Mixing brains and computers

A recent BBC News Scotland story reports:

Researchers have moved closer to mak­ing sil­ic­on chips which could one day be used to repair dam­aged tis­sue in the human body. Edinburgh University has developed a tech­nique, which allows neur­ons to grow in fine, detailed pat­terns on the sur­face of tiny com­puter chips.

Once the engin­eer­ing prob­lem of meld­ing com­puter and brain has been addressed — not an easy task — we’re left with issues sur­round­ing the soft­ware-mind inter­face. Is this second task impossible? Our under­stand­ing of micro-cog­ni­tion is well advanced but quite lim­ited. In my own research, for example, I’ve built math­em­at­ic­al abstrac­tions of neur­on-like pro­cessing units, but in what sense do these abstrac­tions reflect the ‘real’ pro­cess in the human brain? Is a pho­to­graph of a per­son even slightly a per­son?

It is going towards the realms of sci­ence fic­tion — there is a def­in­ite Incredible Hulk feel about it.”

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Edinburgh, East and Fife | Computer chips may ‘repair’ nerve

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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