Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Brain Prosthesis Experiment

Here's an interesting thought experiment for you to think about.

If we replaced the neurons in your brain one at a time with identically functioning electronic substitute neurons, gradually transforming your brain from biological to electronical, would your concious experience differ?

Answers on a postcard.


14 comments:

  1. Hmm it would be awesome to test that...

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  2. I can guess that conscious experience would differ because the electronic brain that is realizing its experience has been altered from the previous biologically based system. I am a fan of "multiple realizability"; I think it is possible for different physical systems to realize different mental qualities. The question lies in the precise difference of the quality of mentality between a sentient computer and a biological being. Would vision, sound, and smell be perceived differently? Would the nature of thoughts and dreams differ? Is it even possible for a electronic brain to attain self awareness, or is this a property restricted and maintained to only the higher biological beings such as us? Whatever the case, I can only restate that conscious experience would in fact differ due to the change of physicality. However, I do not know the phenomenological states of a electronic brain.

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  3. I know very little about the inner workings of the brain, but i would guess if the neurons are identically functioning there should be no change barring outside influence.

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  4. Yes it certainly wouldn't, wait.

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  5. agree with aio... if the function is the same, the i assume i would see no difference.

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  6. interesting topic of choice. Followed

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  7. Very nice question, really makes you think hard

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  8. one day im sure we will find this out for sure.

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  9. Think I'll have to side with Aio on this one

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  10. It would be awesome that's what it would be.

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  11. hmmm its a pretty cool experiment thats for sure, not sure on its validity. lots of conflicting elements

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  12. Yeah assumptions are been made that it is possible to do these things but it is still interesting to think about. I think what it is trying to get at is if you think that conciousness will be lost then at what point is it lost? What is it about biological tissue that let's us have conciousness and machines not. There is no correct answer as of yet and probably won't be for a while. It's even hard to tell after we have performed the experiment as only subject may truly know.

    I for one think that conciousness will not be lost as their is nothing inherently different between the neuron and the artificial technology replacing it.

    @Santa is Drowning: Interesting issues and questions you bring up there. I may look into some of them and post about them later.

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