Happy Atheist Forum

All things brain...

xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • *****
  • 18720
  • Gender: Female
  • I Spy With My Googly Eyes...JOY!
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #195 on: September 16, 2020, 01:35:55 AM »
Elon Musk is worried about AI, so he's got his people working on cyborgs. Not that the term is used in the article, of course. Apparently he's looking for new talent to contribute to the project.

"Neuralink: Elon Musk unveils pig with chip in its brain" | BBC

Quote
Elon Musk has unveiled a pig called Gertrude with a coin-sized computer chip in her brain to demonstrate his ambitious plans to create a working brain-to-machine interface.

"It's kind of like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires," the billionaire entrepreneur said on a webcast.

His start-up Neuralink applied to launch human trials last year.

The interface could allow people with neurological conditions to control phones or computers with their mind.

Mr Musk argues such chips could eventually be used to help cure conditions such as dementia, Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injuries.

But the long-term ambition is to usher in an age of what Mr Musk calls "superhuman cognition", in part to combat artificial intelligence so powerful he says it could destroy the human race.

[Continues . . .]

This...this is causing a load of controversy in some circles. Love it.  ;D
I lose myself infused in something more than what they've seen
I'm not a slave to greed
I don't embrace your make believe
I've never been for sale no matter what they think I need



xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • *****
  • 18720
  • Gender: Female
  • I Spy With My Googly Eyes...JOY!
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #196 on: September 16, 2020, 01:37:32 AM »
That is interesting, Silver. I keep quite a bit of acetaminophen in my drawer. From time to time I get headaches and I don't know the cause. It's been a couple of weeks since I've taken some.

But I wouldn't be thinking of doing something dangerous anyway.

Me too. The most dangerous thing I've been doing lately is cross the road every now and then. ::)

:P 
I lose myself infused in something more than what they've seen
I'm not a slave to greed
I don't embrace your make believe
I've never been for sale no matter what they think I need



Randy

  • ***
  • 913
  • Gender: Male
  • Learned everything from cartoons.
    • My Comic Books
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #197 on: September 18, 2020, 11:56:58 PM »
I found this interesting and Silver might too although she may have read up on it already.

A computer interface allows quadriplegic man ability to feel.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • *****
  • 18720
  • Gender: Female
  • I Spy With My Googly Eyes...JOY!
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #198 on: September 19, 2020, 08:38:43 PM »
I found this interesting and Silver might too although she may have read up on it already.

A computer interface allows quadriplegic man ability to feel.

Yes, I saw a news piece on that a couple of months ago, but that doesn't make it any less interesting!  :thumbsup:
I lose myself infused in something more than what they've seen
I'm not a slave to greed
I don't embrace your make believe
I've never been for sale no matter what they think I need



Recusant

  • Miscreant Erendrake
  • *****
  • 7214
  • Gender: Male
  • infidel barbarian
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #199 on: September 20, 2020, 05:22:15 PM »
:seahorse:  More on the hippocampus.  :sidesmile:

"Scientists discover what happens in our brains when guessing" | UK Research and Innovation

Quote
Researchers have identified how cells in our brains work together to join up memories of separate experiences, allowing us to make educated guesses in everyday life.

By studying both human and mouse brain activity, they report that this process happens in a region of the brain called the hippocampus.

The study, published in the scientific journal ‘Cell’, also reveals that brain cells can link different memories while we are resting or sleeping, a process that may be important in creativity.

The research was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), part of UKRI, and Wellcome, and was carried out at the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford, by Dr Helen Barron and Dr David Dupret.

Dr Barron said: “In everyday life we often infer connections or relationships between different things we see or hear. So even when we don't know the full story, we can make an educated guess by joining-the-dots. For example, I’m looking for my friend Sam. Someone tells me that Ben is in the library. I know that Sam and Ben go everywhere together, so I guess that Sam is in the library too.

“Although this process is crucial to everyday life, until now, we didn’t know how the cells in our brains are able to form links between separate experiences.”

The researchers began by pinpointing this ability to an area of the brain called the hippocampus that is already known to play a role in learning and memory. They did this using MRI scans on people and by temporarily switching off the hippocampus in mice.

To discover precisely how brain cells enable us to make educated guesses, the researchers ran a set of very similar experiments in people and mice.

[Continues . . .]

The paper is open access:

"Neuronal Computation Underlying Inferential Reasoning in Humans and Mice" | Cell

Quote
Summary:

Every day we make decisions critical for adaptation and survival. We repeat actions with known consequences. But we also draw on loosely related events to infer and imagine the outcome of entirely novel choices. These inferential decisions are thought to engage a number of brain regions; however, the underlying neuronal computation remains unknown. Here, we use a multi-day cross-species approach in humans and mice to report the functional anatomy and neuronal computation underlying inferential decisions. We show that during successful inference, the mammalian brain uses a hippocampal prospective code to forecast temporally structured learned associations. Moreover, during resting behavior, coactivation of hippocampal cells in sharp-wave/ripples represent inferred relationships that include reward, thereby “joining-the-dots” between events that have not been observed together but lead to profitable outcomes. Computing mnemonic links in this manner may provide an important mechanism to build a cognitive map that stretches beyond direct experience, thus supporting flexible behavior.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Recusant

  • Miscreant Erendrake
  • *****
  • 7214
  • Gender: Male
  • infidel barbarian
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #200 on: October 01, 2020, 08:08:08 PM »
Posted in the miniature robotics thread, but noting it here as well.

"A magnetically actuated microrobot for targeted neural cell delivery and selective connection of neural networks" | ScienceAdvances

Quote
Abstract:

There has been a great deal of interest in the development of technologies for actively manipulating neural networks in vitro, providing natural but simplified environments in a highly reproducible manner in which to study brain function and related diseases. Platforms for these in vitro neural networks require precise and selective neural connections at the target location, with minimal external influences, and measurement of neural activity to determine how neurons communicate. Here, we report a neuron-loaded microrobot for selective connection of neural networks via precise delivery to a gap between two neural clusters by an external magnetic field. In addition, the extracellular action potential was propagated from one cluster to the other through the neurons on the microrobot. The proposed technique shows the potential for use in experiments to understand how neurons communicate in the neural network by actively connecting neural clusters.

[Link to full paper.]

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • *****
  • 18720
  • Gender: Female
  • I Spy With My Googly Eyes...JOY!
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #201 on: October 07, 2020, 05:46:54 PM »
Posted in the miniature robotics thread, but noting it here as well.

"A magnetically actuated microrobot for targeted neural cell delivery and selective connection of neural networks" | ScienceAdvances

Quote
Abstract:

There has been a great deal of interest in the development of technologies for actively manipulating neural networks in vitro, providing natural but simplified environments in a highly reproducible manner in which to study brain function and related diseases. Platforms for these in vitro neural networks require precise and selective neural connections at the target location, with minimal external influences, and measurement of neural activity to determine how neurons communicate. Here, we report a neuron-loaded microrobot for selective connection of neural networks via precise delivery to a gap between two neural clusters by an external magnetic field. In addition, the extracellular action potential was propagated from one cluster to the other through the neurons on the microrobot. The proposed technique shows the potential for use in experiments to understand how neurons communicate in the neural network by actively connecting neural clusters.

[Link to full paper.]

I'm tellin' ya, pretty soon we're gonna have all sorts of little robots crawling under our skins.  :o
I lose myself infused in something more than what they've seen
I'm not a slave to greed
I don't embrace your make believe
I've never been for sale no matter what they think I need



xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • *****
  • 18720
  • Gender: Female
  • I Spy With My Googly Eyes...JOY!
I lose myself infused in something more than what they've seen
I'm not a slave to greed
I don't embrace your make believe
I've never been for sale no matter what they think I need



Recusant

  • Miscreant Erendrake
  • *****
  • 7214
  • Gender: Male
  • infidel barbarian
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #203 on: October 07, 2020, 11:30:20 PM »
I'd come across this story and was unable to interpret the scanning electron microscope (SEM) image. The paper has the image with color added to highlight the structures, which helps.



"SEM image of spinal cord axons (green) intercepting cell bodies [1, 2] and sheath-shaped structures (yellow and orange) (scale bars in micron)."
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Tank

  • *****
  • 33031
  • Gender: Male
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #204 on: October 08, 2020, 08:41:47 AM »
Wow, that is truly incredible.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Recusant

  • Miscreant Erendrake
  • *****
  • 7214
  • Gender: Male
  • infidel barbarian
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #205 on: November 09, 2020, 03:17:34 AM »
A part of the brain appears to be set up in such a way as to be the go-to when it comes to utilizing written language. Not as surprising or significant as I imagine some supernaturalists would think. Recognizing visual patterns and connecting them to language is a natural process.

"Humans are born with brains 'prewired' to see words" | ScienceDaily

Quote
Humans are born with a part of the brain that is prewired to be receptive to seeing words and letters, setting the stage at birth for people to learn how to read, a new study suggests.

Analyzing brain scans of newborns, researchers found that this part of the brain -- called the "visual word form area" (VWFA) -- is connected to the language network of the brain.

"That makes it fertile ground to develop a sensitivity to visual words -- even before any exposure to language," said Zeynep Saygin, senior author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at The Ohio State University.

The VWFA is specialized for reading only in literate individuals. Some researchers had hypothesized that the pre-reading VWFA starts out being no different than other parts of the visual cortex that are sensitive to seeing faces, scenes or other objects, and only becomes selective to words and letters as children learn to read or at least as they learn language.

"We found that isn't true. Even at birth, the VWFA is more connected functionally to the language network of the brain than it is to other areas," Saygin said. "It is an incredibly exciting finding."

Saygin, who is a core faculty member of Ohio State's Chronic Brain Injury Program, conducted the study with graduate students Jin Li and Heather Hansen and assistant professor David Osher, all in psychology at Ohio State. Their results were published today in the journal Scientific Reports.

[Continues . . .]

The paper is open access:

"Innate connectivity patterns drive the development of the visual word form area" | Scientific Reports

Quote
Abstract:

What determines the functional organization of cortex? One hypothesis is that innate connectivity patterns, either structural or functional connectivity, set up a scaffold upon which functional specialization can later take place. We tested this hypothesis by asking whether the visual word form area (VWFA), an experience-driven region, was already functionally connected to proto language networks in neonates scanned within one week of birth. Using the data from the Human Connectone Project (HCP) and the Developing Human Connectome Project (dHCP), we calculated intrinsic functional connectivity during resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and found that neonates showed similar functional connectivity patterns to adults. We observed that (1) language regions connected more strongly with the putative VWFA than other adjacent ventral visual regions that also show foveal bias, and (2) the VWFA connected more strongly with frontotemporal language regions than with regions adjacent to these language regions. These data suggest that the location of the VWFA is earmarked at birth due to its connectivity with the language network, providing evidence that innate connectivity instructs the later refinement of cortex.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Dark Lightning

  • ****
  • 1659
  • Gender: Male
  • Curmudgeon
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #206 on: November 09, 2020, 03:25:29 AM »
I saw that the other day. It reminds me of people who have been cured of blindness saying that the written word looked "pretty much like they expected".

xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • *****
  • 18720
  • Gender: Female
  • I Spy With My Googly Eyes...JOY!
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #207 on: December 01, 2020, 11:54:57 AM »
I posted this video in the Youtube Videos That Don't Suck thread, and thought I'd add it to this as well.  ;D


This dog, known as Chaser (who unfortunately died a year after her owner did) is a brilliant animal. Besides learning to identify about a 1000 toys by name she was able to identify a new toy through the process of logical elimination, which was previously thought to be a mental aptitude unique to humans.

It goes like this: Chaser is given the command to find 'Meow' even though she never saw the toy previously. She does, however, know that the new toy in her batch must be 'Meow' because she knows the names of the other toys and knows they are not 'Meow'. In other words, she makes the connection that the unknown toy is 'Meow' because the others are not.

Here's another clip in which she has to find 'Darwin' using the same process of logical elimination:

« Last Edit: December 01, 2020, 12:26:33 PM by xSilverPhinx »
I lose myself infused in something more than what they've seen
I'm not a slave to greed
I don't embrace your make believe
I've never been for sale no matter what they think I need



Randy

  • ***
  • 913
  • Gender: Male
  • Learned everything from cartoons.
    • My Comic Books
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #208 on: December 01, 2020, 02:37:51 PM »
I posted this video in the Youtube Videos That Don't Suck thread, and thought I'd add it to this as well.  ;D


This dog, known as Chaser (who unfortunately died a year after her owner did) is a brilliant animal. Besides learning to identify about a 1000 toys by name she was able to identify a new toy through the process of logical elimination, which was previously thought to be a mental aptitude unique to humans.

It goes like this: Chaser is given the command to find 'Meow' even though she never saw the toy previously. She does, however, know that the new toy in her batch must be 'Meow' because she knows the names of the other toys and knows they are not 'Meow'. In other words, she makes the connection that the unknown toy is 'Meow' because the others are not.

Here's another clip in which she has to find 'Darwin' using the same process of logical elimination:

That's neat. Would she be considered a genius among canines or is this something any dog can do?
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • *****
  • 18720
  • Gender: Female
  • I Spy With My Googly Eyes...JOY!
Re: All things brain...
« Reply #209 on: December 01, 2020, 08:28:13 PM »
That's neat. Would she be considered a genius among canines or is this something any dog can do?

I don't know.  ;D She had an owner who was very devoted to training her so there's definitely nature and nurture playing hand in hand to develop her skills. IMO she's a genius among dogs, but then again I'm no expert on canine cognition so I can't say.

In the full PBS Nova Documentary they mention a gene called CTNND2, which is important for normal brain development, and that the Border Collie genome shows selective breeding for this gene, which would explain why they are the smartest dog breed. But I haven't been able to find a reference to back that claim up...
I lose myself infused in something more than what they've seen
I'm not a slave to greed
I don't embrace your make believe
I've never been for sale no matter what they think I need