Re: answers I'd like, part 2

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Wed Nov 14 2007 - 20:02:41 MST

On 15/11/2007, Wei Dai <> wrote:

> Yes, I think that is very likely. Mental arithmetic and visual perception
> are both processes that solve well defined problems and are probably
> isolated to one or two brain modules. In contrast, our ability to generate
> intuitions and especially our ability to reason about these questions
> probably involve many more brain modules, and we don't even know how to
> clearly define the problems being solved.
> Also, for visual perception, you can do animal experiments. How do you even
> begin to reverse engineer human-specific neurological processes before we
> have nanotechnology and/or uploading?
> Or, to mention another problem, for mental arithmetic and visual perception,
> you can have someone do mental arithmetic or look at something while you
> watch his neurons fire. But telling someone "now come up with a new insight
> into the nature of induction" isn't likely to get you anywhere.

Even if the neural activity involved in "higher" cognition is more
complex than that involved in more basic cognition (and I think that
is an assumption, not necessarily true), there is no reason to suppose
that it is a different type of physical process altogether. It's all
generic neurons, generic neurotransmitters, generic action potentials.
Thus, if we are able to analyse and emulate a simple brain function,
emulating the rest of the brain should just be more of the same.

Stathis Papaioannou

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