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Eric Holloway: The Brain Exceeds the Most Powerful Computers in Efficiency

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Human thinking takes vastly less computational effort to arrive at the same conclusions:

For example, using a rough estimate for processing, let’s say the DeepMind AlphaGo Zero AI takes 16 quintillion CPU cycles of training, that is, (a thousand raised to the power of six (1018), to exceed a human level of play in Go. On the other hand, let’s say a conscious human being can execute the equivalent of 50 bits per second and concentrates on Go and related skills for an entire lifetime. This effort requires 120 billion CPU cycles, which is less than the AI requirement. Thus, AlphaGo Zero would need to be 100 million times more efficient (a factor of about 100 million for improvement in CPU cycles) in order for AI to exceed human performance on an equivalent task.2

This is just the training part. More. Mind Matters

See also: Will Artificial Intelligence Design Artificial Super-Intelligence? And then turn us all into super-geniuses, as some AI researchers hope? No, and here’s why not

Human intelligence as a halting oracle

and

Artificial intelligence is impossible

4 Replies to “Eric Holloway: The Brain Exceeds the Most Powerful Computers in Efficiency

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note:

    Human brain has more switches than all computers on Earth – November 2010
    Excerpt: They found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief, says Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of the paper describing the study: …One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor–with both memory-storage and information-processing elements–than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-2708.....2-247.html

    “The brain is not a supercomputer in which the neurons are transistors; rather it is as if each individual neuron is itself a computer, and the brain a vast community of microscopic computers. But even this model is probably too simplistic since the neuron processes data flexibly and on disparate levels, and is therefore far superior to any digital system. If I am right, the human brain may be a trillion times more capable than we imagine, and “artificial intelligence” a grandiose misnomer.”
    Brian Ford research biologist – 2009 – The Secret Power of a Single Cell

    Smart neurons: Single neuronal dendrites can perform computations – October 27, 2013
    Excerpt: The results challenge the widely held view that this kind of computation is achieved only by large numbers of neurons working together, and demonstrate how the basic components of the brain are exceptionally powerful computing devices in their own right.
    Senior author Professor Michael Hausser commented: “This work shows that dendrites, long thought to simply ‘funnel’ incoming signals towards the soma, instead play a key role in sorting and interpreting the enormous barrage of inputs received by the neuron. Dendrites thus act as miniature computing devices for detecting and amplifying specific types of input.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131027140632.htm

    Brain is 10 times more active than previously measured, UCLA researchers find – Dan Gordon | March 9, 2017
    Excerpt:,, UCLA team discovered that dendrites are not just passive conduits. Their research showed that dendrites are electrically active in animals that are moving around freely, generating nearly 10 times more spikes than somas. The finding challenges the long-held belief that spikes in the soma are the primary way in which perception, learning and memory formation occur.,,,
    ,,, somas generated only all-or-nothing spikes, much like digital computers do.,,,
    “We found that dendrites are hybrids that do both analog and digital computations, which are therefore fundamentally different from purely digital computers, but somewhat similar to quantum computers that are analog,” said Mehta,,,
    “A fundamental belief in neuroscience has been that neurons are digital devices,,,
    ,,,This is a major departure from what neuroscientists have believed for about 60 years.”
    Because the dendrites are nearly 100 times larger in volume than the neuronal centers, Mehta said, the large number of dendritic spikes taking place could mean that the brain has more than 100 times the computational capacity than was previously thought.
    http://newsroom.ucla.edu/relea.....ommunicate

    Data from the Salk Institute shows brain’s memory capacity is in the petabyte range, as much as entire Web – January 20, 2016
    Excerpt: “This is a real bombshell in the field of neuroscience,” says Terry Sejnowski, Salk professor and co-senior author of the paper, which was published in eLife. “We discovered the key to unlocking the design principle for how hippocampal neurons function with low energy but high computation power. Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.”
    http://www.salk.edu/news-relea.....y-thought/

    “Complexity Brake” Defies Evolution – August 8, 2012
    Excerpt: Consider a neuronal synapse — the presynaptic terminal has an estimated 1000 distinct proteins. Fully analyzing their possible interactions would take about 2000 years. Or consider the task of fully characterizing the visual cortex of the mouse — about 2 million neurons. Under the extreme assumption that the neurons in these systems can all interact with each other, analyzing the various combinations will take about 10 million years…, even though it is assumed that the underlying technology speeds up by an order of magnitude each year.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62961.html

    The Human Brain Is ‘Beyond Belief’ by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. * – 2017
    Excerpt: The human brain,, is an engineering marvel that evokes comments from researchers like “beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief”1 and “a world we had never imagined.”2,,,
    Perfect Optimization
    The scientists found that at multiple hierarchical levels in the whole brain, nerve cell clusters (ganglion), and even at the individual cell level, the positioning of neural units achieved a goal that human engineers strive for but find difficult to achieve—the perfect minimizing of connection costs among all the system’s components.,,,
    Vast Computational Power
    Researchers discovered that a single synapse is like a computer’s microprocessor containing both memory-storage and information-processing features.,,, Just one synapse alone can contain about 1,000 molecular-scale microprocessor units acting in a quantum computing environment. An average healthy human brain contains some 200 billion nerve cells connected to one another through hundreds of trillions of synapses. To put this in perspective, one of the researchers revealed that the study’s results showed a single human brain has more information processing units than all the computers, routers, and Internet connections on Earth.1,,,
    Phenomenal Processing Speed
    the processing speed of the brain had been greatly underrated. In a new research study, scientists found the brain is 10 times more active than previously believed.6,7,,,
    The large number of dendritic spikes also means the brain has more than 100 times the computational capabilities than was previously believed.,,,
    Petabyte-Level Memory Capacity
    Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.9,,,
    Optimal Energy Efficiency
    Stanford scientist who is helping develop computer brains for robots calculated that a computer processor functioning with the computational capacity of the human brain would require at least 10 megawatts to operate properly. This is comparable to the output of a small hydroelectric power plant. As amazing as it may seem, the human brain requires only about 10 watts to function.11 ,,,
    Multidimensional Processing
    It is as if the brain reacts to a stimulus by building then razing a tower of multi-dimensional blocks, starting with rods (1D), then planks (2D), then cubes (3D), and then more complex geometries with 4D, 5D, etc. The progression of activity through the brain resembles a multi-dimensional sandcastle that materializes out of the sand and then disintegrates.13
    He also said:
    We found a world that we had never imagined. There are tens of millions of these objects even in a small speck of the brain, up through seven dimensions. In some networks, we even found structures with up to eleven dimensions.13,,,
    Biophoton Brain Communication
    Neurons contain many light-sensitive molecules such as porphyrin rings, flavinic, pyridinic rings, lipid chromophores, and aromatic amino acids. Even the mitochondria machines that produce energy inside cells contain several different light-responsive molecules called chromophores. This research suggests that light channeled by filamentous cellular structures called microtubules plays an important role in helping to coordinate activities in different regions of the brain.,,,
    https://www.icr.org/article/10186

    And all that processing is accomplished with only 10 watts:

    Chiral Induced Spin Selectivity (CISS) James Tour – December 2016
    Excerpt: Kwabena Boahen estimated that a microelectronics processor functioning with the capacity of a human brain would need at least ten megawatts to operate. This is equivalent to the output of a small hydroelectric power plant. The human brain needs only about ten watts.6
    http://inference-review.com/ar.....electivity

    I was surprised to learn that, counter-intuitive to materialistic thought (and to every kid who has ever taken a math exam), a computer does not consume energy during actual computation but will only consume energy when information is erased from it,,, such as what happens when a computer’s memory is cleared or with the merging of two computation paths where you put in two bits into a logical operation, and you get one bit out. This counter-intuitive fact of energy expenditure during erasure is formally known as Landauer’s Principle.

    Landauer’s principle
    Of Note: “any logically irreversible manipulation of information, such as the erasure of a bit or the merging of two computation paths, must be accompanied by a corresponding entropy increase ,,, Specifically, each bit of lost information will lead to the release of an (specific) amount (at least kT ln 2) of heat.,,,”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L....._principle

    Rolf Landauer (1927-1999)
    Excerpt: “Logically irreversible devices do not remember the inputs. They are thus one-way processes that lose information. Logically irreversible devices are necessary to computing, says Landauer, and logical irreversibility implies physical irreversibility.”
    http://www.informationphilosop...../landauer/

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, any computer that had anything close to as many switches as the brain has, in as confined a space as the brain is, then the heat generated from Landauer’s principle of erasure would become impossible for the computer to dissipate.

    Quantum physics behind computer temperature – June 6, 2011
    Excerpt: It was the physicist Rolf Landauer who first worked out in 1961 that when data is deleted it is inevitable that energy will be released in the form of heat. This principle implies that when a certain number of arithmetical operations per second have been exceeded, the computer will produce so much heat that the heat is impossible to dissipate.,,,
    ,, the team believes that the critical threshold where Landauer’s erasure heat becomes important may be reached within the next 10 to 20 years.
    http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/33479_en.html

    Thus the brain is either operating on reversible computation principles no present day computer can come close to emulating (as was first elucidated by Charles Bennett),,,

    Notes on Landauer’s principle, reversible computation, and Maxwell’s Demon – Charles H. Bennett – September 2003
    Excerpt: Of course, in practice, almost all data processing is done on macroscopic apparatus, dissipating macroscopic amounts of energy far in excess of what would be required by Landauer’s principle. Nevertheless, some stages of biomolecular information processing, such as transcription of DNA to RNA, appear to be accomplished by chemical reactions that are reversible not only in principle but in practice.,,,,
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....980300039X

    Logically and Physically Reversible Natural Computing: A Tutorial – 2013
    Excerpt: This year marks the 40th anniversary of Charles Bennett’s seminal paper on reversible computing. Bennett’s contribution is remembered as one of the first to demonstrate how any deterministic computation can be simulated by a logically reversible Turing machine. Perhaps less remembered is that the same paper suggests the use of nucleic acids to realise physical reversibility. In context, Bennett’s foresight predates Leonard Adleman’s famous experiments to solve instances of the Hamiltonian path problem using strands of DNA — a landmark date for the field of natural computing — by more than twenty years.
    http://link.springer.com/chapt.....38986-3_20

    ,,, or else the brain is not erasing information from its memory as material computers are required to do during computation. This is because our memories are somehow being stored on a ‘spiritual’ level, as is presupposed by Theists, rather than being stored on the material level, as is presupposed by atheists,,,

    Research backs up this conclusion,,, The following paper states that, contrary what would be presupposed in materialism, no one has ever been able to localize memories inside the brain

    A Reply to Shermer Medical Evidence for NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – Pim van Lommel
    Excerpt: For decades, extensive research has been done to localize memories inside the brain, so far without success. In connection with the hypothesis that consciousness and memories are stored inside the brain the question also arises how a non-material activity such as concentrated attention or thinking can correspond with a visible (material) reaction in the form of a measurable electrical, magnetic and chemical activity at a certain place in the brain. Different mental activities give rise to changing patterns of activity in different parts of the brain. This has been shown in neurophysiology through EEG, magneto-encephalogram (MEG) and at present also through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET-scan). (9-11) Also an increase in cerebral blood flow is observed during such a non-material activity like thinking (12). It is also not well understood how it is to be explained that in a sensory experiment following a physical sensation the person involved in the test stated that he was aware (conscious) of the sensation a few thousands of a second following the stimulation, while the subject’s brain showed that neuronal adequacy wasn’t achieved until after a full 500 msec. following the sensation. This experiment has led to the so-called delay-and-antedating hypothesis (13).
    http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel.....sponse.htm

    The Mystery of Perception During Near Death Experiences – Pim van Lommel – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avyUsPgIuQ0

    And Neurosurgeon Dr Egnor states that ‘The attribution of memory — in a psychological sense — to a computer is just nonsense, a bizarre confusion of metaphor and reality.’

    Your Computer Can’t Remember a Darned Thing – December 12, 2014
    Excerpt: The attribution of memory — in a psychological sense — to a computer is just nonsense, a bizarre confusion of metaphor and reality. A computer no more has memory, in the sense of remembering things, than you can catch a train at your computer terminal.
    So a computer itself doesn’t have memories, in the sense of remembering anything. But can a computer store memories? Of course not. Memories are not the kind of things for which the verb “store” has any sense. Nothing — neither we nor a computer — can store a psychological thing. “I can’t store any more memories in my psychology, because I’m already full of propositions” doesn’t even make sense. I can have memories, I can like or dislike memories, I can tell other people about my memories, but I can’t store memories. And of course, neither can my computer store memories. My computer can store electrons, or data understood as patterns of electrons on the hard drive. But memories can’t be stored on computers, because memories can’t be stored at all. The assertion is nonsense.
    Now, what is true is that representations of memories can be stored on a computer.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91961.html

    Dr. Egnor goes on to bluntly state the obvious fact that ‘Your computer doesn’t know a binary string from a ham sandwich.’

    “Your Computer Doesn’t Know Anything” (January 23, 2015). .
    Excerpt: Your computer doesn’t know a binary string from a ham sandwich. Your math book doesn’t know algebra. Your Rolodex doesn’t know your cousin’s address. Your watch doesn’t know what time it is. Your car doesn’t know where you’re driving. Your television doesn’t know who won the football game last night. Your cell phone doesn’t know what you said to your girlfriend this morning. ¶ People know things. Devices like computers and books and Rolodexes and watches and cars and televisions and cell phones don’t know anything. They don’t have minds. They are artifacts — paper and plastic and silicon things designed and manufactured by people — and they provide people with the means to leverage their human knowledge. ¶ Computers (and books and watches and the like) are the means by which people leverage and express knowledge. Computers store and process representations of knowledge. But computers have no knowledge themselves.
    http://afterall.net/quotes/mic.....esnt-know/

    I was also surprised to learn that performing mental arithmetic does not consume any more energy in the brain than when you are simply relaxing. In the following study it was found that cerebral oxygen consumption is unaltered during mental arithmetic

    THE EFFECT OF MENTAL ARITHMETIC ON CEREBRAL CIRCULATION AND METABOLISM
    Excerpt: Although Lennox considered the performance of mental arithmetic as “mental work”, it is not immediately apparent what the nature of that work in the physical sense might be if, indeed, there be any. If no work or energy transformation is involved in the process of thought, then it is not surprising that cerebral oxygen consumption is unaltered during mental arithmetic.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....4-0127.pdf

    More recent studies find that glucose consumption by the brain is remarkably stable despite widely varying levels of mental activity.

    Does Thinking Really Hard Burn More Calories? – By Ferris Jabr – July 2012
    Excerpt: Unlike physical exercise, mental workouts probably do not demand significantly more energy than usual. Believing we have drained our brains, however, may be enough to induce weariness,,,
    Although the average adult human brain weighs about 1.4 kilograms, only 2 percent of total body weight, it demands 20 percent of our resting metabolic rate (RMR)—the total amount of energy our bodies expend in one very lazy day of no activity.,,,
    —Resting metabolic rate: 1300 kilocalories, or kcal, the kind used in nutrition
    —1,300 kcal over 24 hours = 54.16 kcal per hour = 15.04 gram calories per second
    —15.04 gram calories/sec = 62.93 joules/sec = about 63 watts
    —20 percent of 63 watts = 12.6 watts
    So a typical adult human brain runs on around 12 watts—a fifth of the power required by a standard 60 watt lightbulb. Compared with most other organs, the brain is greedy; pitted against man-made electronics, it is astoundingly efficient.
    IBM’s Watson, the supercomputer that defeated Jeopardy! champions, depends on ninety IBM Power 750 servers, each of which requires around one thousand watts.,,,
    “but when people do one mental task you won’t see a large increase of glucose consumption as a significant percentage of the overall rate. The base level is quite a lot of energy—even in slow-wave sleep with very little activity there is still a high baseline consumption of glucose.”
    http://www.scientificamerican......d-calories

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related ‘spiritual’ interest, “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional.”

    Post-Darwinist – Denyse O’Leary – Dec. 2010
    Excerpt: They quote West et al. (1999),
    What Darwin Got Wrong – pg 79
    “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional. Quarter-power scaling laws are perhaps as universal and as uniquely biological as the biochemical pathways of metabolism, the structure and function of the genetic code and the process of natural selection.”
    They comment,
    “In the words of these authors, natural selection has exploited variations on this fractal theme to produce the incredible variety of biological form and function’, but there were severe geometric and physical constraints on metabolic processes.”
    “The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection. It’s inconceivable that so many different organisms, spanning different kingdoms and phyla, may have blindly ‘tried’ all sorts of power laws and that only those that have by chance ‘discovered’ the one-quarter power law reproduced and thrived.”
    Quotations from Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong (London: Profile Books, 2010), p. 78-79.

    The predominance of quarter-power (4-D) scaling in biology
    Excerpt: Many fundamental characteristics of organisms scale
    with body size as power laws of the form:
    Y = Yo M^b,
    where Y is some characteristic such as metabolic rate, stride length or life span, Yo is a normalization constant, M is body mass and b is the allometric scaling exponent.
    A longstanding puzzle in biology is why the exponent b is usually some simple multiple of 1/4 (4-Dimensional scaling) rather than a multiple of 1/3, as would be expected from Euclidean (3-Dimensional) scaling.
    http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/~dre.....18_257.pdf

    More interesting still, the brain, unlike the rest of the “4-Dimensional” body, scales to 1/6 instead of 1/4 (4-Dimensional) power scaling. In fact, the brain’s constant metabolism, whether you are resting or whether you are thinking hard about something, always resembles the metabolism of our bodies as we strenuously exercise.

    Scaling of Brain Metabolism and Blood Flow in Relation to Capillary and Neural Scaling – 2011
    Excerpt: Brain is one of the most energy demanding organs in mammals, and its total metabolic rate scales with brain volume raised to a power of around 5/6. This value is significantly higher than the more common exponent 3/4 (4- dimensional Quarter Power Scaling) relating whole body resting metabolism with body mass and several other physiological variables in animals and plants.,,,
    Moreover, cerebral metabolic, hemodynamic, and microvascular variables scale with allometric exponents that are simple multiples of 1/6, rather than 1/4, which suggests that brain metabolism is more similar to the metabolism of aerobic than resting body. Relation of these findings to brain functional imaging studies involving the link between cerebral metabolism and blood flow is also discussed.,,
    General Discussion Excerpt:
    ,,It should be underlined that both CBF and CMR scale with brain volume with the exponent about 1/6 which is significantly different from the exponent 1/4 relating whole body resting specific metabolism with body volume [1], [2], [3]. Instead, the cerebral exponent 1/6 is closer to an exponent,, characterizing maximal body specific metabolic rate and specific cardiac output in strenuous exercise [43], [44]. In this sense, the brain metabolism and its hemodynamics resemble more the metabolism and circulation of exercised muscles than other resting organs, which is in line with the empirical evidence that brain is an energy expensive organ [10], [17], [18].
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC3203885/

    These experiments are very unexpected for materialists since materialists hold that ‘mind’ is merely a ’emergent property’ of the physical processes of the material brain.
    That is to say, on materialistic presuppositions why should ‘mental activity’, which is presupposed to be result of, and subservient to, the material processes of the brain, not vary with the metabolic activity of the brain? Why should the material brain operate at such a constant and optimal metabolic rate, despite varying levels of mental activity, whereas the rest of body corresponds its metabolic activity with physical activity?
    The most parsimonious explanation for such a optimal constraint on the brain’s metabolic activity, despite widely varying levels of mental activity, is that the material brain was designed, first and foremost, to house the immaterial mind and give the immaterial mind the most favorable metabolic environment at all times.

  4. 4
    Fasteddious says:

    Furthermore, “DeepMind AlphaGo Zero AI” does not even understand that it is playing GO. It is just following its programming, augmented by its “deep learning” adjustments to many parameters, indices and registers.

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