Re: "Boy with Incredible Brain"

From: Larry (
Date: Wed Mar 22 2006 - 07:15:43 MST

On Wed, 22 Mar 2006, Dani Eder wrote:

> If the difference between savants and the rest of
> us is how their brains are wired, not much could be
> done in the near term to emulate their abilities.
> If, however the difference is biochemical, it might
> be amenable to drugs or other things we can make
> use of in the near term.

Savantness isn't a binary, nor is it always lowest level
rote memorization/sensing. I have exceptional abilities
when it comes to programming, and when it comes to
memory of scientific/technical ideas. This comes at a cost
however, my memory for data like phone #s, names, spelling
of words, etc. is very poor. I spell from muscle memory
when typing, ask me how these words are spelled verbally
and it would be a challenge if not impossible to spell them

My guess is the reason why autism and savant like abilities
often come together is that autism results in unusual allocations
of brain matter to various tasks. Some tasks getting much more
than usual and some less. The question is what came first? The
allocation of brain matter, or does exceptional interest in
something (common in autism) basically recruit large amounts of
brain matter to that use?

It is relevant to AI in the sense that specialist AIs may not
need to have full human brain power to show exceptional abilities.
For example a theoritical math AI might not have to be that large
to excel.

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