Capacity of the brain
Wordsmyth at Rocketmail.com
Tue Aug 31 08:54:44 EST 1999
TTK Ciar wrote:
> * Some low-level details of the neuron and synapse necessary for knowing
> the answer to the question are not currently known to medical science.
bj: I would say that this is undoubtedly true.
> * The capabilities of an information system is not necessarily equivalent
> to the sum of its parts, or even necessarily readily ascertainable by the
> examination of its parts.
bj: Which assertion is dramatically true of quantum systems.
> * What we think we do know about how neurons and synapses work is not
> readily comparable to how modern computer systems work, though it might be
> able to compare them strictly on the basis of informational complexity.
bj: My best guess is that information theory is inadequate to the
problem of modeling the varieties of sensory experience, much less the
higher-order cognitive processes.
> It is *believed* that synapses convey data in binary format, ie they can
> fire or not fire, and the only information the neuron possesses about its
> neurons are that they are firing or not firing.
bj: I would predict that this widely held assumption will prove to be
... the use of functions within the neuron more
> complex than the threshold function, and non-binary use of the signal
> generated by firing synapses (ie, as wave forms;
bj: I am firmly persuaded that we ought to look for wave forms riding
along on the "carrier waves" of synaptic discharges.
> On the extreme end, Penrose (who is, in my opinion, completely off the wall)
bj: No. Penrose only made it respectable for us "quantum mind" guys to
talk about such things. Before he jumped on board, I was only a voice
whining in the wilderness.
has hypothesized that individual neurons are quantum computers of
> enormous power. In my own opinion, it is reasonable to construct a
> hypothetical "low end" model of the neuron as the simple threshold device
> which is influenced by gradual changes in neurotransmitter levels not
> directly affected by neural computation, and a hypothetical "high end"
> model of the neuron as a simple arithmetic and/or logical function, with
> each firing synapse contributing up to 4 bits of information apiece via
> waveform variation.
bj: Whereas I would argue that this approach is highly unreasonable. But
I am in the middle of hay fever season, and chronically tired and
cranky, so I will put off arguing the matter for a while
Quanta & Consciousness
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