Jeff Hawkins Explores a New Theory of Cortical Function (BS 139)

Jeff Hawkins Explores a New Theory of Cortical Function (BS 139)

Jeff Hawkins, author of the bestseller On Intelligence tells us about his latest research into how the neocortex produces intelligence. He proposes an exciting new model that could change the way we imagine cortical function.

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Why Reading Science Matters (BS 136)

Why Reading Science Matters (BS 136)

Brain Science 136 is a discussion of Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It by Mark Seidenberg. We explore some recent discoveries from reading science and ponder why there is such a large gap between these scientific discoveries and current educational practices in the US. 

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Brain Networks with Olaf Sporns (BSP 74)

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Olaf Sporns, PhD

Networks of the Brain by Olaf Sporns is an excellent comprehensive introduction to the use of Network Theory to study both the brain and the nervous systems of invertebrates.

In Episode 74 of the Brain Science Podcast, I interviewed Dr. Sporns (Indiana University) about some of the key ideas in his book.  Network Theory is becoming increasingly important as a tool for dealing with the massive amounts of data being generated by current techniques, such as brain imaging.  It is also a valuable tool for dealing with the fact that nervous systems consist of multiple scales (from the molecular level up to billions of neurons), which can not be reduced to a single scale.

While Networks of the Brain will be of greatest interest to those working in neuroscience and to those with a background in fields like engineering, mathematics, and computer science, this interview provides an introduction for listeners of all backgrounds.

 

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy mp3 for $1.
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

LINKS:

REFERENCES:

RELATED EPISODES:

  • BSP 31: Interview with György Buzsáki, author of Rhythms of the Brain.
  • BSP 46: Discussion of Brain Imaging, including Diffusion Imaging.
  • BSP 56: Interview with Dr. Eve Marder about the use of circuit theory in neuroscience.
  • BSP 61: Mapping the Brain (and generating huge amounts of data).

 ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • The Brain Science Podcast will be returning to a monthly schedule on July 1, 2011.
  • Please join the new Brain Science Podcast Discussion Forum at GoodReads.com.
  • Get show notes automatically via our Newsletter.
  • Dr. Campbell gave a talk in London last month entitled "Why Neuroscience Matters." (Available here.)
  • Dr. Campbell will be a speaker at The Amazing Meeting 9, July 14-17,2011 in Las Vegas, NV.
  • Don't forget to check out the Books and Ideas podcast and SCIENCEPODCASTERS.ORG.
  • The Brain Science Podcast app is available for iPhone, Android, and iPad. If you have purchased the iPhone version, it will now work on your iPad (no additional purchase needed). The iPad is the perfect device for reading episode transcripts, especially if you want to read along as you listen.
  • Send Dr. Campbell email at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com.

Embodied Cognition with Lawrence Shapiro (BSP 73)

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Lawrence Shapiro

In his new book, Embodied Cognition, Dr. Lawrence Shapiro provides a balanced introduction to embodied cognition's attempts to challenge standard cognitive science.  His interview in Episode 73 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of a few of his book's key ideas. It also continues our ongoing exploration of the role of embodiment. 

 

 

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy mp3 for $1.
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Related Episodes:

  • BSP 25: Embodied Artificial Intelligence with Dr. Rolf Pfeifer.
  • BSP 36: Introduction to Embodied Cognition with Dr. Art Glenberg.
  • BSP 58: "Extended Mind" with philosopher Alva Noë.
  • BSP 66: Computational cognitive science with Dr. Randy Gallistel.

Some scientists mentioned in this episode:

References:

Annoucements:

Send feed back to Dr. Campbell at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com

Celebrating 4 Years of the Brain Science Podcast (BSP 71)

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The latest episode of the Brain Science Podcast (BSP 71) is our 4th annual review episode.  As usual, I review highlights from this year's interviews, but this year I added a new feature: my personal reflections on how the Brain Science Podcast has impacted my life.  This episode also contains a special announcement for UK listeners.

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy mp3 for $1.
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Major Topics from Season 4:

  • Emotions with Jaak Panksepp (BSP 65).
  • Memory with Randy Gallistel (BSP 66).
  • Consciousness with Thomas Metzinger (BSP 67).
  • Alzheimer's Disease with Peter Whitehouse (BSP 68 and Books and Ideas 36).
  • Glia Cells with R. Douglas Fields (BSP 69).
  • Pop Psychology Myths with Scott Lilienfeld (BSP 70).

References:

Announcements:

  • The Brain Science Podcast app is now available for both iPhone and ANDROID (NEW!)
  • Be sure to subscribe to my Books and Ideas podcast. The next episode will come out in December.
  • The next episode of the Brain Science Podcast will come out in January 2010. 
  • Sign up for our Newsletter so that you won't miss any episodes.

Send me feedback at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com.

Memory: Challenging Current Theories with Randy Gallistel, PhD (BSP 66)

Episode 66 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Randy Gallistel, PhD, Co-Director of the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science and co-author (with Adam Philip King) of Memory and the Computational Brain: Why Cognitive Science Will Transform Neuroscience.

We discuss why read/write memory is an essential element of computation, with an emphasis on the animal experiments that support the claim that brains must possess read/write memory.  This is significant because current models, such as neural nets, DO NOT incorporate read/write memory in their assumptions about how brains work.  It is not necessary to have any background in information theory or computation to appreciate the experiments that are discussed in this episode.

Episode 3 and Episode 12 of the Brain Science Podcast  providebackground information for this episode.

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy mp3 for $1.
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

References and Links:

Announcements:

Send feedback to gincampbell at mac dot com or leave voice mail at 205-202-0663.

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Join our Facebook Fan Page:

Interview with Jeff Hawkins "On Intelligence" (BSP 38)

Jeff Hawkins

Episode 38 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Jeff Hawkins, author of On Intelligence.  Hawkins is well-known for founding Palm Computing and Handspring.  He invented the Grafitti handwriting recognition system and helped develop the Palm Trio SmartPhone.  Since he published his bestseller On Intelligence, he has devoted his work to his passion for neuroscience.  His current company, Numenta, is developing software that models the hierarchical structure of the neocortex.  In this interview we talk about the ideas in Hawkins book and how he is applying them to develop a computer model of cortical function.  This is a follow-up to Episode 2, which first aired in December of 2006.

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy mp3 for $1.
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Links and References:

Vernon Montcastle: pioneer who proposed that all parts of the brain's cortex work the same way.

  • Vernon Mountcastle (1978), "An Organizing Principle for Cerebral Function: The Unit Model and the Distributed System", The Mindful Brain (Gerald M. Edelman and Vernon B. Mountcastle, eds.) Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (Please let me know if you find this paper on-line!)

Redwood Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience (UC-Berkeley) founded by Jeff Hawkins.

Numenta: company website includes extensive educational information about hierarchical temporal memory system (HTM).  The company's focus is practical implementation of HTM Theory.

Donations and Subscriptions are appreciated

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Journey to Perplexity: "The Mind Is Not a Computer"

The blog, Journey to Perplexity, notes that Gerald Edelman's book, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge, offers some valuable insights into why "the mind is not a computer."   I am not sure who writes this blog, but he seems to be writing from a philosophical background.

It has been a while since I read Edelman's book.  Edelman won the Nobel Prize in 1972 for important discoveries about the structure of antibodies, but he has devoted the last several decades to studying neuroscience.  His two most well-known contributions are his theory of so-called 'neural Darwinism,' and his study of the importance of redundancy and feedback loops within the brain.  He has written quite a few books on the subject including, Wider Than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness (2005).

Second Nature is Edelman's attempt to address some of the philosophical issues about consciousness, while Wider than the Sky introduces some of his theories about how the brain generates consciousness.

How Philosophy of Mind Influences Artificial Intelligence

The latest episode of Talking Robots is an interview with Inman Harvey of the University of Sussex.  He observes that when researchers attempt to build autonomous robots, their approach is strongly influenced by their philosophy of mind, even if that philosophy is only implicit.  He also points out that what he calls "good old-fashioned AI" fails to represent how brains really work.

This is a point I have emphasized repeatedly.  Inman observes that approaches liked embodied artificial intelligence (which we discussed with Rolf Pfeifer in Episode 25) are really based on a different philosophy of mind that "good old-fashioned AI."

His paper, Philosophy of Mind Using a Screwdriver, is available as a PDF.

Consciousness with Christof Koch (BSP 22)

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Brain Science Podcast #22 is an interview with Dr. Christof Koch of Cal Tech, one of the pioneers in the neurobiological study of consciousness.  About two decades ago, when Koch and Francis Crick began looking for what they called the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC), such a quest was considered controversial; but now the field is increasing in popularity.  In our interview, we talked a little about his book,The Quest for Consciousness, as well as his on-going research and his thoughts about what the future might bring.

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy mp3 for $1.
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Here is a list of some of the topics we discussed:

  • Why Francis Crick was an outstanding mentor and colleague.
  • A Working definition of consciousness.
  • How consciousness relates to awareness.
  • What are neural correlates of consciousness.
  • Why vision is the focus of Koch's research.
  • The search for the "footprints" of consciousness.
  • The role of functional imaging and the use of monkeys.
  • Neurons-"the atoms of perception".
  • Why we need a theory of consciousness.
  • The role of the frontal lobes in consciousness.
  • Is consciousness an emergent property?
  • What about zombies?
  • Why do we need consciousness?
  • Will artificial intelligence become conscious?
  • The hard problem:  how does the brain generate subjective experience  (qualia).

Links:

Update on 2012-05-03 15:42 by Ginger Campbell, MD

Christof Koch returned to the Brain Science Podcast in Episode 84.

"Why Choose this Book?" with Read Montague (BSP 15)

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Show Notes

Episode #15 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Dr. Read Montague of the Baylor School of Medicine.  We discuss his recent book, Why Choose this Book? How we Make Decisions (2006).

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy mp3 for $1
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Here are some of the questions we discussed:

  • What is computational neuroscience?
  • What is the computational theory of the mind (CTOM)?
  • How isthe objection that the CTOM doesn't account for meaning answered ?
  • What about choice and responsibility?
  • Is there room for free will in this model?