Wet Between the Ears

May 2, 2022Philosophy/Ethics, Tech0 comments

Sensations are received by a certain definite number of sensor nerves, which constitute the only means we possess of obtaining a knowledge of the external world.
The sensor nerves pass to the brain, and then come in contact with a highly vascular tissue, called the grey matter of the brain;
Inasmuch as the sensor nerves come in contact with blood-vessels, it follows from voltaic laws, that a voltaic battery exists in the brain, which is opposed to that in the body, and by which the electro-biological circuit is completed.

Smee 1849

Julia and Sam are talking about the following article:
Lecture ON ELECTRO-BIOLOGY; OR, THE VOLTAIC MECHANISM OF MAN

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Julia

I’m not sure it would qualify as an artificial neural network nowadays, but there was this doctor and metallurgist, working on electro-biology: Alfred Smee

Today 17:08

Julia

He thought that all thought was based on electrical activity in the brain which we could use as a model for a machine

Today 17:08

Sam

That’s amazing! 😁 I didn’t know that … 

Today 17:09   

Julia

It seems he conjectured you’d need an artificial neural network the size of London to model a whole human brain

Today 17:09

Sam

Ha! 😅 He was probably right, early computers where absolutely massive, and supercomputers still are

Today 17:10   

Julia

With the technology of his time this could probably never have been built, he even guessed that the machine would self-destruct by using it …

Today 17:11

Sam

It really is surprising how old some ideas are, and has to wait for technology to catch up so we can realize them!

Today 17:11   

Julia

But a lot of there machines were never built: Babbage’s analytical engine, for instance

Today 17:12

Sam

Or Turing’s Machine, indeed, the idea was enough to prove that something was or wasn’t possible

Today 17:12   

Julia

That’s very interesting!  🤔                                                                       

Today 17:13

Sam

Well, I guess that you could compare and contrast Smee and Babbage in that respect

Today 17:14   

Sam

Babbage did not consider his machine as a model for the mind, but developed his ideas from the technology that was available

Today 17:14   

Sam

Smee tried to design a machine based on what they then understood of the brain, but the technology wasn’t there yet

Today 17:14   

Julia

But now it is?                                                                                               

Today 17:15

Sam

Not exactly, as I mentioned to Manuel, artificial neural netword can’t really compete with our organic brains

Today 17:16   

Julia

So the idea of copying the brain still can’t be realized?                       

Today 17:16

Sam

With some extreme simplifications, maybe a little bit …

Today 17:17   

Julia

Tell me more! 😊                                                                                        

Today 17:18

Sam

I think I need to make a few distinctions first, like between hardware, software, and … wetware

Today 17:19   

Julia

Wetware!? 🤔                                                                                              

Today 17:19

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