. . . Allen has charged the Institute with tackling some of the most fundamental and complex questions in brain science today. The answers to these questions are essential for achieving a complete understanding of how the brain works, what goes wrong in brain-related diseases and disorders, and how best to treat them.
This huge outlay only covers the first four years of an ambitious 10-year plan of neuroscience research, allowing for a doubling of the Institute’s staff and launching three new and complementary scientific initiatives addressing critical questions central to understanding how the brain works:
How does the brain store, encode and process information?
What are the cellular building blocks that underlie all brain function, and are often targets of disease?
How do those cells develop, and then create the circuits that drive behavior, thought and brain dysfunction?
While this knowledge will certainly help understanding “brain-related diseases and disorders” it provides for other applications as well, including direct neural interfaces and uploading–two subjects at the core of transhumanist singularity scenarios.
While Mr. Allen is undoubtable rich enough to afford even such a princely sum, one has to wonder if his motives are related more to the latter than the former. After all, what good is being a billionaire if you can’t use it to live forever?
Instead of requiring the type of programming that computers have needed for the past half-century, the experimental chip will let a new generation of computers, called “cognitive computers,” learn through their experiences and form their own theories about what those experiences mean…
Interview with Hugo in Melbourne after the Singularity Summit Australia 2010, conducted by Aam A. Ford.
Bio: Prof. Dr. Hugo de Garis, 63, has lived in 7 countries. He recently retired from his role of Director of the Artificial Brain Lab (ABL) at Xiamen University, China, where he was building China’s first artificial brain. He and his friend Prof. Dr. Ben Goertzel have just finished guest editing a special issue on artificial brains for Neurocomputing journal (December 2010), the first of its kind on the planet.
He continues to live in China, where his U.S. savings go 7 times further, given China’s much lower cost of living. He spends his afternoons in his favorite (beautiful) park, and his nights in his apartment, intensively studying PhD-level pure math and mathematical physics to be able to write books on topics such as femtometer scale technology (“femtotech”), topological quantum computing (TQC), as well as other technical and sociopolitical themes.
He labels his new lifestyle “ARCing” (After-Retirement Careering), feeling freed from wage slavery, spending (probably) the remaining 30 years of his life pursuing with passion those deep and interesting topics that truly fascinate him, without having to waste huge amounts of time writing an endless stream of relatively unread, un-meaningful, short-horizon scientific papers or research grant proposals just to receive a salary. He feels liberated from all that, and can recommend ARCing to anyone with sufficient savings (i.e.. to take up “wage free careering in the third of life”).
The brain is our body’s natural multi-system parallel processing organ. Its job, on a continuous basis, is to compute a huge onslaught of incoming data and spit out energy-intensive outputs— keen color vision, a range of auditory faculties, creation and preservation of memories…
Click here to access the complete report located on Wired.com.
Click here for more information on future computing.
As leading-edge neuroimaging labs use scanners to reveal more and more details about how the brain works, their findings are increasingly affecting other fields as well. The legal system, in particular, is now being forced to assess the potential implications of new information about how issues relating to crime and punishment are processed in the brain…
“This tool gives us a treatment for patients with tumors that were previously deemed inoperable,” says Eric C. Leuthardt, MD, assistant professor of neurological surgery and of neurobiology. “It offers hope to certain patients who had few or no options before.”
The tool is an MRI-guided high-intensity laser probe that “cooks” cancer cells deep within the brain, while leaving surrounding brain tissue undamaged.
Barnes-Jewish Hospital is the third hospital in the United States to have the device.
Ralph G. Dacey Jr., MD, chief of neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine, and Leuthardt used the new system for the first time last month in a procedure on a patient with a recurrent brain tumor located deep in the brain.
ScienceDaily (Sep. 28, 2010) — A type of neuron that, when malfunctioning, has been tied to epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia is much more complex than previously thought, researchers at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory report in the Sept. 9 issue of Neuron.
The great philosopher Immanuel Kant believed that nothing matters more to our existence than space. Every experience we have—from the thoughts in our heads to the stars we see wheeling through the sky—makes sense only if we can assign it a location. “We never can imagine or make a representation to ourselves of the non -existence of space,” he wrote in 1781.
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Blogging the Singularity Bloggers:
Chris Williamson: Filmmaker, science enthusiast, and futurist concerned with the accelerating nature of technological growth and where it's headed. He is currently studying for his MFA in Film Production.
Frank Whittemore: As an IT professional since 1961, the accelerating change of technology is not news to him but the wonder will never cease! Be sure check out Frank's blog about Life Extension!