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Architects of the Mind: A Blueprint for the Human Brain

Date & Time

Friday, May 31, 2013
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
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Location

The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College

Is the human brain an elaborate organic computer? Since the time of the earliest electronic computers, some have imagined that with sufficiently robust memory, processing speed, and programming, a functioning human brain can be replicated in silicon. Others disagree, arguing that central to the workings of the brain are inherently non-computational processes. Do we differ from complex computer algorithms? Are there essential features of the physical make-up and workings of a brain that will prevent us from creating a machine that thinks? And if we should succeed in constructing a computer that claims to be sentient, how would we know if it really is?

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series.

Moderator

  • Bill Weir

    Since joining ABC News in 2004, Bill Weir has anchored several launches and landings of the Space Shuttle, was the first American to broadcast live from Tibet, and led off 2007’s Earth Day special with an unprecedented underwater live report from the Great Barrier Reef. Weir is the co-anchor of Nightline. More »

Participants

  • R. Douglas Fields

    Neurologist, Author R. Douglas Fields is a developmental neurobiologist and author of The Other Brain, a popular book about the discovery of brain cells (called glia) that communicate without using electricity. More »
  • Kristen Harris

    Neuroscientist Kristen Harris is one of the world’s leading neuroscientists investigating synapse structure and function. She has been a professor of neuroscience at Harvard, Boston University, Georgia Health Sciences University, and since 2006 in the Center for Learning and Memory at the University of Texas at Austin. More »
  • Murray Shanahan

    Cognitive Roboticist Murray Shanahan is a professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London. In the 1980s, he studied computer science as an undergraduate at Imperial College, and then obtained his Ph.D. from Cambridge University (King's College). More »
  • Gregory Wheeler

    Computer Scientist, Philosopher Gregory Wheeler, born in 1968, is an American logician, philosopher, and computer scientist, who specializes in formal epistemology. More »