PyBrain Paralyzed Rats Learn to Walk Again Paralyzed rats learned to walk again after a combination of electro-chemical stimulation to their injured spines and intensive rehabilitation therapy. Researchers say the treatment “woke up” dormant or sleeping neurons in their spinal cords, and formed new connections to the brain. Scientists hope the treatment might someday help paralyzed humans. Researchers at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, injected a mixture of chemicals to stimulate the rats' spinal nerve cells, which communicate with the brain. The rats were also placed in a robotic device that looks like a little vest, to support their weight. During the first few weeks after the treatment, lead researcher Grégoire Courtine at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne says the rats did not move their legs. At the end of six to seven weeks, Courtine says, the rats were able to sprint up stairs, achieving what he calls 100 percent recuperation of voluntary movement.
Re-Evolving Mind, Hans Moravec, December 2000 Computers have permeated everyday life and are worming their way into our gadgets, dwellings, clothes, even bodies. But if pervasive computing soon automates most of our informational needs, it will leave untouched a vaster number of essential physical tasks. Construction, protection, repair, cleaning, transport and so forth will remain in human hands. Robot inventors in home, university and industrial laboratories have tinkered with the problem for most of the century. The first electronic computers in the 1950s did the work of thousands of clerks. But things are changing. The short answer is that, after decades at about one MIPS (million instructions (or calculations) per second), computer power available to research robots shot through 10, 100 and now 1,000 MIPS starting about 1990 (Figure 1). It was a common opinion in the AI labs that, with the right program, readily available computers could encompass any human skill. It's easy to explain the discrepancy in hindsight.
Spaun, the most realistic artificial human brain yet A group of neuroscientists and software engineers at the University of Waterloo in Canada are claiming to have built the world’s most complex, large-scale model simulation of the human brain. The simulated brain, which runs on a supercomputer, has a digital eye which it uses for visual input, a robotic arm that it uses to draw its responses — and it can pass the basic elements of an IQ test. The brain, called Spaun (Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network), consists of 2.5 million simulated neurons, allowing it to perform eight different tasks. These tasks range from copy drawing to counting, to question answering and fluid reasoning. Now, the nitty-gritty details. Spaun’s brain consists of 2.5 million neurons that are broken down into a bunch of simulated cranial subsystems, including the prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, and thalamus, which are wired together with simulated neurons that very accurately mimic the wiring of a real human brain.
brain trouble By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on October 8, 2012 UK researchers report the discovery of a neural mechanism that protects individuals from stress and trauma turning into post-traumatic stress disorder. Investigators from the University of Exeter Medical School began with the knowledge of the brain’s “plasticity,” its unique capability to adapt to changing environments. The receptors (called protease-activated receptor 1 or PAR1) act in the same way as a command center, telling neurons whether they should stop or accelerate their activity. Normally, PAR1s tell amygdala neurons to remain active and produce vivid emotions. This adaptation helps us to keep our fear under control, and not to develop exaggerated responses to mild or irrelevant fear triggers. In the study, researchers used a mouse model in which the PAR1 receptors were genetically de-activated. The study has been published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
Information retrieval Information retrieval is the activity of obtaining information resources relevant to an information need from a collection of information resources. Searches can be based on metadata or on full-text (or other content-based) indexing. Automated information retrieval systems are used to reduce what has been called "information overload". Many universities and public libraries use IR systems to provide access to books, journals and other documents. Web search engines are the most visible IR applications. Overview An information retrieval process begins when a user enters a query into the system. An object is an entity that is represented by information in a database. Most IR systems compute a numeric score on how well each object in the database matches the query, and rank the objects according to this value. History Model types For effectively retrieving relevant documents by IR strategies, the documents are typically transformed into a suitable representation. Recall
Mice have different neural subsystem associated with instinctually important smells A new study finds that mice have a distinct neural subsystem that links the nose to the brain and is associated with instinctually important smells such as those emitted by predators. That insight, published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, prompts the question whether mice and other mammals have specially hardwired neural circuitry to trigger instinctive behavior in response to certain smells. In the series of experiments and observations described in the paper, the authors found that nerve cells in the nose that express members of the gene family of trace amine-associated receptors (TAAR) have several key biological differences from the much more common and diverse neurons that express members of the olfactory receptor gene family. Those other nerve cells detect a much broader range of smells, said corresponding author Gilad Barnea, the Robert and Nancy Carney Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Brown University. Different circuits and genes
Goertzel Contra Dvorsky on Mind Uploading Futurist pundit George Dvorsky recently posted an article on io9, labeled as “DEBUNKERY” and aimed at the topic of mind uploading. According to the good Mr. Dvorsky, “You’ll Probably Never Upload Your Mind into a Computer.” He briefly lists eight reasons why, in his view, mind uploading will likely never happen. UPDATE - here is a video interview on this subject: Note that he’s not merely arguing that mind uploading may come too late for you and me to take advantage of it – he’s arguing that it probably will never happen at all! The topic of Dvorsky’s skeptical screed is dear to my heart and mind. Every one of Dvorsky's objections has been aired many times before – which is fine, as his post is a journalistic article, not an original scientific or philosophic work, so it doesn’t necessarily have to break new ground. In this article I will briefly run through Dvorsky’s eight objections, and give my own, in some cases idiosyncratic, take on each of them. But, whatever…. So what? True enough.