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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Soul Science God Philosophy > Science and Spiritual Quest > Section 2 Machine, Mind and Consciousness > SOME RECENT TRENDS IN CONSCIOUSNESS STUDIES > 3. Silicon Brain

3. Silicon Brain


Human intelligence has the exclusive characteristics of intentionality, understanding and other subjective qualities.John Searle proposes the possibility of silicon brains [6]. In this thought  experiment,  he  supposes  that there is deterioration in some part   of   the   brain   and   the doctors   are   able   to   replace those parts with silicon chips and restore your brain function.

If such an act is repeated for the whole brain, and if the whole brain is replaced with silicon chips, the person will be able to function in a normal way with all mental and subjective states. Though  he agrees that this may not be empirically possible, he uses this thought experiment for logical or conceptual possibility.Searle argues, "The heart is also a biological organ, and the pumping of  blood a biological process, but it is possible to build an artificial heart that pumps blood. There is no reason, in principle, why we could not similarly make an artificial brain that causes  consciousness" [7]. He also emphasizes that consciousness consists of higher - level processes realized in the structure of the brain [8].


"It is incorrect to say that the behavioral information exists in the activity of single neurons; it cannot be observed there. This information exists in patterns of activity that are distributed  concomitantly and continuously over tens and hundreds of millions of neurons" [9]. "The main reason that the cellular doctrine holds so well for most cells but fails for neurons is that neurons are  uniquely different from all other types of cells" [10]. "Each neuron transmits to thousands of others in the vicinity. It also receives from many neurons in its surround, on the order of 1000 to  10000" [11]. "These widespread actions and reactions lead to the emergence of the constant, ceaseless, ever-fluctuating activity of masses of nerve cells that start talking and never stop. In fact,  if they do stop, because they are cut off from interaction with their neighbors, they soon atrophy and die" [12]. In the case of consciousness, even after explaining the neurological process, an  irreducible subjective element is left over.