Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

The article reports on some researchers who "released the first wiring diagram of a piece of the human brain... about the size of a pinhead." Obviously, nobody is predicting behaviours from that. But as Jeff Lichtman says, "It is like discovering a new continent." In other words, "To search the sample completely, he said, would be a task akin to driving every road in North America." Where predictions have been successful is with much smaller neural nets, like that of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, which only has only 302 neurons. The study of connectomes show just how much influence experience has, even in simple brains. "Even though the worms were genetically identical, as much as 40% of the connections between nerve cells in their brains differed." This creates what's called the "n of 1" problem - no two individuals has the same neural network, even if they have the same neurons.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Feb 26, 2024 4:21 p.m.

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