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Science

How Brain Architecture Leads To Abstract Thought (umass.edu) 106

catchblue22 writes: UMass Amherst scientists have analyzed fMRI data to link brain architecture with consciousness and abstract thought. "We momentarily thought our research failed when we saw that each cognitive behavior showed activity through many network depths. Then we realized that cognition is far richer, it wasn't the simple hierarchy that everyone was looking for. So, we developed our geometrical 'slope' algorithm," said neuroscientist Hava Siegelmann (abstract). "With a slope identifier, behaviors could now be ordered by their relative depth activity with no human intervention or bias," she adds. They ranked slopes for all cognitive behaviors from the fMRI databases from negative to positive and found that they ordered from more tangible to highly abstract.

"'Deep learning is a computational system employing a multi-layered neural net...the brain's processing dynamic is far richer and less constrained because it has recurrent interconnection, sometimes called feedback loops.' Her lab is now creating a 'massively recurrent deep learning network,' she says, for a more brain-like and superior learning AI."

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How Brain Architecture Leads To Abstract Thought

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  • Her lab is now creating a 'massively recurrent deep learning network,' she says, for a more brain-like and superior learning AI.

    Do you want Skynet? Because this is how you get Skynet.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As long as we can get it through the 'terrible twos', it doesn't have to be all bad...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Do you want power to be based on blood-lines? Because this is how ignorance breeds oppression.

    • Waiting is how you get Skynet.

    • Do you want Skynet? Because this is how you get Skynet.

      You get Skynet anyway. The only question is who gets there first: The Western democracies, or China.

    • To be governed by Skynet couldn't be any worse than what we've got now-- at least we'd have SOME kind of intelligence in government, even if it's artificial. It's clear there's no natural intelligence in government as it currently exists...
  • FTA:
    "'Deep learning is a computational system employing a multi-layered neural net...the brain's processing dynamic is far richer and less constrained because it has recurrent interconnection, sometimes called feedback loops.' Her lab is now creating a 'massively recurrent deep learning network,' she says, for a more brain-like and superior learning AI.""

    But this is not new. This is connectionism and all its descendants. Anyways...the larger point is, that there is no reason to believe that consciousness or

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hognoxious ( 631665 )

      Very interesting.

      Now, about those fries...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You have a very fancy way of saying "I don't know it, therefore it's unknowable". It's not a logical position to take.

    • Anyways...the larger point is, that there is no reason to believe that consciousness or experience falls out of machines, no matter how wet or complex they are.

      Sure there is, if you actually believe in the empirical world. And that's all you're "evidence" is that you're discussing -- the physical stuff you see and can measure and dissect. There's no way currently to "prove" that consciousness emerges from the physical stuff of the brain, but the burden of proof is on your side to prove that there's "something else" there, because the rest of physical reality as we sense it seems logically consistent with materialism.

      Consider that anything which can be modeled with a computer can be modeled with something much more primitive, albeit in a cumbersome way, for example, a Turing tape or a even a very fancy abacus made of wood, wires, beads. Yes you definitely want to keep that fact in mind before you pin that Strong AI Booster pin on your lapel.

      What kind of crappy philosophical argument is

      • Rather, you should have said, "the one thing *I* have irrefutable evidence for is just my own experience -- I don't know that anything outside of my own thoughts exists, and I could be participating in a pseudo-masturbatory exercise of pretending that there is an external world and other people out there and this imaginary place called Slashdot where I pretend to communicate with these figments of my imagination."...

        ...in which case you should be wondering, "Why am I bothering to pretend to argue with mys

      • Excellent response.

        As an aside, here's my answer to solipsism. It's almost certainly not novel, though it is original:

        If I'm all that exists, damn I'm smart.

        But, weirdly, I always attribute my deepest and most interesting thoughts to other parts of myself, which I call other people. I mean, I think I'm reading a book on statistical inference, or poetry, or listening to music, and there's all this enormous complexity and elegance which I don't understand and doesn't fit together... until I work hard to

      • I said:

        Anyways...the larger point is, that there is no reason to believe that consciousness or experience falls out of machines, no matter how wet or complex they are.

        You said:

        Sure there is, if you actually believe in the empirical world. And that's all you're "evidence" is that you're discussing -- the physical stuff you see and can measure and dissect. There's no way currently to "prove" that consciousness emerges from the physical stuff of the brain, but the burden of proof is on your side to prove

        • No I only affirm what I know with certainty- that there IS experience. You know there is also, and so does everyone else.

          Yes, but how do you make the epistemological leap from the fact that "there is experience" (i.e., whatever you experience) to the reality that I am having "experience" and that "everyone else" has experience?

          How could you possibly know "with certainty" that I or "everyone else" exist and have experience without accepting that there is some reality to the world as generated by your senses? Even if the only thing you believe about the reality in the world is that other consciousnesses exist, the only way y

      • You said:

        Sure, but this is the path to solipsism. If you can't prove the material world exists, you can't even prove that other people or other minds exist. So, actually, it's inaccurate to say that the "one thing we have irrefutable evidence for is just experience itself." Rather, you should have said, "the one thing *I* have irrefutable evidence for is just my own experience -- I don't know that anything outside of my own thoughts exists, and I could be participating in a pseudo-masturbatory exercise of

      • You said: How is it "overwhelmingly likely"? Because you say so? Do you have some way of estimating that probability? Or do you really just mean, "I think it is thus!"

        No, it's for the reason I said- our deliriously sparse knowledge of the brain itself. See my post.

      • What kind of crappy philosophical argument is this? Just because you can model the physical atoms of the brain with a sufficiently large "abacus," materialism must be false?

        No I am not arguing against materialism here, I am saying that the idea that computation equals cognition- Strong AI's basic claim- is silly on the face of it.

        It's not that I can model a physical system and therefore it doesn't exist (I guess this is what you are accusing me of saying?). It's that Strong AI is making it's Strong AI clai

    • there is no reason to believe that consciousness or experience falls out of machines, no matter how wet or complex they are

      And there is no reason not to believe that our experience of consciousness arises out of anything more than the complex interactions of our neural structure. If you had any evidence that there is something other than matter involved, you would have stated it. In the absence of non-material causes, I'll stick with the Occam's razor assumption and not require the invention of new non-physical constructs.

      Your post is just mysticism dressed up as reason.

      • Your post is just mysticism dressed up as reason.

        You can say that but it's not true. Literally, you know there is experiences. Literally, everything else is in doubt. Literally.

        As to your "not any reason to believe" comment, this is just an unsupported assertion on your part. You have a BIG problem- how a Turing machine composed of tape and a reader can display every form of consciousness possible. It so absurd on the face of it that you have to resort to phlogiston -like theories of "emergent properties".

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          How do you know you have experiences? Your memory could very well be an illusion. You could simply exist as a fleeting quirk in an infinite universe of random arrangements that think it's sentient.

          If we're going to get all mystical, we might as well not pull punches.

        • You should learn something about emergent properties. They're extremely common. In fact, nearly all phenomena we perceive are emergent properties of underlying processes that are rather different from what we see. In some cases the emergent properties are much simpler than what's really going on underneath, in other cases they're vastly more complex. To provoke some thinking about higher-level emergent properties, I recommend that you read Hofstadter's "Godel, Escher, Bach". It's an old book, and decidedly

          • Come on, you hear me ranting because you want to hear it that way. There is no rant here.

            Regarding emergent properties, you're not getting clear in your own mind what they refer to. Either they refer to a property which is reducible to the thing which subtends them- like the heat of a fire or the color of the grass, or (it is claimed that) they don't.

            The first "kind" are unremarkable- this is just straighforward material reductionism.

            The second kind are magical, as in unicorns- i.e. they don't exist. These

          • OK I will answer this post again since I missed parts of it in my reply.

            I did read and re-read GEB a long long time ago and everyone would benefit from your recommendation. + ! on GEB.

            Regarding so called "emergent properties" I wrote to another poster here

            http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

            but I'll clean it up a little more:

            Emergent properties are properties of a thing that

            1) posess casual power independent of the thing

            2) are nevertheless somehow dependent upon the underlying "thing" in order to "emer

        • "I have no fucking idea; it's a mystery to me."

          I agree that I don't. But unlike you, I don't try to pretend that I do.

    • Let me see, religious much?

      Berkeley rides again. Seriously.

      I now cease giving you your subjective existence by no longer thinking about you. Sorry about that.

      rgb

      • Man, that's harsh. Very cold. I wish I had thought of something that pithy instead of trying to argue. :)
      • Sorry, I let a reference to Bishop Berkeley, who made all of these arguments long ago back in the heyday of the materialism vs idealism wars. The idealism argument lost to everybody who wasn't religious a couple of centuries ago:

        http://www.iep.utm.edu/berkele... [utm.edu]

        I just didn't have the patience to walk through the entire tired argumentation associated with Berkeley and his tree falling in the quad and god and David Hume's empiricism that ultimately won the argument and ended the era of bullshit philosophy.

    • Actually, matter gives rise to consciousness, not the reverse. Any computational substrate, meat-engine or silicon, is made of matter. In the creation of any simulation of the physical world, the same laws of physics must ultimately apply. I am paraphrarsing Dr. David Deutsch, Oxford University.

    • never understood -1 insightful comments. They're comments which have a high rating and people like them but have been modded down by a one or a bunch of people determined to put thehated poster in his or her "place" by jacking the rating system.

      Good to know.

  • ... if there are computers trying to understand what makes them work... Is there some computer out there that is pondering the question are humans capable of intelligent thought...
    • ... if there are computers trying to understand what makes them work... Is there some computer out there that is pondering the question are humans capable of intelligent thought...

      Actually that is a great question for all of us: Are humans capable of intelligent thought?

      Based on data collected so far the odds of that are slim to none.

      Intelligence in the universe is a constant. The population is growing....

  • Let's not forget that same fMRI technology successfully identified brain function in a DEAD SALMON.

    http://blogs.scientificamerica... [scientificamerican.com]

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      You post a link to an article about a scientific paper warning about the dangers of amateurs doing fMRI analysis and somehow think that's evidence?

  • Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind!

    • OK wise guy first define, exactly, what a human mind is. Then when you have done that define what exactly is and is not God. At least I know what a bowl of spaghetti is when I see it!
  • "How Brain Architecture Leads To Abstract Thought"

    Really, now that sounds super interesting, I've been waiting my whole life to read this story!

    Oh, wow, the story is actually not about that at all. Could it be someone cynically posted this story with an overhyped title to get a few extra clicks?

    Can someone please tell the story poster that there are people trying to find a new website with accurate information. Seeing lazy, clickbait headlines makes me want to hurl.

  • Hah! Told you so! (recursion is the key to self awareness, also see "I Am A Strange Loop" by Hofstaeder) http://tinyurl.com/h8dww8n [tinyurl.com].

Ma Bell is a mean mother!

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