Neural legos

I just spent a week with neuroscience and vision people, and was pointed to an interesting pair of relatively recent neuroscience papers (by Rodrigo Perin, Henry Markram, and Thomas K Berger) with interesting potentially computational-level implications that I want to think through. First, a disclaimer: I'm not a neuroscientist, and I can't personally evaluate the biological methodology. But, assuming their basic measurements and interpretations are correct, I think the work is really cool.

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On "Brain Uploading"

PZ Myers posted yesterday about problems with this idea of "brain uploading". Basically, "brain uploading" is this theoretical technology wherein people would be able to obtain immortality and/or superhuman intelligence by replicating the structure of their brain on a computer. Proponents say it should work because they believe the "computational theory of mind," which states that minds just are computational activity. "Brain uploading" is supposed to be implemented by cutting a brain into very thin slices, scanning those slices with some kind of high-resolution microscope, and then reconstructing the structure of the brain in a software program that emulates how neurons work. Since we take the computational theory of mind for granted, and since the brain is what runs the computer program of the mind, this should be sufficient to resurrect an exact copy of the mind that had been previously run on the brain.

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