Models, metaphors and minds: Is the brain really a computer?

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Models, metaphors and minds: Is the brain really a computer?

Quote:The idea of the brain as a computer is everywhere. So much so we have forgotten it is a model and not the reality. It’s a metaphor that has lead some to believe that in the future they'll be uploaded to the digital ether and thereby achieve immortality. It’s also a metaphor that garners billions of dollars in research funding every year. Yet researchers argue that when we dig down into our grey matter our biology is anything but algorithmic. And increasingly, critics contend that the model of the brain as computer is sending scientists (and their resources) nowhere fast.

Is our attraction to the idea of the brain as computer an accident of current human technology? Can we find a better metaphor that might lead to a new paradigm?

Is there something about computers that has indeed identified the very same processes that are operating in our brains, or is it a profound mistake to imagine the organic can be reduced to technology?

The Panel

Senior Economist Editor and author Kenneth Cukier, world-leading ethics, technology and AI expert Joanna Bryson, and psychedelic philosopher Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes get to grips with the concept of a 'mind'.
'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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[Image: screenshot-2023-03-25-at-11-55-09-comput...search.png]
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
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(2023-03-24, 06:37 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Is our attraction to the idea of the brain as computer an accident of current human technology? Can we find a better metaphor that might lead to a new paradigm?
It is interesting that the same sort of debate used to surround clockwork devices!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Restless-Clock-...B014RWV2CQ

David
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Sci,

I don't know if it makes too much sense to post links to sites that require a fee. I know there is a free month, but to access that you have to give them your billing details - obviously in the hope that you will forget to cancel after the month!  Maybe restrictions of his sort should reduce the interest in a link in your mind when you are deciding if it is worth posting it. I mean obviously there may be really exciting articles that would be worth the effort, but otherwise what do others think?

David
(This post was last modified: 2023-03-26, 03:35 PM by David001. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2023-03-26, 03:34 PM)David001 Wrote: Sci,

I don't know if it makes too much sense to post links to sites that require a fee. I know there is a free month, but to access that you have to give them your billing details - obviously in the hope that you will forget to cancel after the month!  Maybe restrictions of his sort should reduce the interest in a link in your mind when you are deciding if it is worth posting it. I mean obviously there may be really exciting articles that would be worth the effort, but otherwise what do others think?

David

Ah I'm not sure when they put this behind a paywall. I was thinking it was still publicly accessible.

But I agree & apologies - I'll double check to make sure non-payers can access these things next time! Thumbs Up
'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 is worth noting that the IAI also serve up their output as a Youtube channel. I thought that this might be a way to listen to their talks while 'paying' by enduring their adverts. However, all you get is a few minutes of introduction followed by an invitation to subscribe.

David
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