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Newsweek: 11 dimensional structures discovered in brain

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From Hannah Osborne at Newsweek:

Scientists studying the brain have discovered that the organ operates on up to 11 different dimensions, creating multiverse-like structures that are “a world we had never imagined.”

Henry Markram, director of Blue Brain Project, said the findings could help explain why the brain is so hard to understand. “The mathematics usually applied to study networks cannot detect the high-dimensional structures and spaces that we now see clearly,” he 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.” More.

The structures are not “multiverse-like,” they are just much more complex than pop science imagines. Dragging in the multiverse will not save pop science.

Here’s the paper the story is based on:

Abstract: The lack of a formal link between neural network structure and its emergent function has hampered our understanding of how the brain processes information. We have now come closer to describing such a link by taking the direction of synaptic transmission into account, constructing graphs of a network that reflect the direction of information flow, and analyzing these directed graphs using algebraic topology. Applying this approach to a local network of neurons in the neocortex revealed a remarkably intricate and previously unseen topology of synaptic connectivity. The synaptic network contains an abundance of cliques of neurons bound into cavities that guide the emergence of correlated activity. In response to stimuli, correlated activity binds synaptically connected neurons into functional cliques and cavities that evolve in a stereotypical sequence toward peak complexity. We propose that the brain processes stimuli by forming increasingly complex functional cliques and cavities. (public access) – Michael W. Reimann et al, Cliques of Neurons Bound into Cavities Provide a Missing Link between Structure and Function, Comput. Neurosci., 12 June 2017 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fncom.2017.00048

See also: Neuroscientist: Consciousness is theology, not neurology

7 Replies to “Newsweek: 11 dimensional structures discovered in brain

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    They ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
    The most fascinating discoveries are still ahead.

  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    “[…] remarkably intricate and previously unseen topology of synaptic connectivity.”

    “[…] the brain processes stimuli by forming increasingly complex functional cliques and cavities.”

    “How the structure of a network determines its function is not well understood. ”

    “[…] functional relationships among increasingly higher-dimensional cliques form and then disintegrate.”

    “[…] the presence of high-dimensional topological structures is a general phenomenon across nervous systems.”

    “[…] neocortical microcircuits process information through a stereotypical progression of clique and cavity formation and disintegration […]”

  3. 3
    jstanley01 says:

    A couple of interesting articles from a computer scientist on the subject of artificial intelligence and where he thinks intelligence may actually reside:

    Artificial Ignorance
    Posted on April 29, 2017 by TheSaint in Artifical Life

    The implication our brightest minds would have us believe is that imitation and recording of menial thoughts and behaviors is equivalent to being intelligent, which tells us more about what they think of us then what they actually know about artificial intelligence. ACTUAL artificial intelligence must ALSO be able to self-program, to identify and solve abstract problems without being directed to do so, to be able to make observations about the world and draw new conclusions from data or situations that it has not been previously trained to recognize. Neural networks and today’s’ deep learning systems are not a step in the direction of doing any of these things. Massive permutation searches for solutions to finite state problems is probably NOT how a brain works.

    Also…

    Fooling Ourselves with AI
    Posted on June 16, 2017 by TheSaint in Artifical Life, Things that NEED to be said

    I’ve worked with neural networks a lot over the years and the thing that keeps popping out of them is that they are NOT the basis of human intelligence or sentience. Consciousness, as we know it, cannot emerge from the primitive models of neural networks that we play with on computers today. They’re very good at recognizing patterns and are very informative about how animal motor skills may be trained but they can’t learn to think or have ideas of their own. Humans like to pretend that consciousness as we experience it is uniquely human and that it popped into existence some 40,000 years ago with the emergence of human tools and cave drawings. One can hardly blame creationists for their skepticism of evolutionary theory with this common view of the human condition. As a scientist I would observe that nothing as complex and nuanced as intelligence can be the product of very rapid evolutionary phenomena. I have written may articles about my skepticism of modern Artificial Intelligence hype. I’ve heard extremely intelligent and ostensibly knowledgeable authorities on the subject claim that we are on the verge of experiencing a Skynet like revolution in Artificial Intelligence that will wipe out all jobs and maybe the human species. In reality I have seen zero indication that any of the AI toys currently being played with by our most advanced AI researchers are in any danger of “waking up” and taking over from us.

    Alex St. John Bio

  4. 4
    EricMH says:

    Yes, AI is part of the materialistic religion. In fact, it is how materialists hope to create god. They call it friendly, general AI. They claim it will be able to not only solve all our problems, but also perfectly simulate everyone who has ever existed, giving us immortality. Tell me that’s not a religion!

    Once they make an AI writing AI, then I’ll take notice.

  5. 5
    PaV says:

    From the Discussion section of the paper:

    The higher degree of topological complexity of the reconstruction compared to any of the null models was found to depend on the morphological detail of neurons, suggesting that the local statistics of branching of the dendrites and axons is a crucial factor in forming directed cliques and cavities, though the exact mechanism by which this occurs remains to be determined (but see Stepanyants and Chklovskii, 2005). The number of directed 2-, 3-, and 4-simplices found per 12-patch in vitro recording was higher than in the digital reconstruction, suggesting that the level of structural organization we found is a conservative estimate of the actual complexity. Since the reconstructions are stochastic instantiations at a specific age of the neocortex, they do not take into account rewiring driven by plasticity during development and learning. Rewiring is readily triggered by stimuli as well as spontaneous activity (Le Be and Markram, 2006), which leads to a higher degree of organization (Chklovskii et al., 2004; Holtmaat and Svoboda, 2009) that is likely to increase the number of cliques. . . .

  6. 6

    Excellent post and comments.

  7. 7
    J-Mac says:

    11 dimensions? I can only imagine 4, so how do they see 11???

    I once came across an idea that there could be an infinite number of dimensions or infinity can be explained by infinite number of dimensions…

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