2009/1/15 John Mikes <jami...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Stathis: (from reply to Brent):
> "I return to my question about what would happen if there were a
> discontinuity in a sequence of states,..."
> There IS discontinuity if the state "transits'(?) from s1 to s2.
> Do you have any idea how one can observe a changed state by only continuous
> transitions? Where do you pick the limit to call it the 'next' state? Isn't
> such 'arbitrary'?

This also involves answering the question of whether time and the
universe is fundamentally discrete or continuous.

> In your reply to me:
> I find the rat-related IBM publication wanting:
> "...Each of its microchips has been programmed to act just like a real
> neuron in a real brain...."
> How much we know about a 'real neuron' and its function is a matter of the
> present level of R&D. We know more than a decade ago and less than a decade
> hence. And the 'rat' discloses only its movements - evaluated and
> understood(?) at the complexity of the human brain. Would you draw valid
> conclusions on - say - personality by a silent film of only the movements of
> a person - even at matching complexity?
> I may write some distracting stories to follow 'movements'.
> A rat doesn't communicate with researcher. Rat-shrink?

What they ultimately aim to do is simulate a whole rat brain and then
see if exhibits ratlike behaviour. If it does, using this bottom up
approach, then I would say this is very good evidence that the
researchers have figured out what is important about how a neuron
works. It's straightforward experimental science.

> I wouldn't use Terry Seynowski's critical word that the brain is too
> 'mystrerious': it is too complex and poorly followable by our present level
> of our 2009 cognitive inventory. We can know just 'that' much and most
> likely there is much 'more' to it. (my 'enrichment' remark of past and
> future knowledge).
> Markram's work is glorious. That's the way we can proceed in widening our
> knowledge 10,000 'neurons' is a good start.
> But their fundamental tenet:
> "Every brain is made of the same basic parts...." -
> means a restriction to our ongoing physical/physiological observational
> capabilities which have shown incredible enlargement in the past (still
> within the 'physical world' figment). Frequencies, methods, evaluations are
> all limited.
> I keep it open that penetrating the Hard Problem we may find new phenomena
> unassignable to our present knowledge of the known tissue and physics.
> Nobody has diversified amp or MRI data to distinguish whether a blood-surge
> refers to a political opinion, love, boredom, financial expectation, or
> whatever, in a mentally-topical distinction.

I guess you don't expect this will happen, but what would you say if a
computer model of a brain based on relatively simple reductionist
assumptions, as Markram's team are attempting, did result in complex
emergent behaviour similar to that of a biological brain?

Stathis Papaioannou

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