Avoiding the notion of an “homunculus” in the brain … or any single, overlord power that controls the function and decisions of the brain has been a deeply embedded faux pas in the neuroscience and neurophilosophy circles for many decades.
After years of trying to be accepted into a peer-reviewed journal, Prof. Asim Roy of Arizona State University will have his day in the sun. Using established ideas from the “connectionist” model of the brain–where information and control processing is considered to be distributed and non-local–he actually claims to proves that a hierarchical system exists in brain function.
One potential realization of this hypothesis (because we cannot call any idea related to brain function a theory, yet!) is that if Prof. Roy’s ideas are correct, then the brain may in fact work more like conventional computer artificial intelligence systems of today, which have countless rules pre-programmed in the code to provide the resulting behavior of the AI software or machine. If this is the case, then we may only need a sufficiently large enough processor chip to emulate true human brain behavior and the Singularity Event might come sooner than expected.
Although Neuron News carries a strong bias against the notion that the human brain is locally-controlled (even though it feels like we have a conscious single controller sitting in our heads), these alternative ideas are still important to progress with advances in understanding brain function. Are we at a road-block? We need to somehow break-through our limited ability to grasp the essentially higher-dimensionality of complex networks, and it’s going to take one exciting “ah-ha!” moment to get there… so let us know if you have one.
“Professor Finally Publishes Controversial Brain Theory” :: PhysOrg.com :: November 19, 2008 :: [ READ ]
“Connectionism, Controllers, and a Brain Theory” :: Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A, IEEE Transactions on :: November 2008, Volume: 38, Issue: 6, Pages: 1434-1441 :: [ READ THE ABSTRACT ]