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Is the Brain a computer?

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posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 12:09 PM
This is an interesting question.

Currently there's the popular view of artificial intelligence that the Brain is computable. So if we reach enough computer power then we can build intelligent computers or robots.

There's the other side that says the Brain is non-computable therefore quantum mechanical. This is made popular by Penrose/Hammeroff. Penrose showed in a mathematical theorem that the Brain isn't computable.

I agree with Penrose/Hammeroff. The convoluted explanations as to how consciousness emerged from the classical brain is just silly to me. It's just Quantum Consciousness makes more sense in light of the emerging field of Quantum Biology.

The reason this will be met with serious resistance is because what this would mean.

It would mean Consciousness is a fundamental property of the universe and not an emergent property of the classical brain.

It would mean what we call unexplained would be easily explained . Things like ESP, twin telepathy, psychic ability and near death experiences would be easily explained in the context of superposition, entanglement and non locality.

At the end of the day, these things challenge an atheistic or materialist belief system. Therefore the resistance to these things will be magnified.

So when Penrose says the Brain isn't computable it means the Brain doesn't operate in a step by step process. What happens is coherent states come together and when they reach a quantum/classical threshold then a conscious experience occurs. So preconsciousness is a superposition of these states that occur before the conscious experience. So our brains are advanced enough to record and be aware of these conscious experiences. So in the classical brain it's like a computer but the Mind is Quantum.

This is why I think if artificial intelligence is reached, it will be a combination of a classical/quantum computer in some sort of robot. This could be a very advanced robot. A classical supercomputer brain equipped with a quantum computer. The robot would then be able to experience it's environment while processing information at a very fast pace. Here's more from Hammeroff.

Roger Penrose has proposed a new physics of objective reduction: "OR," which appeals to a form
of quantum gravity to provide a useful description of fundamental processes at the quantum/classical borderline.
Within the OR scheme, we consider that consciousness occurs if an appropriately organized system is able to
develop and maintain quantum coherent superposition until a specific "objective" criterion (a threshold related to
quantum gravity) is reached; the coherent system then self-reduces (objective reduction: OR). We contend that thistype of objective self-collapse introduces non-computability, an essential feature of consciousness which
distinguishes our minds from classical computers. Each OR is taken as an instantaneous event-the climax of a
self-organizing process in fundamental spacetime-and a candidate for a conscious Whitehead "occasion of
experience." How could an OR process occur in the brain, be coupled to neural activities, and account for other
features of consciousness? We nominate a quantum computational OR process with the requisite characteristics to be occurring in cytoskeletal microtubules within the brain's neurons.

In this model, quantum-superposed states develop in microtubule subunit proteins ("tubulins") within
certain brain neurons, remain coherent, and recruit more superposed tubulins until a mass-time-energy threshold
(related to quantum gravity) is reached. At that point, self-collapse, or objective reduction (OR), abruptly occurs. Weequate the pre-reduction, coherent superposition ("quantum computing") phase with pre-conscious processes, and each instantaneous (and non-computable) OR, or self-collapse, with a discrete conscious event. Sequences of OR events give rise to a "stream" of consciousness. Microtubule-associated proteins can "tune" the quantum oscillations of the coherent superposed states; the OR is thus self-organized, or "orchestrated" ("Orch OR"). Each Orch OR event selects (non-computably) microtubule subunit states which regulate synaptic/neural functions using classical signaling.

The quantum gravity threshold for self-collapse is relevant to consciousness, according to our arguments,
because macroscopic superposed quantum states each have their own spacetime geometries.l-2 These geometries are also superposed, and in some way "separated," but when sufficiently separated, the superposition of spacetime geometries becomes significantly unstable and reduces to a single universe state. Quantum gravity determines the limits of the instability; we contend that the actual choice of state made by Nature is noncomputable. Thus each Orch OR event is a self-selection of spacetime geometry, coupled to the brain through microtubules and other biomolecules. If conscious experience is intimately connected with the very physics underlying spacetime structure, then Orch OR in microtubules indeed provides us with a completely new and uniquely promising perspective on the difficult problems of consciousness.

Taken from:

Consciousness, the Brain, and Spacetime Geometry
Departments of Anesthesiology and Psychology, and the Center for Consciousness Studies,
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Here's a recent article.

The Brain Is Not Computable

A leading neuroscientist says Kurzweil’s Singularity isn’t going to happen. Instead, humans will assimilate machines.

Miguel Nicolelis, a top neuroscientist at Duke University, says computers will never replicate the human brain and that the technological Singularity is “a bunch of hot air.”

“The brain is not computable and no engineering can reproduce it,” says Nicolelis, author of several pioneering papers on brain-machine interfaces.

The Singularity, of course, is that moment when a computer super-intelligence emerges and changes the world in ways beyond our comprehension.

Nicolelis calls that idea sheer bunk. “Downloads will never happen,” he said during remarks made at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston on Sunday. “There are a lot of people selling the idea that you can mimic the brain with a computer.”

But Nicolelis is in a camp that thinks that human consciousness (and if you believe in it, the soul) simply can’t be replicated in silicon. That’s because its most important features are the result of unpredictable, nonlinear interactions among billions of cells, Nicolelis says.

“You can’t predict whether the stock market will go up or down because you can’t compute it,” he says. “You could have all the computer chips ever in the world and you won’t create a consciousness.”

The neuroscientist, originally from Brazil, instead thinks that humans will increasingly subsume machines (an idea, incidentally, that’s also part of Kurzweil’s predictions).

So the Singularity will not come through artificial intelligence by simulating the brain but by making computers an extension of humans even more than they are today and things like Synthetic Biology which is advancing 5 times faster than Moore's Law.

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 12:25 PM
The brain is unique from any type of computer currently in existence. Do we compute? Certainly, but it's not at all like the binary 1's and 0's of current electronic computers.

We're trying to map out the human brain in all it's complexities right now. Not sure when that project will complete. After we can print out a chunk of brain, we can begin to understand how it works in all it's complexities. From that point, we may begin to truly synthesize intelligence artificially.

I disagree that it's simply raw computation which must be reached. Nobody has a clue what exactly our computational abilities are. We speculate, but that's it. The mind doesn't conform to our linear attempts to understand it. We have vast interconnections which defy current ways of programming, and knowledge there of.

I think we'll eventually crack the code of "consciousness", though am not sure how long it will take. We need at least a half dozen innovative insights to get there, and each one could take as little as a year for each, or decades.

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 12:37 PM
reply to post by neoholographic

If you build a home, but nobody lives in it, it's not the same.

we don't know.

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 12:47 PM
reply to post by neoholographic

Is the Brain a computer?

Obviously not, because the computer came after the brain and was conceived by humans with brains. It is logically impossible. It's like asking if the foot is a shoe.

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 06:35 PM
I am aware of the (very interesting) propositions by Penrose et al.
And although I like some of it's ideas, I believe we still need LOTS of more research done before anyone can says I AGREE that this is HOW IT WORKS, we still don't know for sure.

There are ways to correlate some functions between logical binary computers and our "analog" cpu, but the comparation is limited, at best.

I've seen some vague predictions of the possible computing potential of our brain but, again, there's still much unknown and we need more DATA to be able to formulate an accurate model.

The main problem with the Quantum Conscioussnes approach is that the macro expressions of micro quantum processes are still unknown. It's a cool idea but we need to be "scientifically" patient...

Very interesting thread, star and flag for ya!

posted on Feb, 27 2013 @ 06:13 AM

I like the post.
The computer is creation of human brain. It is one of the best gifts of technology.

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