Readers have probably heard of self-driving car entrepreneur Elon Musk. He’s now also promoting brain-computer interfaces via the Neuralink project. Jonathan Bartlett thinks his view of how the brain works is too simplistic:
Self-driving car entrepreneur Elon Musk sat down last week with popular podcast host Joe Rogan to talk about a variety of topics, including his new venture, Neuralink, announced last year. If you haven’t been following, Neuralink is a technology that aims to create an interface between the brain and a computer.
Musk proposes to embed electrodes within your brain so that signals could be sent and received. A similar technology is already being used in mice and a less invasive technology helps some blind or paralyzed people restore some functions. Neuralink is the first company to aim for something more general (however, its timeline to actual human implants is still up in the air).
What I found most interesting about the conversation, however, is not the technology itself but the (secular) mythology embedded in Musk’s lengthy descriptions of what he thinks his device can do…
Neuroscientists used to think that each neuron was as complex as a switch. But newer research shows that each neuron is more similar to a microprocessor. Musk’s 3,000 Neuralink electrodes controlled by a single processor does not remotely match your mind’s 80 billion processors, all linked together.Jonathan Bartlett, “Elon Musk’s myths about the mind” at Mind Matters News
Here’s the Joe Rogan show:
Here are some ways the brain and mind are not like a computer:
If your brain were cut in half, would you still be one person? Yes, with minor disabilities. Roger Sperry’s split-brain research convinced him that the mind and free will are real
Yes, split brains are weird, but not the way you think. Scientists who dismiss consciousness and free will ignore the fact that the higher faculties of the mind cannot be split even by splitting the brain in half. (Michael Egnor)
Some people think and speak with only half a brain. A new study sheds light on how they do it.
We will never “solve” the brain. A science historian offers a look at some of the difficulties we face in understanding the brain.
Four researchers whose work sheds light on the reality of the mind The brain can be cut in half, but the intellect and will cannot, says Michael Egnor. The intellect and will are metaphysically simple.