As an outsider in neuroscience, I always have been uncomfortable with their literature in that nothing is ever conclusive. It's like stamp collecting contradictory evidence. It's up to the reader to make up his mind of which set has no contradictions.
Also, it appears that almost all generalizations are wrong. The left-right brain hypothesis is wrong. The triune brain is wrong. System 1/2 is wrong. Cortical columns and uniformity of the neocortex are just imagined. The list is endless!
So as an outsider of neuroscience, you can't quote with confidence any generalization about the brain that comes from the field. At best we treat it as metaphors. All models in neuroscience appear to be wrong. What's worse is neuroscientists can't tell what's useful!
So we are stuck with metaphors. The brain is homeostatic. The brain learns through experience. The brain has a 'global workspace'. There are many rhythms in the brain. The brain works like 'a scientist'.
It's like there's a massive disconnect as to what has been discovered in neuroscience and what we can conclusively say about higher-level cognitive capabilities of the brain. It's like neuroscience isn't about cognition despite everyone pretending that it is.
The strangest thing is that many in the cognitive sciences will cite a conclusion from neuroscience to bolster their argument. Why do they do this? Is this just an appeal for our bias in reductionist ideas?
A pervasive example of this is the explanation of the harm created by social media algorithms. It's explained as exploiting the 'dopamine drip' that is intrinsic to brain function. You can't get more elementary than highlighting a function of a neurotransmitter.
So it's like I can argue that empathy is intrinsically fundamental to human cognition because... well there is a neurotransmitter (i.e. serotonin) that's function is to enhance empathy. A lot of people will buy into this reductionist explanation hook line and sinker!
Well that's the thing about intuitive explanations that are easy to understand. They are easy to understand because they appeal to cognitive biases. Humans are biased to seek out simple and reductionist explanations.
To appear to explain something complex in an intuitive way is to appeal to existing biases. So that's why explanations that cite the left-right brain divide, the triune brain, etc. Stuff that is essentially reductionist, has so much appeal.
This is the saddest thing because very few will accept your explanation if you begin from a concept that is counter-intuitive. For example, I have difficulty convincing people that all thinking is System 1 (i.e. Intuitive). Most people don't believe that this can be true!
GOFAI was so popular an agenda that it appeared intuitively true that human cognition derives from logical and symbolic processing. Centuries of Descartes' duality had conditioned the population to accept this.
But human general intelligence is difficult to formulate because it's built on top of many unintuitive ideas. Something that is intuitive is an old idea that we are immersed in.
The hive mind internet is now an example of an old idea that we've been immersed in for decades. The same can be said about user interfaces in computers and virtual worlds in games. I doubt you can explain this in an intuitive way to people who lived a century ago.
The human mind understands the world because it experiences the world. Language that conveys a world that we have yet to experience is understandable because we embed metaphors with a world that we are familiar with. Absent metaphors and we can't understand explanations.
So to understand the brain, we rely on metaphors and the metaphors that neuroscience has invented may just be good enough to be useful.
One characteristic of general intelligence is that we can hold in our heads multiple contradicting world views. General intelligence is the capability of selecting the useful one depending on context. We explain the world using metaphors that are useful in context.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Carlos E. Perez

Carlos E. Perez Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @IntuitMachine

24 Jul
Why must conscious biological creatures be made of predominantly unconscious stuff? Is not the answer to this within the realm of our daily experience?
The answer is simple. To avoid unnecessary and expensive bureaucracy. Imagine a brain where everything is micromanaged from a centralized command and control center. It would be crushed by the complexity of the task.
The brain is composed of a multitude of unconscious processes. Each process disseminating indications of inconsistencies in its predictions to other processes. The purpose of this information distribution is to ensure the homeostasis of the whole brain.
Read 18 tweets
24 Jul
It's incorrect to treat either emotions or consciousness like an axiom in the formulation of general intelligence.
I agree that emotions are a parameter in cognition. I agree with @Plinz But this parameter is also regulated by cognition. How we perceive the world is regulated by our cognition and emotions are an emergent response to our perception. An axiom is a boundary condition.
Emotions are affected by our perception and thus it's not a boundary condition but rather is a constraint that morphs with our subsequent interactions with our world and our minds.
Read 11 tweets
24 Jul
This is just unfortunate. It's a consequence of scientists themselves not understanding how life emerges out of physics. Absent this understanding, one can easily fall into this kind of worthless extrapolation.
I understand the appeal of 'one force that binds the universe together'. I further understand the first-person perspective that is inextricable in physics. But when we use the term consciousness, we imply a speckle of agency and hence the presence of choice.
The laws of physics are not broken even if biological creatures have agency. Agency in the sense that select behaviors in response to sensing their environments.
Read 5 tweets
23 Jul
In the quest for customers, innovative businesses have explored different ways to give away things for free and seeking their revenue in unexpected ways. So there was always this race to the bottom and the winners are those able to scale economically.
We see this game being played by countries in the taxes on companies that they are willing to ignore. We see this also in the US where states with different taxation laws. This is of course all a race to the bottom by its participants.
In today's economy, you don't really have captive citizens or captive corporations. The digital economy has allowed them to operate wherever they please to do. This mobility gives them bargaining power.
Read 4 tweets
23 Jul
Perhaps it was a brilliant idea that WHO gave a different name for a variant of the covid virus. Humans are tuned to know that different names imply different behavior. Just like hurricanes have different names. Each kind requires different preparations.
It is just fascinating how unaware public institutions are of how to express public safety messages in a manner that intuitively encapsulates the concern. The virus is problematic because it does not remain the same.
But too many overlook this reality and believe that whatever worked in the past will work today. This fallacy is more obvious when you give it another name (i.e. Delta). How you prepare for a hurricane is different because you is different by virtue of an assignment of a name.
Read 4 tweets
23 Jul
OMG! This is a very sad clip for me. I was inspired by Carl Sagan's Cosmos when I was growing up. I just realized that decades of us have grown up without the same inspiration. They instead were inspired by an anti-science agenda.
If Carl Sagan is so critically important to the survival of civilization then why is it that we have so few Carl Sagans?
Because present civilization selects out the Carl Sagans of this world. Sagan was denied tenure at Harvard due to (1) his interests were too broad across many areas (2) his well-publicized scientific advocacy was perceived as borrowing the ideas of others.
Read 18 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!