[ExI] Simulating the brain

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Jul 19 13:42:48 UTC 2017

On Wed, 19 Jul 2017 at 6:54 pm, Stuart LaForge <avant at sollegro.com> wrote:

> Stathis Papaionnou wrote:
> >Angular displacement of the body will have an effect on neurones, perhaps
> >by stretching the cell membrane and hence altering the excitability
> >threshold and the propagation of the action potential. An accurate model
> of
> >the brain should therefore take this parameter into account. However, at
> >some level of resolution the effect will be swamped by noise. So it would
> >be wasted effort to model angular displacement to 10 decimal places when -
> >again in order to be accurate - you would have to throw away 5 decimal
> >places due to the thermal noise inherent in a biological system at body
> >temperature.
> Yes, thermal noise would cause the underlying wavefunction to decohere
> into one definite state but not until *after* the continuous probability
> function had preselected those possible states, finite or countably
> infinite, and assigned various probability masses to them.

The continuous distribution (if that's what it fundamentally is) becomes
effectively discrete once the error bars are taken into account.

The moment that you admit that some mental states are more probable than
> others, you open the door to allow infinity to influence your mind. You
> can't have a normal distribution without infinity. Furthermore as a
> psychiatrist, where would you draw the line between normal behaviors (the
> observable correlates of mental states) and exceptional ones? One standard
> deviation, two? 6 sigma?

Every distribution, normal or otherwise, of any parameter ever considered
has been effectively discrete, since every measuring instrument gives a
discrete result. There are not usually arbitrary cutoffs in abnormal
psychology but if there were that would also be discrete: 3.0 sigma on some
test result, say.

> >Human understanding of irrational numbers does not depend on writing out
> > an
> > >infinite non-repeating decimal.
> >
> > Yes. We have the mental capacity to mathematically manipulate infinity
> and
> > discern bona fide truths about infinity without resorting to infinite
> > numbers of decimals or infinite memory. On the other hand, I don't think
> a
> > computer has any concept of infinity distinguishable from a stack
> overflow
> > error.
> >A dog doesn't have much concept of infinity, but its brain is not that
> that
> >dissimilar to yours and mine. If we push the point, I don't think any
> human
> >can "really" grasp infinity and irrational numbers, even if if they can
> >manipulate and utilise them as concepts, in the way a computer algebra
> >system such as Wolfram Alpha can.
> Can dog a be conditioned to salivate at a sound of any arbitray frequency
> of sound within its range of perception including a bell or silent
> whistle? If so, the dog's mind is recognizing a specific frequency out of
> an uncountably infinite range of possible frequencies. So it is processing
> infinity even if it is not doing it abstractly or even delibrately.

The dog would not be able to tell if the tone were digitally generated
(with sufficient fidelity) or an analogue tone.

> --
Stathis Papaioannou
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