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machine brains

houlepn at my-dejanews.com houlepn at my-dejanews.com
Sun Mar 7 14:25:49 EST 1999

In article <36e29e9c.3211225 at news-server>,
  ZZZghull at stny.lrun.com (Jerry Hull) wrote:
> malcolm at pigsty.demon.co.uk (Malcolm McMahon)

> > You'd inject vast numbers of nano-machines into the CS fluid. These
> > nanites would spread throughout the CNS, following and tagging neural
> > processes, examining the state of pre-synaptic membranes in order to
> > measure the "gain" on the different synapses. Each nanomachine would
> > record a few neurons in detail together with information about other
> > nano-machines and their tags encountered. When they'd been in for long
> > enough you'd "lure" them out of the body with some kind of marker
> > chemical. Between them they'd cary an almost complete picture of the
> > engram.
> You assume you know how the brain stores information; I believe this has not
> yet been settled.  Certainly there must be SOMETHING in the brain, &c. that
> contains ALL the information involved in any given thought, but since we have
> not yet nailed that down, it's hardly simply a TECHNICAL problem.
> > We already model very simple neural networks on ordinary computers or
> > specialised hardware.
> But we don't know how well NNs emulate real neurons, or whether they capture
> ALL neural behavior relevant to consciousness.  The problem is sooo easy when
> you just assume it has been solved.

It seems to me Malcolm McMahon's position relies on the assumption that this
problem can be solved in principle (and will probably be solved technically
some time in the future).  Your position seems to rely on the assumption
that this solution can not even be found in principle.  Otherwise why not
accept that some yet to be found physical structure/process X stores the
information, just for the sake of the argument?

Pierre-Normand Houle

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