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A Neuroscientist's Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious - Wired Science

A Neuroscientist's Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious - Wired Science
It’s a question that’s perplexed philosophers for centuries and scientists for decades: Where does consciousness come from? We know it exists, at least in ourselves. But how it arises from chemistry and electricity in our brains is an unsolved mystery. Neuroscientist Christof Koch, chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, thinks he might know the answer. According to Koch, consciousness arises within any sufficiently complex, information-processing system. All animals, from humans on down to earthworms, are conscious; even the internet could be. “The electric charge of an electron doesn’t arise out of more elemental properties. What Koch proposes is a scientifically refined version of an ancient philosophical doctrine called panpsychism — and, coming from someone else, it might sound more like spirituality than science. WIRED: How did you come to believe in panpsychism? Christof Koch: I grew up Roman Catholic, and also grew up with a dog. Koch: That’s true.

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Recurrent neural network A recurrent neural network (RNN) is a class of neural network where connections between units form a directed cycle. This creates an internal state of the network which allows it to exhibit dynamic temporal behavior. Unlike feedforward neural networks, RNNs can use their internal memory to process arbitrary sequences of inputs. This makes them applicable to tasks such as unsegmented connected handwriting recognition, where they have achieved the best known results.[1]

What is Reality? When you woke up this morning, you found the world largely as you left it. You were still you; the room in which you awoke was the same one you went to sleep in (hopefully). The outside world had not been rearranged. History was unchanged and the future remained unknowable. In other words, you woke up to reality. Gabriel Kreiman Tests Free Will with Single-Neuron Measurements of Pre-Conscious Activity It was an expedition seeking something never caught before: a single human neuron lighting up to create an urge, albeit for the minor task of moving an index finger, before the subject was even aware of feeling anything. Four years ago, Itzhak Fried, a neurosurgeon at the University of California, Los Angeles, slipped several probes, each with eight hairlike electrodes able to record from single neurons, into the brains of epilepsy patients. (The patients were undergoing surgery to diagnose the source of severe seizures and had agreed to participate in experiments during the process.)

Lab-Grown Model Brains Cross-section of cerebral organoid; All cells in blue, neural stem cells in red, and neurons in green. MADELINE A. LANCASTERIn an Austrian laboratory, a team of scientists has grown three-dimensional models of embryonic human brains. These “cerebral organoids” are made from stem cells, which are simply bathed in the right cocktail of nutrients and grown in a spinning chamber. A smart local moving algorithm for large-scale modularity-based community detection Our smart local moving (SLM) algorithm is an algorithm for community detection (or clustering) in large networks. The SLM algorithm maximizes a so-called modularity function. The algorithm has been successfully applied to networks with tens of millions of nodes and hundreds of millions of edges.

Google scientist Jeff Dean on how neural networks are improving everything Google does Simon Dawson Google's goal: A more powerful search that full understands answers to commands like, "Book me a ticket to Washington DC." Jon Xavier, Web Producer, Silicon Valley Business Journal New Study Confirms Universe Is A Hologram By Steven Bancarz| Are we living in a hologram? Energy fields are decoded by our brains into a 3D picture, to give the illusion of a physical world. Despite its apparent materiality, the universe is a kind of 3-D projection and is ultimately no more real than a hologram. And some recent scientific discoveries support the conclusion that the universe is one big holographic projection. The building blocks of reality are behaving in ways which are inexplicable and can only make sense if we think of the universe in terms of a holographic field, not an empty container filled with objects. A recent study published in Nature suggests that the universe may be one big projection, according to their simulations.

Brain Waves as Neural Correlates of Consciousness When we are thinking, thoughts flicker in and out of our minds. What does that mean on the level of the brain? Recent research, conducted by researchers at at MIT and Boston University, suggests that when thoughts are in our minds, corresponding groups of neurons are oscillating in synchrony in a high frequency range, around 30 or higher, whereas thoughts that are no longer in our minds oscillate at lower frequencies. When several, distinct thoughts are held in mind simultaneously, several oscillating bundles are out of sync with each other. The normal waken brain has brain activity that fluctuates between 8 and 100 Hz.

New tasks become as simple as waving a hand with brain-computer interfaces Small electrodes placed on or inside the brain allow patients to interact with computers or control robotic limbs simply by thinking about how to execute those actions. This technology could improve communication and daily life for a person who is paralyzed or has lost the ability to speak from a stroke or neurodegenerative disease. Now, University of Washington researchers have demonstrated that when humans use this technology – called a brain-computer interface – the brain behaves much like it does when completing simple motor skills such as kicking a ball, typing or waving a hand. Learning to control a robotic arm or a prosthetic limb could become second nature for people who are paralyzed.