Can lab-grown brains become conscious?

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Can lab-grown brains become conscious?

Sara Reardon


Quote:This type of brain-wide, coordinated electrical activity is one of the properties of a conscious brain. The team’s finding led ethicists and scientists to raise a host of moral and philosophical questions about whether organoids should be allowed to reach this level of advanced development, whether ‘conscious’ organoids might be entitled to special treatment and rights not afforded to other clumps of cells and the possibility that consciousness could be created from scratch.

The idea of bodiless, self-aware brains was already on the minds of many neuroscientists and bioethicists. Just a few months earlier, a team at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, announced that it had at least partially restored life to the brains of pigs that had been killed hours earlier. By removing the brains from the pigs’ skulls and infusing them with a chemical cocktail, the researchers revived the neurons’ cellular functions and their ability to transmit electrical signals2.

Other experiments, such as efforts to add human neurons to mouse brains, are raising questions, with some scientists and ethicists arguing that these experiments should not be allowed.

The studies have set the stage for a debate between those who want to avoid the creation of consciousness and those who see complex organoids as a means to study devastating human diseases...

Well this is just disturbing...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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It really is disturbing, but at the same time these things will come up in the advancement of science. Just have to decide what we need to do when we hit them. The pig brain one was already a bit of a landmark but luckily they weren't actually restoring the pigs to awareness, just getting some electricity to flicker. 

I don't see why a lab brain couldn't become conscious, but then that brings the point too of maybe we shouldn't be tormenting them, least that's what I think. We aren't like Nazi doctors we don't need to sate our curiosity THAT badly.
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(2020-11-03, 10:07 PM)Smaw Wrote: It really is disturbing, but at the same time these things will come up in the advancement of science. Just have to decide what we need to do when we hit them. The pig brain one was already a bit of a landmark but luckily they weren't actually restoring the pigs to awareness, just getting some electricity to flicker. 

I don't see why a lab brain couldn't become conscious, but then that brings the point too of maybe we shouldn't be tormenting them, least that's what I think. We aren't like Nazi doctors we don't need to sate our curiosity THAT badly.

The background of this statement is the assumption that consciousness is in some way generated by the brain, which seems to be untenable in the many ways explored in these pages. I guess if a lab-grown brain developed consciousness this would falsify the spirit hypothesis, unless the explanation were that preexisting disembodied consciousness somehow decided to take up such an unsuitable residence. But there would be a major practical problem in finding this out - developing some way to reliably detect consciousness in a disembodied brain. Techniques like EEG and fMRI would not work, since they could just be correlations not causes. Maybe telepathic communication.
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Well I don't see why a lab grown brain would be any different from something like a baby. If it eventually grows enough, gets the ability that humans do and gets smart enough why wouldn't be in conscious? It could develop a soul, be a part of the idealist mind or tune into the soul frequency whichever way you believe it goes. It may not be conscious in the same way humans are, due to lacking absolutely every source of sensory input that gives us some character though. Something entirely unique and of its own.
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(2020-11-04, 02:21 AM)nbtruthman Wrote: The background of this statement is the assumption that consciousness is in some way generated by the brain, which seems to be untenable in the many ways explored in these pages. I guess if a lab-grown brain developed consciousness this would falsify the spirit hypothesis, unless the explanation were that preexisting disembodied consciousness somehow decided to take up such an unsuitable residence. But there would be a major practical problem in finding this out - developing some way to reliably detect consciousness in a disembodied brain. Techniques like EEG and fMRI would not work, since they could just be correlations not causes. Maybe telepathic communication.

I don't think it would falsify the spirit hypothesis, since we don't really know what it takes for a spirit to inhabit a body or be created at the same time as a body.

Heck, we don't even know what a soul is, it's a sort of placeholder word that could be a subtle-body or a PoV alter or a sort of Aristotelian/Platonic Form.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2020-11-04, 04:31 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I don't think it would falsify the spirit hypothesis, since we don't really know what it takes for a spirit to inhabit a body or be created at the same time as a body.

Heck, we don't even know what a soul is, it's a sort of placeholder word that could be a subtle-body or a PoV alter or a sort of Aristotelian/Platonic Form.

I would say that the answer to the OP question was absolutely not. Unless disembodied "consciousness" (psyche, self, soul) wanted to inhabit it, if it was or could be made suitably inhabitable, which it never could. 

But that's from someone who doesn't believe that brains create consciousness. I do wonder how they would determine that there was consciousness present, just looking at a lump of warm protoplasm, though. They would also have to 'grow' the eight (4 each side?) lobes of the brain that process the various sensory information thought to be responsible for the single consciousness that we experience...ourselves (the binding problem).
(This post was last modified: 2020-11-04, 02:30 PM by tim.)
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Hasn't it been established elsewhere that these 'lab-grown brains' have several stark differences compared to real human brains anyways?
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(2020-11-04, 04:15 AM)Smaw Wrote: Well I don't see why a lab grown brain would be any different from something like a baby. If it eventually grows enough, gets the ability that humans do and gets smart enough why wouldn't be in conscious? It could develop a soul, be a part of the idealist mind or tune into the soul frequency whichever way you believe it goes. It may not be conscious in the same way humans are, due to lacking absolutely every source of sensory input that gives us some character though. Something entirely unique and of its own.

"It could develop a soul, be a part of the idealist mind or tune into the soul frequency whichever way you believe it goes."

Well, I don't believe any of those options.

Research into both NDEs an past-life recall leads to the narrative that a pre-existing soul either chooses voluntarily, or is "persuaded" to inhabit a material body. Much more research and understanding of how and why this happens would be needed before we could conclude anything about whether or not a soul would take up residence in a laboratory specimen.
(This post was last modified: 2020-11-04, 03:38 PM by Typoz.)
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(2020-11-04, 03:36 PM)Typoz Wrote: "It could develop a soul, be a part of the idealist mind or tune into the soul frequency whichever way you believe it goes."

Well, I don't believe any of those options.

Research into both NDEs an past-life recall leads to the narrative that a pre-existing soul either chooses voluntarily, or is "persuaded" to inhabit a material body. Much more research and understanding of how and why this happens would be needed before we could conclude anything about whether or not a soul would take up residence in a laboratory specimen.

That's very funny, Typoz and also quite apt.
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(2020-11-04, 04:10 PM)tim Wrote: That's very funny, Typoz and also quite apt.

In fairness, I was re-stating something Nbtruthman previously posted:
(2020-11-04, 02:21 AM)nbtruthman Wrote: ... I guess if a lab-grown brain developed consciousness this would falsify the spirit hypothesis, unless the explanation were that preexisting disembodied consciousness somehow decided to take up such an unsuitable residence.

I'm picturing something like a hermit crab, which does choose from whatever homes are available in the property market.
(This post was last modified: 2020-11-04, 04:29 PM by Typoz.)
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