Talking Robots: Gerald Edelman

Posted 23 Nov 2007 at 10:15 UTC by mwaibel Share This

Just yesterday we posted on efforts for creating "wiring diagrams" of the brain (see post just below). However, exactly how much light these maps alone will shed on the brain is still somewhat controversial. In the latest Talking Robots episode we talk to Gerald Edelman, a Nobel laureate who after his work on immunology turned his focus to studying the brain. His approach does not focus on wiring diagrams, but may be complementing other approaches: Edelman focuses on how the brain's wiring can development and organize to give rise to higher brain functions. And, importantly, his approach involves robots! His brain-based devices (BBDs) interact with real-world environments - to see how check out some movies. In the Talking Robots interview, Edelman gives an overview of his theory to explain higher brain functions - and how he goes about testing it.

Awesome Podcast - A must listen!, posted 23 Nov 2007 at 20:45 UTC by dafyddwalters » (Master)

I've been an avid listener to the Talking Robots podcasts, and they've all been a great listen, but for me, this one has really stood out.

Edelman's brain-based automatons seem to be making demonstrable progress towards solving the general AI problem, especially the recent models which use the artificial hippocampus approach. It's so exciting that artificial brains are showing signs of acquiring and recalling spacial and episodic memories.

In this podcast, Edelman also discusses consciousness, and the scientific approaches he and his institute are employing to study consciousness - fascinating stuff.

Has anyone here read Dr. Edelman's book "Brain Science and Human Knowledge"? Is it worth putting on the Christmas list?

just as good, posted 24 Nov 2007 at 12:02 UTC by c6jones720 » (Master)

In the summer I read the book Conciousness how mater becomes imagination by the same author. It was well worth reading because the explanations for conciousness seemed quite plausible. I hope continued research down these avenues produce good results.

Still a conterder, posted 29 Nov 2007 at 13:17 UTC by motters » (Master)

I think that at the present time Edelman's theory remains as one of the top contenders for an explanation of how the brain actually works. One criticism which you could make of Edelman is that his books tend to be written in a quite dry and technical style. His theory isn't a one-liner and you do have to persevere to understand what he's on about, since some of the terms he uses may be unfamiliar at first. However, in my opinion it's far better to have an in-depth theory described in technical detail than the sort of vague hand-waving explanations which typically dominate this area of science.

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