel Gross, and Daniel Levy founded Safe Superintelligence Inc
  • MIT's Future You helps you communicate with your potential future you
  • Anthropic released a new model Claude 3.5 Sonnet - twice the speed of Opus and fifth the cost.

Looks epic on benchmarks:

  • Genspark looks like an up-and-coming Perplexity competitor
    I haven't used it much yet, but I use Perplexity more than Google these days...

Thing 3 - Uncanny Valley

The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of robotics and 3D computer animation that suggests that humanoid objects that resemble actual human beings but are not quite there yet provoke uncanny, or strangely familiar, feelings of eeriness and revulsion in observers. (examples)

One of the most frightening things I've ever heard is when someone pointed out that the existence of the uncanny valley implies that at some point there was an evolutionary reason to be afraid of something that looked human but wasn't.

- David Szymanski

This quote would make a great plot for a Sci-Fi movie, I'd watch that, but...

One plausible explanation could be disease avoidance. From an evolutionary perspective, we're predisposed to avoid those who appear sick or deceased to prevent the spread of disease. An entity that looks almost human but not quite right might trigger this deep-seated aversion, signaling a potential herm.

Another theory might involve mate selection - individuals who appeared different or odd could have been avoided as potential mates due to the risks of genetic diseases or poor genetic health. This instinctive drive to ensure healthy offspring might explain a part of the unease that comes with entities that are near-human but not quite right.

Or maybe it's aliens...

Cheers, Zvonimir