Sunday, June 22, 2014

Building a Brain - All in the Mind


A couple of weeks ago, on ABC's Radio National (Australia), All in the Mind featured a discussion about new technologies in "building" a brain that is comparable to a human brain. Most of the research seems to be taking a bottom-up approach, building from neurons to networks to modules.

I'm skeptical.

Perhaps we build simulation circuits, but a whole brain is not likely in my opinion. Even if we could build a brain, we could never build a mind - mind is an emergent property for which a brain is necessary but not sufficient. Mind requires somatic sensory input, interpersonal relationships, all of which is embedded in environmental and temporal space.

Building a Brain

Sunday 8 June 2014 | Lynne Malcolm
The international race is on to build a bionic brain, so that scientists can more deeply understand it, and develop new treatments for brain disease.  But where do you start?  Some are working on the cells and neurons and how they communicate, others on the technologies  and supercomputing power required, and then there’s the mind bending question of consciousness. We hear from the world’s top brain builders on this complex and exciting challenge.  

  • Professor Henry Markram - Professor at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Director of The Blue Brain Project and the Human Brain Project 
  • Professor Bob Williamson - Past Secretary for Science Policy at the Australian Academy of Science, Honorary Senior Principal Fellow of the Murdoch Institute, University of Melbourne and Monash University 
  • Professor Ralph Greenspan - Associate Director, Kavli Institute for Mind and Brain
Further Information  

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