From: fudley (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Jan 15 2006 - 15:06:13 MST
On Sun, 15 Jan 2006 "Phillip Huggan" <firstname.lastname@example.org> said:
> we know to some degree how emotions work. We know it really
> has little if any to do with computation.
That’s news to me, perhaps the article in Science where that was proved
got lost in the mail.
> We know it is a chemical hormonal process.
> Physical not computational.
Can you name computational process that is not physical? I can’t. I can
only name one physical process that is not computational, quantum
> Everbody knows carbon is a more versatile element
> for chemical processes than is silicon.
And silicon’s ability to form complex compounds has nothing to do with
the silicon in computer chips.
> We're not seriously going to debate that hormones
> are computational, are we?
I see nothing sacred in hormones, I don't see the slightest reason why
they or any neurotransmitter would be especially difficult to simulate
through computation, because chemical
messengers are not a sign of sophisticated design on nature's part,
rather it's an example of Evolution's bungling. If you need to inhibit a
nearby neuron there are better ways of sending that signal then
launching a GABA molecule like a message in a bottle thrown into the sea
and waiting ages for it to diffuse to its random target.
I'm not interested in chemicals only the information they contain, I
want the information to get transmitted from cell to cell by best method
and few would send smoke signals if they had a fiber optic cable. The
information content in each molecular message must be tiny, just a few
bits because only about 60 neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine,
norepinephrine and GABA are known, even if the true number is 100 times
greater (or a million times for that matter) the information content of
each signal must be minute. Also, for the long range stuff, exactly
which neuron receives the signal can not be specified because it relies
on a random process, diffusion. The fact that it's slow as molasses in
February does not add to its charm.
If your job is delivering packages and all the packages are very small
and your boss doesn't care who you give them to as long as it's on the
correct continent and you have until the next ice age to get the work
done, then you don't have a very difficult profession. I see no reason
why simulating that anachronism would present the slightest difficulty.
Artificial neurons could
be made to release neurotransmitters as inefficiently as natural ones if
anybody really wanted to, but it would be pointless when there are much
Electronics is inherently fast because its electrical signals are sent
by fast light electrons. The brain also uses some electrical signals,
but it doesn't use electrons, it uses ions to send signals, the most
important are chlorine and potassium. A chlorine ion is 65 thousand
times as heavy as an electron, a potassium ion is even heavier, if you
want to talk about gap
junctions, the ions they use are millions of times more massive than
electrons. There is no way to get around it, according to the
fundamental laws of physics, something that has a large mass will be
slow, very, very, slow.
The great strength biology has over present day electronics is in the
ability of one neuron to make thousands of connections of various
strengths with other neurons. However, I see absolutely nothing in the
fundamental laws of physics that prevents nano machines from doing the
same thing, or better and MUCH faster.
> We're not seriously going to suggest a person
> made of legos can be sad, are we?
Certainly. If a bunch of grey goo can be happy or sad if it is organized
in the correct way so can legos.
John K Clark
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