Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More Than Synapses Snapping Between Your Ears!

In a previous post I 'rambled' about wetware Finite State Machines. This is related to information that synaptic efficiency or perhaps even function is effected not simply by 'firing' but the speed and effect of the firing as well as external magnetic interference and other factors. In fact, the brain itself is generating magnetic/electric fields which affect neurons farther away than those connected directly. This means that each neuron has more than a single input, and it's likely that the several inputs have levels other than on/off associated with them.

Sounds interesting enough, but there is not much published work that I can find. That said, it does not mean there is no apropos information. I found a link to a paper today with information about a study of the human the brain while active cellular phones are pressed against the head. This is an active source of electric fields introduced to the brain. There are many folk involved, but their conclusion goes like so:

Conclusions In healthy participants and compared with no exposure, 50-minute cell phone exposure was associated with increased brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the antenna. This finding is of unknown clinical significance.
In this post I'm suggesting a possible significance for this finding. Imagine if this indicates that holding your phone to your left ear while driving makes your right foot, leg, and arm/hand response time slower?

Whether this indicates over stimulation, higher random noise, productive or non-productive activity is unknown. That it shows activity due to electromagnetic radiation is important. This supports, however incidentally, the theories proposed by Michael Persinger and his 'god helmet'. Any evidence that the spiritual is an artifact of the human brain is further evidence that the human brain, while complex, is fully responsible for our perceived realities. This is true whether we perceive physical or metaphysical things. The lack of 'any idea what a proper control should be' in such studies may explain the uncertainty of Persinger's claims. That is to say that since we do not know what electromagnetic radiation does to neuronal activity, controls would be difficult and in fact may vary from subject to subject.

The reason this is important to me is that to truly arrive at AI, it must be possible to recreate some or all of the innate, subconscious, mechanisms which give rise to human 'intelligence' via man-made machinery. If there is a spiritual component we are not going to see AI like Data in Star Trek. That would be a true shame.

Sure, all that I've done here is string together some thoughts. There is no real math involved, nor any particularly good references. That's the joy of having a blog to jot down my thoughts. I can come back later and fill in some details. I do think these are solid indicators that the brain functions on more than simple synapse firings. The findings that some animals have a sense of magnetic fields show that what we know about brains is actually very little. It would seem plausible that humans can in some way perceive electromagnetic fields.

UPDATE: We have another winner. It would appear that Loggerhead Turtles can circumnavigate the Earth's oceans using a wetware positioning system based on the Earth's magnetic field. The story in Discovery on-line tells how the turtles 'see' the world a bit differently than we humans. There are quite a few discoveries showing this type of sense. Perhaps it's MUCH more common than we think it is.

 If we imagine that you have a form of synesthesia where north feels warm and south feel chilly or east feels 'bright' and west feels 'dark'  It would enable you to always be able to determine what direction you were heading. In fact, you only need a synesthesia feeling for one direction to be able to know which way you're facing all the time.

I hope and wait for a fundamentally more solid understanding of the mechanisms of the human/mammalian brain in the very near future.

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