Mind (Connectome)-Blowing Ideas

         Along the lines of Mariah’s recent entry (One Correct Theory? I’m Not Entirely Convinced), I’m skeptical about the connectome so far. It all sounds great in theory, with the day-to-day self represented by neural activity and the stable, slowly-changing self by the connectome, but right now they’re predominantly just ideas. Although they’re wonderful ideas, will they stand up to experimentation? Will the technologies to examine these theories develop as quickly as Sebastian Seung expects? This is where the majority of my skepticism lies; I’m not convinced we’ll have these advances in the near future if ever. (Keep in mind that I’m technologically-challenged, living in constant fear of my computer, phone, iPod, etc. crashing as they often do, so I don’t have anywhere near the background knowledge or faith to accept this prediction). Because of this and after reading only through the first chapter, I am wondering if the book will emphasize future abilities and possible outcomes rather than what we can investigate today.  

Seung presented these ‘mind-blowing’ ideas of the future in a TED Talk complementing his book. Although I’m clearly skeptical so far, I couldn’t help but notice his stage presence and passion for neuroscience. I think this enthusiasm and ability to speak to a general audience is crucial for public awareness and interest, as I’ve mentioned in a few past entries. I know I would appreciate a physicist version of Seung. Whenever I’m attempting to study physics, I think to myself, “I really wish the characters on The Big Bang Theory could teach me this instead” because that would be far more useful than staring at equations. So although I’m wary of the connectome at this point, I’m excited to see how Seung communicates these ideas to the general public.

2 thoughts on “Mind (Connectome)-Blowing Ideas

  1. It’s interesting how much stage presence influences our decisions. I think Seung’s enthusiasm definitely almost convinced me to fully accept the connectome idea. (The stage presence of the Big Bang Theory scientists have definitely convinced me that the PhD track is cool!)


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