What's so special about neurons?

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by VoidSet, Oct 9, 2011.

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  1. VoidSet Registered Senior Member

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    Doing some research on AI, I discovered the concept of noncomputability. The idea is, there are truths in math that cant be determined by a turing machine, and humans have discovered them, therefore humans are more than turing machines. this is seen as proof that cognition and consciousness are uncomputable and we will never make a computer intelligent or conscious. if neurons dont act like turing machines, what do they act like? if there is something special about them, that makes them somehow trasncend computable algorithms, why cant we build a machine that has those properties with artificial neurons? What makes biological machines so special in the universe?
     
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  3. arauca Banned Banned

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    ask the atheist they have an answer . ( evolution and tome )
     
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Which truths, in particular, have humans discovered that are noncomputable?

    I have my doubts that there's anything particularly special about neurons.
     
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  7. Pineal Banned Banned

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    Is there anything, then, where you can say there's something particularly special it?
     
  8. Pineal Banned Banned

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    I had a feeling he was thinking of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorum. Could a computer have known the truth that it would be good to look into what Gödel did that led him to that Theorum?

    Or how about the truth...

    Things would possibly be better if I looked at something in a new way.

    I suppose what I am getting at is that there are truths that are rather like axioms. We can program these axioms in, but I don't think computers have this kind of dissatisfaction/desire/curiosity that just keeps making up axioms and then following them - sometimes with terrible results, sometimes with good ones.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  9. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    The brain has a complexity which at present cannot be approached by the simple machines devised by our human ingenuity,
    and perhaps never will be.

    Of the workings of the brain, we understand almost nothing.
    If we can draw ourselves back from the brink of a self inflicted Armageddon, we may come to understand a little bit more, in time.
     
  10. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    Well...one thing I can think of offhand, neurons reinforce their own connections, grow new connections, and also have recently been found to keep adding to themselves over the lifespan.

    So, unlike a computer, a brain hardwires itself. Can physically change said hardwiring, albeit after one is past the age of about 6, that hardwiring change will go very slowly.

    A brain also communicates on electrical and chemical levels...multiple chemicals, therefore multiple messages sent.

    It makes me wonder why there isn't a push for an attempt at organic computational systems.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  11. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Neurons work differently than computer memory. This difference between neuron hardware, compared to computer memory hardware, is what makes intelligence possible.

    If you look at an neuron, these cells use up to 90% of their energy pumping and exchanging cations. The resting neuron (all pumped up) is actually full of potential energy. What this does is make it easy to spontaneously fire neurons and neuron chain reactions. These random chain reactions, moving the neurons toward lower potential, will fire memory inconjunction with other memory. The result is spontaneous intelligence.

    Computer memory is made to be stable so it will store well, with software manipulating the memory via logic. But the neurons will build high potential energy into its memory, so the firing of memory is inevitable, spontaneous and diversified, allowing intelligence. Our sensory systems, which plug into the brain, will fire neurons and trigger the chain reactions. After the chain reaction occurs, the neurons again use energy to build the nuron energy potential for another chain reaction.

    Intelligent computer would be based on hardware. All you need is memory that is full of potential energy. Consider a bunch of mouse traps. If we fire one mouse trap, it might jump and flip and land on another, etc. The result will be a spontaneous firing of a lot of memory (traps). There is no software needed to get the gist of AI, since it all its need to do is chain react in a direction we did not intend.

    Say we used a current AI programming schema. All I will add is unstable memory. This creates the wild card, since the memory will not want to follow the programming all the time. The brain starts with high energy memory that is an accident waiting to happen. It is more about learning to roll with the punches; consciousness.
     
  12. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    The solid objects on top of the laptop were printed using one of the new 3D printers.
    I wonder if it will ever be possible to print people.
     
  13. herbbread Registered Member

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    While neurons are exquisitely complex, as far as we understand, their major role in the brain is to communicate with other neurons using action potentials. They receive input from other neurons and when they are depolarized enough themselves, they fire. You can almost view them as integrators in which they take in a large number of inputs, and from this generate an output. The exact way this is done is not completely understood, which is one of many reasons duplicating the human brain is not currently feasible, but there's nothing that necessarily precludes us from replicating neurons in silico eventually.

    Of course, it will take a long time to understand neurons and the nervous system well enough to do this. We are still exploring how glia contribute to neuronal communication, how retrograde neurotransmitters work, and all the dynamics of the various ion channels and have barely scratched the surface.
     
  14. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    I'm pretty sure there was a fair amount of investment by various military's looking into printing replacement limbs and organs, after all creating a body part "cell-by-cell" is far more humane than the usual Hollywood implied "full body clone being cut up for parts".
     
  15. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Neuron are very complex, so you need to think in terms of simplicity to avoid losing track of the forest because of the trees. The neuron, like all cells, expend a lot of energy creating potential energy in the membrane via the segregation of cations.

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    The segregation of cations also reflects loss of cationic entropy. What the neuron has induced is a dual potential.

    What this does is set up a membrane situation that opposes the direction of the universe, which is lower energy and higher entropy. The result is inevitable firing since the firing will follow the direction of the universal potentials of lower energy and higher entropy.

    Since neurons are not isolated entities, but are wired into other neurons, through axon and dendrites, their initial energy intensive segregation of cations to set the dual potential, it not done in isolation but in a community way. While the push by the universe to lower community energy and increase community entropy is also not done in isolation; cluster firing.

    If you look at an isolated neuron, no matter how many times it fires, it continually restores the dual potential. The same is true of the community, with our fixed memories due to community connections restored. But since the universe wishes the community to increase entropy, modifications of thought are inevitable.

    All the sensory systems turn environmental stimulus into signals which will fire neurons. The sensory systems help the direction of the universe. There will be a natural potential to use the diversity of the universe to fire neurons, simply because neurons use their energy to go the other way. Exploring the universe is natural due to the way neuron resist and sensory systems fire.

    The analogy is creating an accident that is waiting to happen because the situation is unstable with respect to environmental potentials. We do this on purpose because the accident will create something new. This will modify the situation slightly altering the next accident waiting to happen. It is semi predictable but always surprising. This is the nature of consciousness.

    Everyone seems to be looking in the details for consciousness, like it is a ghost in the machine. But it is simply a consequence of setting up an accident waiting to happen so it has to happen. this is life.

    Say with AI we use any system of logic but modify the memory so it is less stable. It no longer has to follow the logic all the time since we have built in an accident waiting to happen. The difference with neurons is it can restore the original state after the accident. This could be simulated with unstable memory that can pertubate, followed by a memory swipe machine that will restore the original unstable memory after each accident.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Because our understanding of biology has not advanced that far. It's been pointed out that the 19th century was the Century of Chemistry and the 20th century was the Century of Physics. Some people predict that this will be the Century of Biology.

    If we built a biological calculator it would be more primitive than an old Hollerith-card EAM (a "tabulating machine"), much less a true first-generation vacuum tube computer.
     
  17. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

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    I think somebody has made a neuron last month.
     
  18. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    In answer to the Thread Title.
    What's so special about neurons?

    As cells, they communicate with more cells than other cells, and more quickly.
    Their main purpose is communication, rather than having communication as one necessary aspect.

    I can't think of any reason why another method which duplicated the degree of complexity and interaction between elements would have any different result, whether mechanical electrical or otherwise.
    A method which simulated the degree of complexity without having individual elements interacting might not.

    I don't think that Turing was right when he said that when we could not distinguish between a human and a computer,
    that the computer is exhibiting intelligent behaviour. It is simply a very well programmed computer.

    I would say that the real indicator of intelligent behaviour
    was when we started to get intelligent responses from a system which was not programmed to give them.

    I think that a network of computers might produce intelligence.
    Or a computer chip that enabled communication and feedback between a vast number of subunits.


    The other thing I disagree with is the notion of "Human Intelligence" as something distinct from "Animal Intelligence."
    A being either has intelligence or it doesn't.
    The difference is in the size and efficiency of the communicating system, not the quality.

    When I look at a squirrel figuring out how to get some peanuts,
    ( and I have a fondness for making the task testing )
    I am looking at intelligence no different to my own.
    I have to admire its application to the problem, given that it has a much smaller brain than myself.
    It has to think much harder than I do.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  19. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    These three dimensional printers will be of great importance in the future.
    Imagine having molecules manufactured and printed into place, rapidly in layers, at the molecular level.
    What could you not make?
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  20. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Neurons, instead of being simple binary (on or off), are actually designed to be more like a variable dial. Neurotransmitter type chemicals, can be used to make neurons fire easier and can also be used to inhibit neurons from firing. This would be like computer memory where certain sectors are more sensitive and other sectors are harder to fire. During very fast processing, the memory response will begin to get funneled a certain way based on the hardware as much as the software.

    During the creation of memory in the brain, aspects of the limbic system are used to assist with memory creation. The limbic system is also connected to emotions. Our strongest memories often have a strong emotional connection, due to this memory creation process. Older people can remember the past since the feelings were stronger back in the day. Traumatic events also have a powerful emotional impact causing as stronger memory stamp. This can make it hard to forget.

    The value of this is the brain can store memory in layers. The layering allows full use of the brain, while allowing us to focus on one or more layers. This is connected to the dial-up nature of the neurons. For example, food has an emotional association with eating pleasure specific of food and hunger. Once you tune to that feeling, you are not thinking about books, politics, just the food layer.

    An interesting effects is mixed emotions such as love and hate. These are often two layers that one might switch back and forth. But if the feeling tones average, we may end up in a middle layer where there is very little data storage. This can cause blank mindedness.
     
  21. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    OK so far we have neurons - some ambiguous definition of how they are organized and connected - synaptic integration was noted - what else? something about memory, emotion, layers, etc. - of yeah, and the computer analogy.

    So the OP asks why can't we build a neuron based logic gate or something.

    Can't say. I wasn't programmed to understand how to address this, much less how to answer it. Oh wait, that;s the same thing. I must be thinking. So what does that mean, to think? what causes it? Or is it the cause and synaptic activity the result? Who knows? Deep deep deep question.

    I have sometimes wondered about myelination:

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    Besides amplifying the pulse for long haul transmission, it introduces delay. Digital buffs will recognize this as the means by which you go from asynchronous to synchronous (latched) logic. Also it's how you devise oscillators. Anybody out there got a brain schematic? Man, what I would give to get my hands on one of those.

    After I figure out how it works, I will be forever under the hood. :idea:
     
  22. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    OK so far we have neurons - some ambiguous definition of how they are organized and connected - synaptic integration was noted - what else? something about memory, emotion, layers, etc. - of yeah, and the computer analogy.

    So the OP asks why can't we build a neuron based logic gate or something.

    Can't say. I wasn't programmed to understand how to address this, much less how to answer it. Oh wait, that;s the same thing. I must be thinking. So what does that mean, to think? what causes it? Or is it the cause and synaptic activity the result? Who knows? Deep deep deep question.

    I have sometimes wondered about myelination:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!




    Besides amplifying the pulse for long haul transmission, it introduces delay. Digital buffs will recognize this as the means by which you go from asynchronous to synchronous (latched) logic. Also it's how you devise oscillators. Anybody out there got a brain schematic? Man, what I would give to get my hands on one of those.

    After I figure out how it works, I will be forever under the hood. :idea:
     
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