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Old 06-20-2010, 02:41 PM   #1
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Default A Natural software between neurons and thoughts

This topic is discussed in several science and artificial intelligent discussion forums and I haven’t received a challenging opposition or a support yet. It has occurred to me that maybe the nature of the topic fits the computer oriented minds more than the rest of the internet community. I hope you would help me to develop either supportive or dismissing ideas about my quest.

Here is the idea:

When we type “appl” using sophisticated software, the programme underlines the word and gives us alternatives such as “apple” or “apply”. We know that “appl” is not in the dictionary and it is programmed to provide the similar alternatives. We also know that when we type any word, it is not the word itself travels through transistors; it is transferred to binary numbers by software.

Could a similar process be going on when we think? When we think of “apple”, how do they travel on brain so neurons can read it? There are two possible ways:

1. “We have apple neurons”. As soon as we think of an “apple”, the relevant apple neuron(s) are alarmed. I find this possibility utterly useless and stupid as we might have required a separate neuron for every single thing, concept, word, etc. Not only that, we must have separate neurons for every single possible forms of an apple (red one, green one, bitten one, or one that inspires us for gravity; practically endless).

2. “We have inner translators that decode the representation of a thought.” So thinking of an apple, (or anything else for that matter), will evoke different pieces of more elemental information (roundness, being eatable, fresh/old, colour, taste, etc.) as well as contextual (apple to sell or apple to eat?) and conceptual (apple as a computer brand or apple as a fruit?) steps.

If we suspect of the second way, we must also ask this question: Would it be possible that thoughts are also translated into some other type of codification (such as binary codes of a computer system) before they are processed by neural activity. In other way of saying, “apple” reaches to neurons with a totally unrecognizable way of representation? Transistor doors wouldn’t understand anything from “apple” but they require some binary codes; and maybe neurons (that work with chemistry) wouldn’t work with concepts, therefore they require a different type of symbolic process language –binary or not.

And maybe, this middle language makes more sense than being just a translator between neurons and thoughts: As we know from computers, all transistor architecture is designed according to logical doors that interpret 1s and 0s, not for what we type on screeen. Maybe neural architecture is also built up in order to make sense from its inner language rather than concepts of mind.

What I am asking is this: Using the computer analogy, and depending on the difference between neural activity and thoughts, can we suspect from any software-like system which operates between thoughts and neurons? We don't have to start with human brain; we can take the example of a rat: When a rat sees an apple, we can guess that there is no word of an apple going through its reception mechanism. But some mechanism translates this outside object (apple) to the neural system of our rat and it approaches to this fruit. A rat does not think as we do, yet we can still suspect that there is a simpler version of the similar mechanism is going on inside its brain. It is possible to generate more examples.

One step further: Let's imagine that there is a command software which reflects the functions of brain. This might not be "a" software. It can be a different software regimes. The coded language between neurons might be as simple as 1s and 0s of transistors, and this could be very basic and robust that is shared by all other brainy creatures of nature. We know that cells communicate to each other, we know the map of proteins used for this communication, we know DNA ( compact microprocessor units if you like), we will soon replicate the entire map of brain cells with all its specialized compartments; yet we don't know how do they communicate.

BCI (Brain-Computer Interface) devices work on a simple principle: A human made computer reads neural activity, then signals are translated into hearing, sight, movement of a robot arm; mostly "motor functions" due to the current level of technology.

We know that there are some special software behind our computers which are able to read the neural signals and translate it to commands. We also know what sensors of this computer reading is not the concept itself (not what we consciously think), but the electromagnetic signature of the brain activity. Here is the might-be-confusing bit: When I think of moving my arm, I am aware of moving my arm and this command/request comes to my consciousness as a concept ("I want to move my arm towards right/up/left/down direction"); however, the computer does not understand that, it reads the mirroring neural activity and directs the robot arm accordingly, because of the human made software. If I didn't know this process, I might have thought "Oh, I thought of moving my arm and computer understood that, magic!" No, computer didn't understand me at all, it's not magic, its software translated a signal into action, that's it.

Any ideas?
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: A Natural software between neurons and thoughts

Yes it has to be the second one, I think it must go through the following steps.

if someone says apple:

analyze sound waves -> language dictionary ('apple' is obviously different in other languages -> Recall what we have learnt is an apple

or when you see an apple

analyze light waves -> locate spherical object, usually green or green/red in color.
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: A Natural software between neurons and thoughts

If I've understood you correctly, the problem isn't so much capturing the information and replicating it - we can do that. From memory there have been some pretty groundbreaking experiments where people have controlled various items through thought alone, but these devices at present all have to work on an individual learning pattern. The problem is understanding the details of what each part of the brain does, how they link together and how to predict the necessary neurons to be fired as a result of that behaviour.

At least that's how I understand it - this topic isn't at present my hottest, so if someone wants to come in and correct feel free!
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: A Natural software between neurons and thoughts

Oh guys, believe me, these are the first positive approach to this topic. At least you can think about "possibilities" for a start.

Another problem is this: Neuroscientists interest in neurons (I can think them as transistor/hardware engineers). Philosophers tend to think what we think as concepts are the direct result of neural connection, and there is no need to look for any translation mechanism. But something in this scenario tells me that what we "consciously" think is actually similar to what we see on a computer screen and there must be some translation between what we think and what neurons electrochemically do.

I can not think of any other people to come up with a different perspective other than software minded people who deal with what is seen on screen and how it is processed by hardware and visa versa.

If others are as positive as you are, I believe we can come up with an alternative understanding on how brain works.

Thanks.
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: A Natural software between neurons and thoughts

From the little I know of the brain, I would have to say that it HAS to be some form of binary (not 0s and 1s) language. Binary can simply be yes or no, up or down, signal or no signal. From what I understand, the brain communicates with other body parts via electrical signals. You can't draw using electrical signals, you can't form words, all you can do is send a signal, or not send a signal. From this nature of communication, the only possibility is a binary system (like computer binary, Morse code, etc).
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: A Natural software between neurons and thoughts

Don't we have something like 8 different chemicals that is our version of communication in the brain? Acting like Binary code, but a lot more complex?

We are a lot more analog in nature, than we are digital. We have different states. Things aren't just on/off

Computers work completely differently to how our brains interpret, and digital I believe is pretty much stupid.
You couldn't teach anything to a digital computer that we wouldn't have to program. Its pretty impossible.

Digital is simple (not in the programming, but in the basic principle). It works, or it doesn't.
Analog was a lot harder to manage, but was more complex in nature. We are like that

If something happens with us, the brain learns new ways to get around it.

The brain LEARNS. It connects new pathways.

Learn how to juggle, and neurons will connect up, making you better at juggling over time. Improving hand-eye coordination/speed/agility at that task.
Stop juggling for a while, and the brain would have wired up differently. You would have indeed have lost some of the stuff you had gained. The neurons are still there, but the connections have been somewhat lost, as the brain has focused on something else you may have been doing.
Re-learning though connects the neurons back up.

Also remember that we are born with as many neurons as we are going to have. It is the learning process throughout life that connects them up/creates mazes of electrical possibilities.
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: A Natural software between neurons and thoughts

^ Forgot about the chemicals. -_-
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: A Natural software between neurons and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by JogaBonito1502 View Post
From the little I know of the brain, I would have to say that it HAS to be some form of binary (not 0s and 1s) language. Binary can simply be yes or no, up or down, signal or no signal. From what I understand, the brain communicates with other body parts via electrical signals. You can't draw using electrical signals, you can't form words, all you can do is send a signal, or not send a signal. From this nature of communication, the only possibility is a binary system (like computer binary, Morse code, etc).
Don't worry, currently everybody knows "little" about brain due to the reasons I explained in OP. But at least you understand the essence of the problem:

"nature of communication". Binary code is the last part of the signal translation. We also know that there are other type of software which coordinates the system, such as C++. And also, each component in the computer has its own adaptation software (like graphic card has its own, motherboard has its own, etc.). There is a regime of softwares with different levels; so when we think of "software(s)", we don't have to necessarily bound our perspective to final translation of 1s and 0s, but other command languages as well.

Similar to brain: Different lobes are specialised in different tasks (seeing, hearing, etc.). Although some base level electrochemical translating code is valid for the entire system, there should be other type of software too. Imagine this: When you type something on the screen, it travels within the system with 1s and 0s; but we don't even call them as Software, this is the last stage. Before that, there are other software protocols, architectures are going on in terms of translating what we type on screen.

I hope I am making some sense...
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:39 PM   #9
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Default Re: A Natural software between neurons and thoughts

Check out my little explanation baftan
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: A Natural software between neurons and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kage View Post
Don't we have something like 8 different chemicals that is our version of communication in the brain? Acting like Binary code, but a lot more complex?
Chemicals=Silicon=Hardware architecture. Imagine if we replicate all our natural cells with artificial ones. What will it change? Yes, DNA has evolved according to given chemicals in nature, the suitable and abundant ones. But our computers have also evolved depending upon possibilities provided by silicon. I am mostly on software architecture rather than hardware...

Quote:
We are a lot more analog in nature, than we are digital. We have different states. Things aren't just on/off
Geneticists say otherwise; they say that some genes turn on some genes turn off. Depending upon what? Programme, a natural order of what will follow next. But how?

Quote:
Computers work completely differently to how our brains interpret, and digital I believe is pretty much stupid.
You couldn't teach anything to a digital computer that we wouldn't have to program. Its pretty impossible.
And I hope you don't think the reason behind "why computers can not learn" is because of the digital/analogue information process method or because of the hardware materials. One step further; forget about digital/analogue, we can say that computers work according to serial principle while brain works according to parallel principle.

Quote:
Digital is simple (not in the programming, but in the basic principle). It works, or it doesn't.
Analog was a lot harder to manage, but was more complex in nature. We are like that
That's the thing! Digital is "not" simple in programming level; how can we assume that nature is simple. If we assume that, how come we still couldn't figure out how does it work?

Quote:
If something happens with us, the brain learns new ways to get around it.

The brain LEARNS. It connects new pathways.
What I am saying is this: Brain does not learn because it is made of different chemicals, because it has developed a system that provides learning. In other way of saying, it has developed a software through its evolution.

Quote:
Learn how to juggle, and neurons will connect up, making you better at juggling over time. Improving hand-eye coordination/speed/agility at that task.

Stop juggling for a while, and the brain would have wired up differently. You would have indeed have lost some of the stuff you had gained. The neurons are still there, but the connections have been somewhat lost, as the brain has focused on something else you may have been doing.
Re-learning though connects the neurons back up.
We can also list many things that brain can not learn. So principally, brain has also limitations, it's not endless. Think about a chimpanzee brain, no matter how hard you try, a chimpanzee can not learn how to speak like humans. And you might say "brain wiring" is different. Given the fact that we have almost same numbers of brain cells with chimpanzees, I say some mechanism (a human software) makes our brains different than chimpanzees. In other way of saying this, crack the software, load it to a chimpanzee, brain will re-wired and they'll start to learn how to speak like humans...


Quote:
Also remember that we are born with as many neurons as we are going to have. It is the learning process throughout life that connects them up/creates mazes of electrical possibilities.
But we don't born the actual physical numbers of neurons; we born with the information that says how many brain cells we will have. Learning process is part of it; and learning process is something you make brain (and my assumed software work)...
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