[FoRK] Brain mapping and the connectome

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca
Sat Nov 7 16:27:37 PST 2009

--- On Sat, 11/7/09, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:

> From: Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org>
> Ken writes:
> > your wavefront of *human* intelligence
> To be clear:  I didn't (and don't) insist on *human*
> intelligence.  I did (and do) insist on *human-derived*
> intelligence (as that's more or less the only measure we've
> got right now, modulo efforts like Shane Legg's.)

I'm afraid I'm much more selfish than you. If we're going to destroy the planet in the search for and creation of an analog to send out into the universe in place of our meat, if it's not essentially "us" I'm not interested.

I'm okay with virtual humanity. But if our surrogate is just a faster computer, what's the point? It's really no more significant than the last person breathing putting a big shiny plaque on top of the tallest pile of garbage to show we were here.

Re: the link in your last post, thanks. I looked at the slides from Schneider's presentation of last year. It was quite interesting. I did not look through the paper .. the details of the subject are quite beyond me.

But it still leaves me with the same question. It's mapping the hardware. His analogy of mapping a laptop from the outside was, I thought, quite appropriate. You can, if you are persistent enough, ultimately reverse-engineer and replicate its functionality. But what about the software that allows it to do something useful once you've reconstructed it?

Anything I read about AI suggests they're a long ways from creating anything that can make any more than the most simple decisions and still aren't close to something that can learn.

I quote from Scheider's slide presentation:

"Note the new data on brain connectivity will not provide a direct diagram for building artificial congnitive agents. Rather it will likely provide key data that helps identify principles that will allow future theoreticians come up with workable architectures that create human scale cognition."

It still sounds to me that we're quite a ways away from putting the whole ball of wax together to build something with 'human scale cognition'.

And I haven't seen Consciousness mentioned anywhere in the discussion yet.


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