The White Elephant with a Blue Brain

This is hilarious. [Hard copy of Scientific American June 2012] “The Human Brain Project”

Sad too, but since it seemed to be funded by Big Blue rather than public funds, maybe not actually criminal. But, aaaaggghh no, “The Human Brain Project” is a multi-billion EU project. Now that is criminal.

The saving grace being that latter 2015 article says The Human Brain Project is premature, it needs a rethink. I’ll say. What were they thinking of, other than all that lovely money. This is not hindsight but basic common sense, not science, obviously. Big science needs better non-scientific advisors.

I was reading the 2012 piece because I was given the hard copy last night. We were at a talk on consciousness, mind, decision-making and morality (more on which soon) and the topic came up (a la Dennett) that the key feature that makes the human brain a mind – our mind – was software, not hardware. No amount of physical scale (exa-flops) nor connectivity (connectome) makes it a mind. It makes it a very complex machine. Building an elctronic simulation may be a fine model of its physical working, as physiologiocal, elctro-thermo device, but it doesn’t come close to asking how does the brain work – as a mind.

[Post Note – not watched yet, but here another current machine-brain is a delusion piece shared by Johnnie on FB]

4 thoughts on “The White Elephant with a Blue Brain”

  1. But in a not von Newman machine you can not distinguish between hard and soft.

  2. Agreed. And in a brain, the hard is soft anyway – plastic – rewiring itself in real time. The “firmware” view blurs the distinction, but the point remains a purely hardware focussed model / solution is wrong.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.