Re: COMP/NEURO: Images Extracted from Cat Brain

Bryan Moss (
Tue, 12 Oct 1999 16:04:42 +0100

Robert J. Bradbury wrote:

> Sorry Brian, use of the word "isolated" was poor choice.
> I'm refering to deaf people who are not otherwise trained
> to sign (say in a culture where "signs" are not known).
> They will invent a "unique" sign language.

Ah, I had images of deaf mutes being locked in basements by cruel parents.

> You could go a step lower and look at human ability to
> read "faces" or wolves or chimps ability to read
> "postures" as expressions of emotion (or intent).

I've often wondered how 'hardwired' this ability is. Try looking at a photograph of a person and then mimicking their facial expression/posture; it tends to effect your emotional state. You'll often see a person mimic the facial expressions of a friend who is suffering emotional trauma (or simply laughing). So I'm thinking the links between emotion and expression are two-way, emotion causes expression but expression also causes emotion. This would mean there's no need to recognise specific patterns (eg, the ability to recognise pain and pleasure is not hardcoded).

> I suspect our ability to communicate evolved from a two-
> fold selection pressure -- friend or foe determination and
> communicating complex "learned" software.

Perhaps the most obvious pressure is to extend ability, gesturing for someone to pass the chicken. And, of course, telling people to run for their lives.

> But I think I would generally agree with Eliezer, that at
> least in 2 respects (a) low level emotions/fundamental
> "drives" and (b) the ability of our senses to select
> features and/or assemble patterns is pretty hardwired.

The story's obvious - brains will be similar enough to screw up every concept of individuality with have, but different enough to make memory transfer a real challenge.

> [...]
> So it will be very interesting to see *what* I get if my
> brain can be induced to "play" patterns produced by Steven
> Hawking's brain.

My guess would be a headache.

> There you go, I've just convinced myself that there may be
> a really good reason not to go take all the courses I
> didn't particularly like to get a degree -- it will be so
> much simpler to buy the associated knowledge/patterns in
> the future.

In that case I'm going back to bed, I can get those 'did something useful' memories later.

[I've spent the day using Windows 2000 Beta 3 and managed to keep myself amused for several hours watching the menus fade in and out, so I have been productive after all.]