Akash Kulgod

91Joined May 2022


I'm a recent Cognitive Science graduate from UC Berkeley currently based in Karnataka, India. 

My primary focus is fleshing out an early stage research project/startup/DAO funded by Emergent Ventures India that aims to leverage neurotechnology and machine learning to augment canine disease detection. Success could entail wider deployment of disease detection dogs to bolster biosecurity (e.g. airports, farms) and potentially the ability for untrained dogs at homes to detect diseases like cancer at an early stage.

I'm also a co-founder of  Sunflower Sutras, a cognitive science/consciousness media project seeking to weave traditional contemplative traditions with modern neuroscience. I'll be spearheading the substack and podcast and hope to write about unorthodox theories of consciousness, psychedelics, etc.

My family has been running  a non-profit for almost a decade - Rajalakshmi Children Foundation - in Northern Karnataka that works on improving the health and education floor of underprivileged children.  We recently started a talent search program in collaboration with Ravindranath Guruvannavar, an ex IIT Bombay professor, and  funded by FTX's Future Fund, to raise the aspirations and potential of the most gifted children in rural Northern Karnataka. While I'm not actively involved, I'm keyed into the work and would love to spark beneficial collaborations.

Substack - https://akashkulgod.substack.com/

Rajalakshmi Children Foundation- rajalakshmifoundation.in


Thank you for providing such an in-depth response to my posts Brendan. I really appreciate the sentiment and tone, constructive dialogue like this is what drew me towards EA and motivates me (and other folks I bet) to write on the forum.

Just about to start the Annapurna Circuit so it'll be a few weeks before I can continue the conversation. I look forward to the unfolding of a spontaneous adversarial collaboration and the advancement of interventions that raise the physical and cognitive floor potential of the people of India. Do hope more voices join and flesh out the many threads at play already.

Surprised to see no Indian languages mentioned in the language list. I realize it's non-exhaustive but would have expected Hindi to make such a list over other languages, given the number of speakers. 

I really appreciate your comment Karthik as I was wrestling with the same feelings myself - the majority of streeties I've met at home and during travels have seemed to live happy, agentic lives. I'd go so far as to say some of them lived better lives than many companion dogs — they had complete freedom (to many housed dogs live the majority of their lives tied in the same place), had rich social lives and were allowed to live out their natural impulses. I'm hesitant to know how much to trust this experience, the happy/friendly dogs are far more likely to be the ones I've interacted with, and it seems undeniable that the high early mortality, short lifespans, and general insecurity of basic needs suggests a less than desirable state of being. But, I take back how strongly I worded the sentence you quote.

I also realized while writing the tension between highlighting WALYs lost by premature pup deaths and suggesting  birth control as an intervention. It seems to boil down to - does the average streetie live a happy life? It's a seemingly impossible question and I don't know yet what my answer is. For what it's worth, on an IG poll I just ran 16 ppl voted No and 4 voted Yes.

About the DALY-WALY conversion, honestly I don't find comparing cortical neurons to assess degrees of suffering meaningful but I'll admit to not knowing a better way. I think this is where EA's forcing apples to be oranges so we can crunch them together breaks down. However, note that DALY-WALY is not the same as dog life - human life, because humans live 8x longer lives. So the 30:1 ratio is implying you should save a human baby over saving 240 puppies.  Curious to know if you think that's too high based off your 1/100th, which would imply the 30:1 ratio is actually too conservative.

Thanks for the comment and apologies for the delay in responding!

  1. That's a great point and you're  right that lower estimates  are likely influenced by prevailing mass iron supplements. In their paper estimating the new cutoffs, they exclude individuals meeting the criteria for iron-deficiency using the WHO, 2020 cut-offs (12 μg/L for 1–4 years, <15 μg/L for 5–19 years), since they need a healthy sample on which to base the new cut-offs on. It seems quite probable that this sample would look different if you excluded those who were taking supplements already.  I posted the table from the paper with the percentage difference of anemia by age group b/w WHO and new cut-offs and the drop is pretty substantial for most groups. So, I still expect a drop in the supplements but someone's got to run some models to quantify this drop more accurately.
  2. Interesting, could you elaborate more on how exactly it could be p-hacking? I have a decent understanding of  p-hacking in neuroscience and it goes as follows - you collect data from hundreds of voxels, apply different connectivity outcome measures and see which voxels slide under the p<0.05 and then claim that was your outcome measure all along and don't correct for multiple comparisons. In the case, would the claim be that the authors ran multiple samples on the data and chose the one which showed an association above 1.001?

Not sure why my link is just rerouting to this page, url is earthspecies.org

There is the Earth Species project, an "open-source collaborative and non-profit dedicated to decoding non-human language" co-founded by Aza Raskin and based in Berkeley. Seems like Project Ceti but for all other-than-humans. They're just getting started but truly excited by  such projects and the use of AI to bridge Umwelts. Thanks for the post.

The link to the Health prompt page on the website leads to the Development prompt page