extropians-digest V1 #110

Crosby_M (CrosbyM@po1.cpi.bls.gov)
Mon, 25 Nov 1996 12:43:03 -0500

On Sunday, November 17, 1996 5:05 PM, Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote:
<The essence of the Singularity is that a smarter being has an increased
capacity to invent still smarter beings; that's why everything goes to
infinity. ... Computer power doubles every two years. Computer power
doubles every two *subjective* years. Computer power goes to infinity four
years after computer researchers reach human equivalence.>

Bruce Bower writes in the 11/02/96 Science News
(see http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arch/11_2_96/bob1.htm )
about "Bridging the Brain Gap: A scientist explores the biology of isolated
minds and mutual trust" reporting on the work of neurophysiologist Walter
J. Freeman of Berkeley and the theories he elaborates in his 1995 book,
_Societies of Brains_:
<[T] ansient electrical responses to sensation may preface life-altering
changes in the brain, he
proposes.... Freeman hopes to nudge neuroscientists toward a consideration
of what brains do in
groups, not just inside individual skulls... [B]rain science is in crisis
because our models
neglect the most important function of human brains, which is to interact
with each other
to form families and societies," Freeman contends.... The Berkeley
researcher also rejects the view, widespread in cognitive psychology, that
the mind contains representations of the world in the form of thoughts,
ideas, images, and symbols that are processed according to sets of rules.>

Freeman contends that mind only emerges at the crossroads of perception,
action and learning. His studies, particularly research on EEGs in
rabbits, indicate that mammalian brains are constantly being 'rewired' as
life situations change. Thus, the common transhumanist notion that
uploading our minds to a digital media will somehow give us a qualitatively
NEW way to transform ourselves may be somewhat of a myth.

Mark Crosby