Is the human brain an elaborate organic computer? Since the time of the earliest electronic computers, some have imagined that with sufficiently robust memory, processing speed, and programming, a functioning human brain can be replicated in silicon. Others disagree, arguing that central to the workings of the brain are inherently non-computational processes. Do we differ from complex computer algorithms? Are there essential features of the physical make-up and workings of a brain that will prevent us from creating a machine that thinks? And if we should succeed in constructing a computer that claims to be sentient, how would we know if it really is?
This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.
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Original Program Date: May 31, 2013
MODERATOR: Bill Weir
PARTICIPANTS: R. Douglas Fields, Kristen Harris, Murray Shanahan, Gregory Wheeler
Bill Weir’s Introduction 00:00
Participant Introductions 1:08
What are the challenges of creating an artificial brain? 3:00
How does a neuron work? 6:55
A cruise through the brain. 10:29
How many laptops per neuron will it take to create a digital brain? 16:55
Axonal connections in the human brain. 21:32
Do humans have different brains? 27:42
Astroglia vs synapses 33:22
What kind of technology do we need to create a digital brain? 38:44
Building a robot that can utilize a digital brain. 44:44
How will a robot handle decision making? 54:15
Is there a philosophical awareness to neurons? 59:50
If we can build a digital brain, will it be aware? 1:02:30
AI and the risks.1:11:28
The million dollar challenge and it motivations. 1:17:42
How close do you need to model the brain to model the mind? 1:23:30