How big is our brain?

 

On Friday, I attended the Alan Turing symposium and stayed for talks up until Jon Beaupre.1 From researching Alan Turing these past two weeks, I have obtained some background to truly appreciate what these talks were about. The first talk was “Beauty of Turing” by Karamjit Gill. He was very expressive with his words and he talked about the tragic circumstances due to the time he lived in. Sadly, people are still irrational and will always be irrational about certain things in life but accepting homosexuality has come a long ways since Alan Turing’s time. Alan Turing had a great mind, and just like Einstein and Heisenberg, there was a rational beauty behind his thoughts, theories and inventions. I really enjoyed the thought of rational beauty—of how beauty is not always from seeing or hearing but also from thinking.2

 

The second talk I’d like to write about here is “A New Kind of Machine” by Gabriel Greenberg. I liked his conceptual take on how there is an input and an output and the difference between the physical version and the information (or cyber space) processing version. Presently, I believe computers have advanced far beyond what Alan Turing could have imagined, but the computers still work the same—with an input and an output. This occur by assigning the appropriate letters, and is used as a tool—as an extension of our mind whereas tools such as the picture below are extensions of the physical body.3

 

 

Lastly, I really liked the talk by Dean Buonomano about the brain’s bugs. The idea of information carrying weight or mass from calculating the mass of the electron’s involved was by far my favorite portion of the talk. It brought up a great question that asks, “if disks are full are they heavier.” The brain never ceases to amaze me in the depth of thoughts it can process. With this being said, the Delayed Quantum Observer affect also caught my attention since the double-slit experiment data with each observation. Finally, the way the brain interprets information and addresses it shows a part of how our minds work. The example he used was showing that the wording of a question can change a person’s answer. So my first thought on this was, then what about multiple choice questions on tests? The brain wasn’t evolved to do long division but it is truly capable of it.4

 

 

1.       Brainstorming Turing: Celebrating Alan Turing + 25 Years of AI and Society Journal. University of California Los Angeles. UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. 25 May 2012.

2.       Gill, Karamjit. “Beauty of Turing.” University of California Los Angeles. UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. 25 May 2012. Keynote Address.

3.       Greenberg , Gabriel. “A New Kind of Machine.” University of California Los Angeles. UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. 25 May 2012. Keynote Address.

4.       Buonomano, Dean. “What the Turing test reveals about the brain’s bugs and features.” University of California Los Angeles. UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. 25 May 2012. Keynote Address.

5.        “Alan Turing.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 23 May 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_turing#Turingery>