On vacation until September. brb



MachinesLikeUs is a new website about artificial intelligence, evolution, cognition and related topics. It features a news blog, book reviews, links, user forum, and informative profiles (links, quotes, bios) of scientists such as Jeff Hawkins, Stephen Pinker, Gerald Edelman, Susan Pockett, and many more.

MachinesLikeUs is especially notable as it both collects and commissions original articles. The editor, Norm, is always on the lookout for new, thoughtful work and welcomes your submissions.

"MachinesLikeUs is important to me because although there are many competent (and some brilliant) individuals working on human cognition and artificial intelligence, they are often quite isolated from one another. With the site, I hope to provide a kind of meeting ground for these various efforts, and present them in an attractive manner to the public."

So far he's succeeding admirably.



The Picower Institute

The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT's Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex (pictured), the largest neuroscience research facility in the world, just opened Dec 2005 and is generating some fascinating research. (Like the window in a mouse brain permitting monitoring of the expression of flourescent proteins that demonstrated changes in the living brain over time i.e. neural plasticity.)

Their Open Mind Series "which will explore the possibility that insights gained by neuroscientists who are studying learning and memory mechanisms in the brain might be usefully applied to problems of great societal importance" has hosted two symposia: On Addiction and On Depression. Both are archived in webcasts, as will the third symposium in the series (on the aging brain), and offer lectures and discussions with new perspectives. Titles includes Why We Do What We Do: The Neurological Basis of Motivation (Wolfram Schultz), Extreme Memory: The Molecular Basis of Learning and Addiction (Rob Malenka), and The Love of Difficulty and the Uses of Depression (Rob Pinsky).

In one lecture, Brain Disorder or Character Flaw? Public Ignorance, Public Policy and the Stigma of Addiction, Nora Volkow addresses the issue of how denying the biological basis of mental illness perpetuates stigma and impedes addiction research.

The Picower Institute opened with an inaugural symposium on The Future of the Brain, featuring novel ideas from five Nobel laureates, and discussions on memory and consciousness.



Hybrot neuroart

The Animat multi-electrode array consists of 60 electrodes embedded on a glass culture dish on which thousands of cultured rat neurons spontaneously form a neural network. They interface to control a simulator for a pair of pneumatic robot arms which self-creates paintings. The culture and simulator reside in Atlanta while the robot and video are in Perth (later New York City).

MEART (Multi-Electrode Array art) is a hybrot built in collaboration with the Symbi-oticA Research Group. The project explores epistemological, ethical and aesthetical issues concerning the use of living neurons for ethno-centric end.

The electrode array interface is a concept not far from Cyberkinetic's BrainGate neural interface implant project. They may be considered precursors of wetware, neural cyborgs and semi-organic AI (depending where it leads).

MEART: the semi living artist is a gorgeous web site from the hybrot's Australian partners, hosting images, publications, and theory about the project and touring art exhibitions.

Via The Neurophilosopher's Blog.


Neuron inspiration

Originally uploaded by orangegalt.

Above: neuronsprint c. 2005 Megan Gwaltney. In amongst images of her art posted to her Flickr account there are eight works inspired by neurons. Incorporating drawing, collage, printmaking, and found materials (coffee, tea and peppers as neuronsfood), Gwaltney, an art student in Philadelphia, draws inspiration from science to create thoughtful mixed media abstracts.

neuroart neurons

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