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On Computing the Brain and Mind

More or less Abstract

Here we look at many facets or aspects of the brain and mind to understand meta-information and regular information and any information as it relates to the brain and mind. We break the brain and mind up into disciplines, concepts and anything else that comes along. We are free in the Sandbox to explore the brain and the mind. Anything goes as long as we are making sense of working out the brain and mind . . .


When defining the title 'On Computing the Brain and Mind'

It is important to have in mind some definitions of the three most important words in the title: Computing, Brain and Mind. I do not want to use any specific definition - by this I mean I want to keep flexibility in the conversation especially to begin with. The idea is that we are trying to make sense of how we work out the brain and mind. Everything in the definitions is valid to use.

≡ Computing and compute, from Google dictionary:

► Computing as a noun is the use or operation of computers
- in a sentence looks like this: "developments in mathematics and computing".

► As a verb, compute is to reckon or calculate (a figure or amount)
- in a sentence looks like this: "the hire charge is computed on a daily basis".

► Informally, compute means to seem reasonable; make sense
- in a sentence looks like this: "the idea of a woman alone in a pub did not compute".

♦ synonyms for compute: calculate, work out, reckon, figure, enumerate, determine, evaluate, assess, quantify, put a figure on; add up, add together, count up, tally, total, totalize; measure; tot up; cast

♦ Origin: early 17th century: from French computer or Latin computare, from com- ‘together’ + putare ‘to settle (an account)’.

≡ Brain, from Google dictionary:

► an organ of soft nervous tissue contained in the skull of vertebrates, functioning as the coordinating centre of sensation and intellectual and nervous activity.

≡ Mind, from Google dictionary:

► the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.

For the sake of our exploration it can be said that brain and mind are synonymous.

Two of many questions

How is it that we work out what the brain is doing?
How is it that we work out what the mind is doing?

We are not necessarily here to answer these two questions as there are many more questions . . .
. . . these two questions set for us a theme to work with . . .

Initial Topic - Scanning - A Dirty Intro

Here a dirty intro is to be taken as an intro written on the fly with no hardcore thought put into it . . .

Scanning the brain in order to understand its ability to process patterns of information.

From Google dictionary: to scan is to look at all parts of (something) carefully in order to detect some feature.
- in a sentence looks like this: "he raised his binoculars to scan the coast"

First we must understand that scanning is not just about technology - in this context we are looking at something with care to detect a feature. Although previously I have mentioned flexibility, so any of Google's definitions will suffice. There is quite a bit of inference going on to say the least - to say this is done without errors is quite silly. The inference is made on the following: Cutting up the neocortex - delightful, brain scans(neuroimaging) - there are at least ten we could choose from. Interestingly the idea of neuroimaging goes back a long way and its life actually starts out in blood circulation over 120 years ago but anyway. PET and fMRI scans are very useful. EEG has added much data despite its spatial limitations - there is no substitute for cutting the brain up. Obviously microscopes(optical and electron based) give plenty of visual data.

A little bit of psychological data can go a long way to get started.

Philosophically we have been asking many questions about the brain and mind for a long time.

By scanning data whether by computer or making sense with our minds we are able to make many conclusions by looking for correlations in available data.
We are also able to create metadata that can be graphed for visual reference.

Let the ambiguity begin . . .


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