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Jeffrey Fadness

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Are we on the brink of creating a human-like digital mind?

The human brain contains some 100 billion neurons, grouped in specialized function zones, connected by a hundred thousand billion synapses - the neurons representing individual data processing and storage units; and synapses the data transfer cabling, connecting all the processing units.

Correlating its processing ability to a supercomputer, it's been estimated it can perform more than 38 thousand trillion operations per second, and hold about 3.6 million gigabytes of memory. Equally impressive, it's estimated that the human brain executes this monumental computational task on a mere equivalent of 20 watts of power; about the same energy to power a single, dim light bulb. In today's technology, a supercomputer designed to deliver comparable capabilities would require roughly 100 megawatts (100 million watts) of power; an energy equivalent that could fully satisfy the power consumption needs of roughly a thousand households.

An ambitious $1.3 billion project was very recently announced in Europe to simulate a human mind in the form of a complete human brain in a supercomputer. It's named the Human Brain Project. A similar project in the U.S. planned by National Institutes of Health (NIH) is called the Brain Activity Map project.

Assuming we learn enough from these efforts to design a new architecture in computer processing which can approximate the ability of the human brain - what's to stop us from creating the cognitive faculties that enable consciousness, thinking, reasoning, perception, and judgement? After all, we as human beings develop these abilities from data we acquire over time through sensory inputs connecting us to our experiences, and from information communicated to us by others.

Think about it. Is there anything related to our experience - be it physical, historical or conceptual - that cannot be described in language, and therefore be input as executable data and programming to create a human-like digital mind?

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    Mar 26 2013: Is it possible that a human like brain be created?? the short answer is YES however, it will come at a great expense. In order for that brain to be human-like, it must rebel against it's maker. It is only through this rebellion that it can qualify as a free thinker.
    Our brain evolved as it is, has already set a certain standard. If and when this standard falls, it will need to fight from becoming a prisoner to the new creation.
    This quest I believe, is a very dangerous one.
    Cheers
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        Apr 1 2013: Hello Don.
        The definition that you are looking for entails that I plunge into a theological discussion. The Soul that you talk about is strictly a theological reality. What I talk about is a logical conclusion to a scientific prospect of a human like, digital mind.
        I am simply saying that in order to prove to ones self that you are a free thinker, you must break away from the one that has created you. The one that keeps you captive. In this case, man.
        I do realize that this rings true likeness to the theological 'garden of Eden' and the idea may somehow come from there.
        however the mind that you mention IS the catalist, the bridge that connects instinct to freedom.

        Don, I do know Base Borden. I was not around in this area during the time that you mention. I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I do.

        Cheers
        Respectfully
        Vincenzo

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