Hot answers tagged

97

Your brain receives more information than you can handle all the time. For instance, right now, your entire computer screen is within your field of view but you're ignoring all but a word or so of it at a time. So the (rather boring) answer is that nothing unusual happens when you receive more information than you can process because it's the absolutely ...


95

Sleep? The body part needing sleep most is the brain. Now imagine a world where it's too dangerous to go to sleep, maybe one with two suns or placed in a crowded part of the universe, so that there's always enough light. Two brains might evolve to do a shift work.


85

There doesn't need to be any advantage. Your species simply thinks it is aesthetically pleasing. Look at human history. We do all sorts of strange things in the pursuit of beauty. Depending on the culture we may mutilate our genitalia, ears, feet, neck, and even forehead in order to be more appealing for a wide range of reasons. Most commonly to attract the ...


85

It is precisely those diseases and bacteria that make the brain need to be visible and, potentially, accessible. The bacteria and diseases attack the brain from the outside in, and they leave discoloration in their wake. Since they attack the outside protective layers first, this means that if one's brain is visible, the issues can be seen before any ...


62

Make someone overreact So you swim to North Korea (hopefully the tank was not too far). Once there, you regroup in the shape of a submarine and you slowly approach any US/Japanese/Chinese/North Korean/South Korean warship you can find. Hope someone overreact and press the wrong button. If not, try again. Playing with nerves Also every time you see soldiers ...


51

Yes. For large animals, octopuses are a possible source of inspiration. They have neurons in their arms, which lets them have a very large brain-to-body ratio. This does let their arms move without as much direct control from the brain. You could also argue that this sort of structure can be found in leeches. They don't really have 32 brains, one inside each ...


49

Let's shut down and/or melt-down some nuclear power plants. Heck if some brainless Swedish jellyfish could do it in 2013, surely a gang of criminal salmon can manage!


46

Well a concept is a network of associations, the foundation of this network are your sensory inputs (or whatever interpretation your brain receives, a lot of pre-processing occurs in the nervous system) for example icecream is defined by its temperature, appearance, smell, flavour, all the properties that come to mind when you think of the word "icecream". ...


43

Inside 1.5 million robotic whales A blue whale has a volume of around 220 cubic metres. Assuming a cubic brain jar with sides of 25cm, you can comfortably fit 32 brains in one cubic metre. If you built an aquatic robot about the size of a blue whale you could fit 7,040 human brains inside it. The robotic whale could swim through the oceans, capturing ...


42

A creature is unlikely to have a fully redundant brain, but could well evolve to have one or more brains that control different parts of the creature. There's two possible reasons that this could happen: The animal is really big. As many others have mentioned here, there was a theory, now generally considered inaccurate, that some dinosaurs had a second ...


42

Firstly, if your only reason for the hemisphere-sleep adaptation is the inhabitants' constant migration, you might want to reconsider. A 9-earth-year day means it takes more than 78000 hours for a full rotation of the planet. On an approximately earth-sized planet with a circumference of 25000 miles, the edge of the night is only advancing at a rate of ...


41

This answer may be voted as non-responsive, but I think your question may be missing your point. You assert that "filtering out" the unimportant stimulus is a sign of slow or incomplete processing. Instead, I consider it to be a very high-speed approach to eliminating unimportant inputs and allowing the situational intelligence to focus on the unexpected,...


36

A species, whose immune system can’t reliably protect itself against bacteria and viruses on its own planet, wouldn’t survive long enough to develop glassware, let alone brain surgery, let alone biocompatible materials for the skull-port. An invasive mimic attacked their planet and threatened to wipe them out complete as a species. Every test the reptile-...


34

For each individual limb in an average animal, how many neurons and what percentage of the brain does it take to control that limb? I think there's a false assumption in this question similar to "humans only use 10% of their brain". This has a view of the brain like some a computer with a generic central processing unit that can do a fixed amount of ...


34

It’s a metaphysical anchor. The soul is nice and all, but another name for ‘free-floating soul’ is ‘ghost’. Ghosts are subject to all manner of metaphysical problems (tunnels of light, Valkyrie doing the rounds, Grim Reapers of various forms, wraiths eating the newly departed soul etc. etc.) and as such are highly vulnerable. A brain acts like an anchor, or ...


29

Most who explore the idea of a brain upload as immortality push hard against your intuition of what your 'self' is. You think you're pretty darn sure what your self is, but it's actually a very slippery concept. For example, do you think you can define your "self" as your body? Many of the atoms in your body are changed out rather rapidly. While tooth ...


28

Their brain can produce additional energy from sunlight. It might even be the real-world photosynthesis mechanism applied to the brain (a green brain with chlorophylls). I've found this amazing visual representation (that can be interpreted as a photosynthesizing brain): Source: https://www.sott.net/image/s14/287378/full/download.jpg The alien species ...


27

a machine that perfectly maps out the way in which neurons fire in Patient A regarding a certain memory, and then to stimulate an identical firing of neurons in Patient B, so as to allow them to live that memory or even believe it to be theirs? This can only work if the wiring of the neurons in our brain is standardized and homogeneous like the circuitry in ...


26

We are really far, far away. First of all, we still don't know how memories, feeling and consciousness are coded in our brain. We have some ideas on which brain areas are devoted to certain tasks (sort of black box model), but we still lack the finer detail. If we make the (somehow poor) analogy with a computer, we know which is the RAM, the ROM and which ...


25

Disclaimer: I'm no psychologist nor am I too well versed in human biology. I expect that these robots will have a higher life expectancy than normal humans since they are immune/resistant for many natural causes of death. That said, I still don't think that they will be immortal, nor live much longer than maybe 80-130 years (on average). Why that? Well, ...


23

It would not be a good idea to have just one facility. That's just asking for an asteroid strike, freak weather, or an "impossible" series of equipment failures to wipe it out. On the other hand, dispersing into too many facilities will be inefficient. Also, while brains in jars probably need less resources in an absolute sense than people in bodies - less ...


23

Method A: Evolving a True Plant with Neural Tissue This method describes how a traditional, plantlike organism could evolve a "brain" while maintaining plantlike characteristics in every generation. First of all, brains can come in all shapes and sizes! Jellyfish style: Nothing resembling a brain is present but a distribution of nervous tissue around the ...


23

Neurons are a little bit odd, because they don't divide and therefore can't reproduce quite like most other cells.1 They can only be produced by neural stem cells, which are active largely in the early stages of an organism's life. In some adult animals, however, neural stem cells are active in the hippocampus, where they may be instrumental in forming new ...


23

Range based on Inverse Square Law JP's mind reading ability has a physical basis. Similar to other types of waves, the brain waves that he is able to read disperse by the square of the distance from the brain. If he is within 6 feet of someone he can read their mind extremely clearly. If he moves to 12 feet away, the signal is only 1/4 as strong, like a ...


22

As I've grown older I've noticed my mind converging on ways of thinking. When I was young the possibilities were open but over time my mind has accumulated a sense of how the world is. This seems a lot like optimizing for your environment by putting blinders on. Maybe that was advantageous in the past in the same way that eating as much salt and ...


20

According to How to Create a Mind by Ray Kurzweil, the human neocortex contains around 300 million pattern processor modules, and "that a human master in a particular field has mastered about 100,000 chunks of knowledge." The primitive modules are assigned redundantly, with some things having many thosands of copies and others just a few. You can trade off ...


19

I don't think the terms "self-aware" and "conscious" are defined well enough to give you an answer. On one hand, we haven't given the title "self aware" to anything smaller than an Orangutang. However, depending on your definitions, you could make a hard sell that a standing wave such as a quantum waveform has self-aware traits. My answer, if I had to peg ...


19

The brain is a bridge. Notoriously, ghosts can't interact well with the material world. They pass through walls, they can't dig up the chests of stolen gold that are holding them to this plane, they can't move back the boundary stone they had dishonestly shifted, etc. The brain allows the spirit to link up to the world.


18

The brain is not redundant in the way that man-made machines are redundant. It is far too expensive for that. Rather, it is plastic, meaning that it can adapt to changes (including damage). However, all damage to a brain means reduced capacity somewhere. The only questions are: "What have you lost?" and "Was it important?" The human brain is only 2% of ...


18

We don't know how to digitize, copy, delete, edit, or record memories. The technology to do so is so far advanced from what we currently understand as to be indistinguishable from magic. Any attempt to provide a science-based explanation for how machines are remotely stealing them will come across as awkward for anyone with even a minimal understanding of ...


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