[ExI] The digital nature of brains (was: digital simulations)

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Fri Feb 5 22:13:35 UTC 2010

On 2/5/10, Will Steinberg wrote:
>  Even sets of remarkably few neurons
> will demonstrate very, very complicated recursions.  If each neuron has its
> own rules for varying connections based on input and prior connection
> strength (much like the rules for a TM,) the fact that it can change it owes
> rules perhaps lends itself to the idea of mental non-computability, at least
> in today's sense of the word.
> Swobe is still wrong, but brains aren't Turing equivalent because the brain
> does NOT remain a constant T(n) but instead is composed of innumerable
> modular T(x); T(y); T(z); each is constantly changing the T-value of itself
> and adjacent virtual machines.  Each module has in it some semblance of
> UTM-ness allowing it to read others, perhaps owing to a greater mental
> structure of which we are not yet aware.
> I understand the physicalist's desire to immediately quash all notions of
> noncomputability, but this is the same sort of blind partisanship that, if
> continued, will prevent us from truly learning how we think.  A static TM is
> a limited concept.  Understanding of the brain will dictate our need to
> branch out and explore self-modifying Turturingmachineing Machines...

I strongly agree with this comment.

That's why an eternity ago (was it really only a month ago?) I said
that our present digital computers didn't work the same way as the

My attempt at a description was:-
The brain is more like an analogue computer. It is not like a digital
computer that runs a program stored in memory. The brain *is* the
program and *is* the computer. And it is a constantly changing
analogue computer as it grows new paths and links. There are no brain
programs that resemble computer programs stored in a coded format
since all the programming and all the data is built into neuronal

If you want to get really complicated, you can think of the brain as
multiple analogue computers running in parallel, processing different
functions, all growing and changing and passing signals between

We may need a new generation of a different kind of computer to
generate this 'consciousness'.
It is a different question whether we need this 'consciousness' in our
intelligent computers.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list