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tlogan's picture

Give the Blue Brain a bit of credit...

I agree that it seems highly unlikely that conciousness will be achieved by simply adding more and more connections to a network (though this would be interesting to find out that there was a "magic number"of connections needed to spawn conciousness), and I think that Paul's point in class that the number of connections needed to connect the neo-cortex to the rest of the brain is insurmountable. However, could the neo-cortex be used separately in a virtual environment? It seems as though one not need study behavioral correlates if one simply focuses solely on the neo-cortex.

http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/Jahia/site/bluebrain/op/edit/pid/19093

After re-examining the website, it seems as though the simulation of the neo-cortical column is much more complicated than I had originally thought. I can't help but think that they have taken into consideration that chemical nature of the synapse, but needless to say, I think the project is fascinating.

I think Marissa hits on what I was trying to say initially. We don't need a physical component to a simulated brain, when the results will be no different than the simulation. One need simply get the output from the "brain."

I have to say I don't believe this can reduce or replace the use of animal models, because to put in the most simple terms, both the brain and biology are confounding, and I would say at this point that our overall ignorance of both hinders any attempt to make a virtual model organism that one might actually be able to perform viable experiments with.

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