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Amit Sheth
1,872 followers -
educator, researcher, entrepreneur
educator, researcher, entrepreneur

1,872 followers
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'Jaw-dropping' breakthrough reveals a brand new way our brains work: Cells send messages to totally separate parts of our minds using electrical signals (and scientists previously thought this was impossible)

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Knowledge

In Beyond Weird (https://amzn.to/2FrL1eG) Philip Ball writes: "quantum mechanics is less about particles and waves, uncertainty and fuzziness, than a theory about information: about what can be known and how." This has the direct inference that as our way of acquiring information changes our view of what can be known changes.

Information allows us to understand what we call "reality", better. You might think that this is either something you can safely leave to the realm of mathematics or the hands of theoretical physicists but that is not how it works. Scientific knowledge, however complex or abstract, is our attempt to better grasp the world we live in so we can navigate it better.

The view we form of this perceived reality informs our belief system which then guides our choices and decisions. These choices and decisions reflect our values. Values guide our efforts because, as the name suggests, we think something is actually worth doing.

Newton's (http://bit.ly/2Fp07Cf) deterministic view of the universe (http://bit.ly/2QsLdjI), for example, gave rise to our understanding of change in the world and informed the formative stages of disciplines as diverse as geology and psychology (http://bit.ly/2ABfa8c). By raising our confidence level in what's real it enabled the flights of mind that produced breakthroughs and released fresh insights. Heisenberg famously said that "We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." (http://bit.ly/2FpOifl) As the latter changes, so does the former.

For someone who’s been active in information retrieval (http://bit.ly/2FrmoiQ) as long as I have the way information is encoded, stored and retrieved is something I see as a process that is constant in a universe where everything is a system (http://bit.ly/2QsjS12). This means that information is subject to specific rules of permanence and degradation that are unique to its method of encoding, storage and retrieval. Take, for instance, how information can be intentionally recorded on even the simplest forms of storage, like a piece of foil (http://bit.ly/2FobavB) opening up a window into the reality of a past we can only imagine.

Similarly, human memory is a process (http://bit.ly/2Fo2BAZ) and like any process within a system, it can be buggy (http://bit.ly/2FoGSJ5) and it can be disrupted (http://bit.ly/2Fpccrc) affecting not just what we can recollect but our very ability to understand what is real, what is permanent and what can be trusted (http://bit.ly/2Fnrn4h).

Memory is so central to our identity (http://bit.ly/2FoHr5F ) and perception (http://bit.ly/2Fpk4co) of the world that without it we can barely function (http://bit.ly/2FrouPK). The thing is when everything is information it is ran by underlying patterns (http://bit.ly/2FplLGH) whose analysis itself becomes a signal (http://bit.ly/2FoHuhR).

Signals are subject to channel-specific encoding fidelity (http://bit.ly/2FnfiMl). This means anything can, maybe, be improved (https://nyti.ms/2Fqaxln) and nothing is, probably, lost forever (http://bit.ly/2FqdToa).

There are other implications, much deeper ones. When everything is indeed information then all of us, the world we see, the universe we observe, the ideas we have and the thoughts we experience are expressions of something more fundamental (http://bit.ly/2FoHQFd), the information flowing through the lowest possible energy state of the cosmos manifesting itself (http://bit.ly/2FqmTK1) thanks to energy perturbations which will eventually subside and reach the relative stasis predicted by the 2nd law of Thermodynamics (http://bit.ly/2FnfB9X).

This means that on the cosmic scale nothing is ever lost and one thing is transmutated into another as information flows from one state to another, losing something in the process and gaining something in its new transformation.

Does this make any of us immortal? Or the universe any different to what it is we perceive now? No. But, by considering all these possibilities and perspectives our brains open up to new permutations of memory and understanding, knowledge and information. We are the nodes and edges in a much wider interconnected web of energy flows. Materially we may be weak, dysfunctional and perishable. But our ability to consider things that stretch the boundaries of our comprehension can be transformative not just in terms of science and cognition but also in how we behave, what we think, what we believe and how we relate to each other and the world.

Information, in other words, turned into knowledge, makes us better human beings which might be a process through which information itself transforms itself.

I know you know. Donuts and croissants, cookies and chocolate cake and, of course, coffee. Lots of coffee. Have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are.
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Quite interesting


Scientists harness machine learning to uncover new insights into the human brain

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Likely important discovery with practical implications

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Good to see more of these studies: Recalling from our Semantic-Cognitive-Perceptual Computing seminar [1]: the structural complexity of brain cells/neuron and affiliated, compared to digital computers is the most likely explanation of why it would take a very long time to mimic/simulate the power of a human brain (massively parallel systems would still not come close as there would be a lot of distances one would need to travel through network links that connect computing nodes).

[1]: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/102570702109589016337

[2] More details that expand on the summary: https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(18)31106-1

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Good to see more of these studies: Recalling from our Semantic-Cognitive-Perceptual Computing seminar: the structural complexity of brain cells/neuron and affiliated, compared to digital computers is the most likely explanation of why it would take a very long time to mimic/simulate the power of a human brain (massively parallel systems would still not come close as there would be a lot of distances one would need to travel through network links that connect computing nodes).

More at: https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(18)31106-1

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Haji Srtreet - Arab Section of Singapore.
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What is it that you have that others do not?
Note: This content will appear as a guest Career Advice Column in the  ACM XRDS magazine. I have had significant involvement in advising or mentoring graduate students in Computer Science-- especially, Ph.D. (graduated 28 so far) and MS-Thesis (graduated ab...
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The description is worth reading-- also for those of us interested on the topic, there is a live stream on the evening of May 21. In a group meeting after this event, we will request those who attend this to discuss what they heard/learned!
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