« Last post by Meunster on Today at 02:29:56 pm »
Why did no one post this?
Why did no one post this?
PD.com: You're safer in New Bedford.
That's very cool. I like the idea, regardless of the fact that I can't get that Fleetwood Mac song out of my head now.
I'm gearing up for the RPM challenge. This would be a good place to keep myself honest about what I'm doing.
Just to clarify, "OPEN BAR" means "place to shout out random shit that's going in your life," right?
So, this is only tangentially related to the topic, but I figured it goes here anyway. A lot of people think of the brain as a sort of meat computer. It's not (it's actually mostly made out of fat, but that's beside the point). The actual complexity is difficult to convey partly because we don't understand it very well; every time we zoom in, we just find another level of staggering complexity.
Let's start here: an average young healthy adult has about 200 billion neurons in their central nervous system alone. That's a lot of neurons. Each neuron makes up to 10,000 connections with other neurons. If we're looking at connectivity, we're up to a really, really big number... what is that, 2x1018? But of course, when you're talking about functionality, just the number of connections doesn't tell the whole story. You have to account for combinations of connections. I can't even guess at how many different combinations are likely for each neuron, so lets just be really conservative and say ten, because it's a nice simple number. That gives us, (unless I fucked up the math, which is completely possible) about 4.5x1084.
That's a lot. That is a very, very big number. But that's not all.
There are about ten times more glial cells than neurons. Glial cells are the support cells of the nervous system, and we don't know very much about what they do. We do know that they play a role in neuroplasticity (changing and strengthening connections) and in neurotransmitter regulation. I'm going to stop even trying with the math now, because I'm sure you get the point.
Speaking of neurotransmitters, there are over 100 different ones that we know about so far. What a neurotransmitter can do mostly depends on the types of receptors on the postsynaptic neuron, and where THAT neuron terminates. Some neurotransmitters only have one known receptor, but most have several; serotonin has 15. 14 of those serotonin receptors are G-protein-coupled receptors, which means that they release one of many types of G protein when the neurotransmitter binds to the receptor. What's a G protein, you might ask? WELL, it's a sort of tiny molecular switch that can act as a messenger that triggers a variety of other effects in a cell, some of which ultimately effect the DNA in the nucleus, changing how it expresses its genes. Remember, neurons are cells, so this means it alters the functionality of the neuron, usually on a graded scale, in any one of the many ways the neuron's DNA is capable of expressing.
I am simplifying this WAY WAY down. It's much more complex than I'm making it sound. I'm just trying to give some insight into why I do not believe that computer technology is anywhere close to "brain like", and may never be.
Brains are not very good calculators, which is why we invented calculators. Electrons move at the speed of light; electrochemical impulses in neurons are dependent on the physical movement of ions, and that speed maxes out at about 90 meters per second in humans. The trade-off is that they are staggeringly complex and yet are literally made of the most common and easily-replaceable stuff in the universe; crap you'd just find laying around on a planet.