Empty Brain – Empty Project

I criticised the Human Brain Project about this time last year, and recently responded to this Aeon piece by Robert Epstein;

“The Empty Brain.
Your brain does not process information,
retrieve knowledge or store memories.
In short: your brain is not a computer.”

Well actually, of course, I say it does and it is;

Your brain does process information,
does store memories
and does retrieve knowledge.
It does do computation.

What’s wrong is the component model of a computer as some kind of CPU plus RAM/Storage. As I said when I commented earlier in the week, it’s actually a good article (recommended again today by Massimo Pigliucci) it just suffers from headline-writer’s click-bait.


[Post Note : Jeffrey Shallit at Recursed blog, rejecting the same Epstein piece & headline above and who agrees with me for the same component modelling reasons:]

Yes, Your Brain Certainly Is a Computer

Did you hear the news, Victoria? Over in the States those clever Yanks have invented a flying machine!
– A flying machine! Good heavens! What kind of feathers does it have?
– Feathers? It has no feathers.
– Well, then, it cannot fly. Everyone knows that things that fly have feathers. It is preposterous to claim that something can fly without them.

And interestingly, here Epstein reviewing George Zarkadakis book on AI et al (now on order). Pigliucci was also at #HTLGI (next post). And, I responded to a few tweeted comments from Zarkadakis talking on transhumanism and related topics at BHA2016. And more from Zarkadakis. I’ll say more when I’ve read his book. I may be some time – I’ve read most of it but so far it feels like the usual breathless hype round AI.

And – Zarkadakis again – I support his disagreement with Musk over the sci-fi idea of an AI “Singularity” as a threat to humanity – but do NOT agree with his reasoning that machines cannot be conscious or have conscious intelligence as opposed to machine automation. Of course machines can become properly intelligent and conscious – they will have “real intelligence” when they do. Most so-called AI is simply unconscious automation.]

One thought on “Empty Brain – Empty Project”

Leave a Reply

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