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Anna G.'s picture

While I agree that the

While I agree that the brain can be thought of as an input/output box, I think that Jackie raises some very good points. The idea of input "dying" in the brain doesn't seem to be 100% accurate to me. Input may not result in outward output, what we are measuring I guess, but it can result in changes in other processes in the brain. It can stored in memory, to be used later or it can be used to make a conscious decision not to do anything outward. In addition, the idea of output being generated from no input is understandable if you are talking in terms of seeing a response, and finding the stimulus. However, if you have an output generated by the brain, at some point, there must have been some input that changed that area of the brain that generated that output, reducing this to input --> output.

 

I also liked Angel's comment on how, there are lots of ways in which we can see that neuronal patterns would differ, but in the cases where people are the same, do they really have the same shared arrangements? This reminds me of something I read, where the author mentioned something like this, and asked, "Do you think that if you asked an American kid and a Chinese kid about Mao Zhe Dong, they would have the same thought processes?" Each person learns about different concepts with an internal bias as well as an external one, only reinforced through time. Therefore, people think about the same things, but fire different neurons in their brain. I'll look for the actual quote because it was said much more powerfully, but that’s a summary of the idea.

 

            Also I ran across a website I think was interesting and applicable, and I’ll post the url here: http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/Papers/Py104/dennett.rob.html. It discusses the possibility and issues people find when thinking about the creation of a robot that is conscious. Since consciousness and machinelike properties of the brain are being called into question in our discussions, I thought this was applicable. For, if it is (and while I admit it would be incredibly difficult, I believe ultimately it is) possible to create a conscious robot, then we really would have shown the lack of need for a mind or anything of the sort in humans.

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