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Daniel Wolpert: The real reason for brains

Daniel Wolpert: The real reason for brains

Related:  Evolutionary Psych

Why do some people blink more than others? - The Naked Scientists August 2008 Listen Now Download as mp3 from the show The Sounds of Science Question Roy Preston asked: Connectome A connectome* is the complete map of the neural connections in a brain. It is sometimes referred to as a “wiring diagram” of the molecular connections between neurons, trading on the analogy of a brain to an electronic device, where axons and dendrites are wires and neuron bodies are components. Depending on the scientist, the term connectome may or may not also include learning-relevant molecular states at each synaptic connection (the "synaptome") and any learning-relevant changes in the nucleus of each neuron (the "epigenome"). At the level of whole brains, there can be fly connectomes, mouse connectomes, human connectomes, whale connectomes, and so on.

The Hivemind Singularity - Alan Jacobs In a near-future science fiction novel, human intelligence evolves into a hivemind that makes people the violent cells of a collective being. Slime mold network formation (Science). New Model Army, a 2010 novel by the English writer Adam Roberts, concerns itself with many things: the intimacy shared by soldiers at war, the motivating powers of memory and love, the rival merits of hierarchical and anarchic social structures, the legitimacy of the polity known as Great Britain, the question of European identity. Also giants. Cultural Transmission in Chimpanzees "Tradition" by Nathaniel Gold Culture defines who we are but few can explain where it comes from or why we adopt one tradition over another. In the classic musical The Fiddler on the Roof the family patriarch, Tevye, muses on this basic fact of human existence:

Scan Reveals Brain’s Structure To Be Much Simpler Than We Thought Peering into the brain with a scanner of unprecedented resolution, scientists discovered that the basic structure of neuronal networks was a simple, three-dimensional grid. More than any other part of the brain, the cerebral cortex makes us human. Through the electrical activity of the neuronal networks packed into the brain’s undulating outer surface we sense our environment, use and understand language, and separate good and evil. So, then, the biologist’s mantra, “form follows function,” means that when we learn about brain structure, we learn about our very nature. Last March a team of scientists used a new and powerful scanner to peer into the cerebral cortex and other underlying structures with an unprecedented level of resolution. What they found surprised them: rather than an incomprehensible bundle of twists and turns, the basic structure of the brain is a simple, three-dimensional grid.

Reinforcement Diagram of operant conditioning Although in many cases a reinforcing stimulus is a rewarding stimulus which is "valued" or "liked" by the individual (e.g., money received from a slot machine, the taste of the treat, the euphoria produced by an addictive drug), this is not a requirement. Indeed, reinforcement does not even require an individual to consciously perceive an effect elicited by the stimulus.[1] Furthermore, stimuli that are "rewarding" or "liked" are not always reinforcing: if an individual eats at a fast food restaurant (response) and likes the taste of the food (stimulus), but believes it is bad for their health, they may not eat it again and thus it was not reinforcing in that condition.[citation needed] Thus, reinforcement occurs only if there is an observable strengthening in behavior.

JCS, Journal of Consciousness Studies Critical Reviews The complete text from which these are extracted is available. See also Editorial: The Future of Consciousness Studies Over the last few years, research into consciousness has at last become accepted within the academic community. As John Searle puts it, raising the subject of consciousness in cognitive science discussions is no longer considered to be ``bad taste'', causing graduate students to ``roll their eyes at the ceiling and assume expressions of mild disgust.'' But why are we interested in consciousness?

How to Build a Global Brain Abstract This is a high level description of a software project currently underway. Do not confuse the casual hubris of this document with groundlessness. There is no profound new AI technology in this effort. Late Bloomers: "New" Genes May Have Played a Role in Human Brain Evolution Billions of years ago, organic chemicals in the primordial soup somehow organized themselves into the first organisms. A few years ago scientists found that something similar happens every once in awhile in the cells of all living things: bits of once-quiet stretches of DNA sometimes spontaneously assemble themselves into genes. Such "de novo" genes may go on to play significant roles in the evolution of individual organisms—even humans.

No More Skipping Your Medicine – FDA Approves First Digital Pill Approved by the FDA, a sand-sized chip sends a signal via cell phone to doctors to let them know when and if medication was taken. The Food and Drug Administration has just approved a device that is integrated into pills and let’s doctors know when patients take their medicine – and when they don’t. Adherence to prescriptions is a serious problem, as about half of all patients don’t take medications the way they’re supposed to.

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