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Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 1) 205 205

You're using terms wrong, and your attempts to cover this up don't hold water.

Single cell recording doesn't have anything to do with induction.

When you say "Other biological imaging techniques, such as NMR and MRI", you're implying these are different neuroimaging techniques ; they are not. MRI is another word for NMR. The method was renamed for the general public to make people less worried when they hear the word "nuclear", but it's the same thing.

Likewise, you keep asserting that we have no idea how it works, but we have significantl more than "no idea", despite not having a full path from physics to function yet. Localisation of function is part of the how. We understand a lot of the signaling between neurons and the physics within them, as well as how signals strengthen.

Crack a textbook on this. I won't say you know *nothing*, but you're not particularly knowledgable about this and reading up would help a lot. You keep saying things that don't square with current knowledge in the field, and some of the things you've never were true. I'm sure you've become emotionally invested in calling this a "cargo cult" again and again, and I don't expect you to yield in this conversation because that's not really how arguments work, but to anyone who's done work in the field you're going to come across as quite clueless and not many of them are going to bother to walk through your mistakes when you keep repeating them. This is established science you're arguing with, and your arguments simply don't matter. The science has happened without you and it will continue to happen without you.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 1) 205 205

Yes, but so what? Mapping function is still a significant advance - considerably distinct from your initial claims (that bothered me so much) that we have no idea how the brain works. This is laying the groundwork for other research and other methods.

Our imaging is not generally "thermal", and we have a variety of techniques, some of which have fantastic temporal resolution (at the expense of other things) and are close to "logic tracing", like single-cell recording. It's more limited though because neurons are different connectionwise from the chips we build.

Most of the research I've done is fMRI-based (NMR is just another name for MRI, it's weird to refer to them as separate things).

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 1) 205 205

Your claim here is not true. You'd be able to localise function with great precision, and with some time and tapping individual components, you'd make headway in far less than a thousand years. Just as our understanding of the brain has made rapid strides once we started getting good neuroimaging devices (not meaning to diminish all we've learned through studies of people with various lesions, of course).

Your entire perspective here flies in the face of a lot of really good science - no matter how convincing you may sound to people, your words are not sufficient in the face of that science, any more than a really good argument from a priest or philosopher about souls should distract people from proper science. Empirical study mediated by scientific communities will always be superiour to the assertions people can toss around.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 1) 205 205

The WSJ article isn't very good (as I noted in another comment); my comment here was mostly that we should also dismiss the commentary that the slashdot poster put alongside it.

We know what most regions of the brain do. We have the ability to record some parts of the brain (at various levels) and have models that can predict activation levels based on subtasks. In the visual cortex, there are even people who can decode significant bits of the signal in V1. This is significant knowledge. It's not vague, and it's not trivial. We don't have the whole picture yet, true. We probably have a few decades to go for that.

While I agree that if we want a complete replica in code, we need much closer to a complete picture. I'm speaking from a neuroscience perspective though, where understanding is the metric.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 2) 205 205

Souls are a myth from prescientific times. There's no point in contending with such concepts - they're part of history and superstition. If you don't understand brains, that's sad but correctable. There's a lot of research that you could read up on.

Or I guess you could keep tossing that "cargo cult" term around and stay ignorant of the last 60 years.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 2) 205 205

The textbook I recommended above goes into this in much more detail, but I'll try to give a brief intro.

The currently dominant map for understanding brain structure is the Brodmann map ; it's largely anatomical (clusters of densely interlinked neurons with mappable connections to others. The visual cortex is composed of brodmann areas 17 (primary visual cortex, containing a more-or-less bitmapped visual field), 18 (secondary visual cortex), and 19 (Third visual cortex). The visual cortex is divided into two streams, a ventral stream used to identify and characterise objects, and a dorsal stream used to locate those objects in a strategic way. This is known as the "two streams hypothesis" (in case you want to look it up).

I could go a bit further, but I'm not sure how long slashdot's max comment length is and a textbook would probably give you a better understanding than what I can give you off the top of my head.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 4, Interesting) 205 205

Probably not - weak AI is typified by directly encoding domain knowledge on human capabilities into state machines, not typically meant to be neuroplausible or human-like. I believe the substrate here is wrong - real organisms learn (either as individuals or through generational building/encoding/selection towards instinct) how to do these things, and that knowledge is integrated. I don't think it'd be easy or likely that weak AI research methods will produce an integrated being with all these capabilities.

I'm sticking my neck out a bit here though; I'm not sure that weak AI research would be useless. Sufficiency versus usefulness is a complicated topic.

Also, my research was in neuroscience (led by cognitive modeling), not AI. It's a neighbouring field, but take what I have to say with at least a grain of salt.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 4, Informative) 205 205

The WSJ article links a paper from some researchers at Google:
The WSJ article isn't particularly good either; they misunderstand what's actually going on in the research, which seems to be about conversational modeling (a "weak AI" type of research, the "understanding" being very shallow). They point out a few applications of this kind of work though, and that seems pretty solid/useful. (It doesn't approach the goals of "strong AI", those being actually modeling semantics and deeper reasoning)

Comment: "No idea how... the brain works" (Score 4, Interesting) 205 205

I'm calling the poster here out as being full of shit. As someone who's done neuroscience research, the idea that "Humans have no idea how the human, or any other brain, works" is bollocks. We have a reasonably good idea on the large scale, and in certain areas (such as the visual cortex), that understanding is quite far along. There are frontiers to our knowledge, but human understanding of brains is well on its way. Poster needs to pick up some neuroscience textbooks and get clued.

As a particular recommendation, I'd suggest Kolb and Whishaw's "Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology"; it's an excellent textbook.

Much of the excitement we get out of our work is that we don't really know what we are doing. -- E. Dijkstra