Re: augmenting humans is difficult and slow...

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Sun Jul 08 2001 - 17:59:40 MDT

From: "Ben Houston" <>
> The technology to read from individual neurons within chronic
> implantations is here. I have not yet read of any major successes in
> long-term artificial stimulation of individual neurons -- but that's
> just an engineering problem and just give it time. This stuff doesn't
> really require esoteric nanotechnology, magical quantum interfaces but
> just electrical current readings of the relevant neurons. In other
> words, the technology for making the bidirectional connections is not
> major limiting factor.

Looks like you got that right, Ben. Here's an excerpt from today's London
Groups at several universities around the world are also working on
developing a neuromorphic retina, an artificial version of the real thing
that could restore sight to people with certain kinds of blindness. Trials
are under way and crude versions have already been implanted into patients.
However, scientists warn that the human retina is complex, and we are still
some years away from being able to build a satisfactory artificial version.

> What is the problem is figuring out what exactly will make us smarter
> and how to integrate that in to our existing brain architecture. It's
> not as simple as adding more memory -- there is tons of different types
> of memory in the brain and they are highly distributed very connected
> with the computations being preformed. Also there are a lot of
> calibration problems that have to be overcome if we would like to be
> able to recognize meaningful patterns in the brain.

I agree, except that _discovering_ what exactly will make us smarter, etc.,
may supercede figuring it out. IOW, brute force trial and error
experimentation may yield better results. Personally, I'd go for more memory
right off the bat (I forget why τΏτ). Anyway, a "neuromorphic retina" would
excite the bio-feedback crowd and possibly help to recognize meaningful
patterns in the brain, or who knows, teach us how to provide positive
optimization feedback to amplify our own intelligence. If so, would you order
one or two?

Stay hungry,

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, CYC, and ELIZA

     Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
     but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
     (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)

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