Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
umair haque  


Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Brain Hacks is an interesting idea, but IMHO, as a former neuro student, kind of off-kilter.

First, the brain-computer metaphor is kind of 20th century. We now know it's not an accurate way to think about the brain - even if you talk about massive parallelism etc. This is because we have no idea how neurons really work. Sure, we know that neurotransmitters jump across synapses and fire off action potentials after neurons reach a threshold of activation - but we have little idea what the hell this actuall means: how the interconnections create anything of value. For example, neurons have all sorts of different waveshapes, can be modulated by each other, by dendritic interactions, etc - we haven't even scratched the surface of how this works.

So, second, we have no idea how the brain really works - our machines just aren't up to speed yet. Molecular tools miss the big picture, and imaging tools can't tell us how information actually gets turned into meaning (they can only tell us where and when; ie, the caudate nucleus, hippocampus, etc). Can you hack something you don't understand? Yeah - but the consequences are going to be combinatorially unpredictable.

I really hope I'm proved wrong, because I think this would be a cool book to read.

-- umair // 1:01 PM // 1 comments


Umar, check out Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works. It's an interesting read.
// Blogger REK // 2:58 PM

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