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Architects of the Mind: A Blueprint for the Human Brain

Friday, May 31, 2013
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

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, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation. 

Moderator

Bill WeirExecutive Producer, Writer and TV host

Bill Weir is the executive producer, writer and host of The Wonder List with Bill Weir an acclaimed CNN original series in search of people and places, cultures and creatures on the brink of seismic change.

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Participants

R. Douglas FieldsNeurologist, 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. He is an authority on neuron-glia interactions, brain development, and the cellular mechanisms of memory.

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Kristen HarrisNeuroscientist

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.

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Murray ShanahanCognitive 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).

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Gregory WheelerComputer Scientist, Philosopher

Gregory Wheeler is an American logician, philosopher, and computer scientist, who specializes in formal epistemology. Much of his work has focused on imprecise probability.

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Location

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