Attention Ray Kurzweil: We Can't Even Build an Artificial Worm Brain
There is simply no way that a comprehensive human brain simulation will be feasible in the near future.
In the human brain, 100 billion neurons are connected by 100 trillion synapses. And, really, this staggeringly complex structure is only the beginning. (Consider that there may be roughly one hundred thousand trillion electrical signals traversing the brain in one second.)
C. elegans was the first animal to have its genome sequenced. We can freeze it in liquid nitrogen and revive it. We can track it in 3-D. You can browse a library of its complete genome, its proteome (like the genome, but proteins) and even its whole nervous system on the internet. Science has studied this organism more thoroughly than any other -- with the possible exception of the fruit fly and the laboratory mouse -- in the entire animal kingdom.
If we can't simulate 302 neurons and 5,000 synapses, how can we hope to conquer 100,000,000,000 and 100,000,000,000,000? Let's not even get started on the 100,000,000,000,000,000 electrical signals per second that form the traffic on that neural road network.
So, no mind uploading yet. Sorry, Ray Kurzweil.
Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?
- Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
- The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
- These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now
To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.
A new study may help us better understand how children build social cognition through caregiver interaction.
Researchers at UT Southwestern noted a 47 percent increase in blood flow to regions associated with memory.
- Researchers at UT Southwestern observed a stark improvement in memory after cardiovascular exercise.
- The year-long study included 30 seniors who all had some form of memory impairment.
- The group of seniors that only stretched for a year did not fair as well in memory tests.