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People say we're running out of energy. That's only true if we stick with these old 19th century technologies. We are awash in energy from sunlight.

 

Ray Kurzweil

 

A neuroscientist's radical theory of how networks become conscious

RATE THIS! +51
Posted in Science on 10th Dec, 2013 12:09 AM by AlexMuller

It's a question that's perplexed philosophers for centuries and scientists for decades: where does consciousness come from? We know it exists, at least in ourselves. But how it arises from chemistry and electricity in our brains is an unsolved mystery.

 
Neuroscientist Christof Koch, chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, thinks he might know the answer. According to Koch, consciousness arises within any sufficiently complex, information-processing system. All animals, from humans on down to earthworms, are conscious; even the internet could be. That's just the way the universe works.
 
"The electric charge of an electron doesn't arise out of more elemental properties. It simply has a charge," says Koch. "Likewise, I argue that we live in a universe of space, time, mass, energy, and consciousness arising out of complex systems."
 
What Koch proposes is a scientifically refined version of an ancient philosophical doctrine called panpsychism -- and, coming from someone else, it might sound more like spirituality than science. But Koch has devoted the last three decades to studying the neurological basis of consciousness. His work at the Allen Institute now puts him at the forefront of the BRAIN Initiative, the massive new effort to understand how brains work, which will begin next year.
 
(Read original article for full interview)

Tags: brainmindnetworksneuronsneuroscienceconsciousnessanimal consciousness

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+1
The most complex structure that we know exists- mammalian brain. Consciousness is most complex function - so there is nothing more difficult than this
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+0
I agree, it has been claimed that one of the top unsolvable problems in science is how the brain generates basic conscious experience.
4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+0
It seems that when we lose consciousness, the communication among areas of the brain becomes extremely inefficient, as if suddenly each area of the brain became very distant from every other Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+0
This is indeed quite interesting suggesting that consciousness is a process that involves many brain structures- this could make it even more complicated Reply
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+2
It is difficult to define consciousness, let alone to understand how brain functions underpin this phenomenon
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+1
The problem is much more challenging than what non-scientists assume. It seems that scientists not have an inkling regarding how the human brain generates something like basic conscious experience Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+1
There is an enormous investment in neuroscience and understanding another complex function that is "memory". It is now possible not only to better understand a way that the brain makes memories, but also how to create new memories with specific content
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+0
The idea of scientists manipulating memory does, naturally, sound a bit creepy. But it also points to some possible good: treatment for millions of people tormented by real memories. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+1
Advances in molecular biology and genetics are offering new clues about key molecules and proteins that influence memory. This insight could one day guide new treatments for learning disorders and memory loss
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+1
We now know that brain cells undergo chemical and structural changes during learning. By changing the number, or strength, of connections between brain cells, information is written into memory.
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+0
Disorders of learning and memory are a major issue facing many people and the hope is that this research will contribute to prevent or resolve this global issue Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+1
The hope is that such research will lead to medical treatments including addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder Reply
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-10
+0
When patients suffer severe brain damage and enter a coma or a vegetative state it is very possible that the sustained damage impairs their normal brain function and the emergence of consciousness Reply
Author: Guest
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+0
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Posted: 2015-02-18
+0
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