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Jonathan D. Lettvin

Home page for a 愚公移山

Tracts of neurons and neuropils are my roller coaster. I thrill to every twist and turn.

historical music I like youtubes I like

github repos
Writing Samples
Quora Writings




old material

2016 material
2017 material
2018 material

Bach @34:00 Dbl Violin
Bach Chaconne
Prokofiev Toccata
Rachmaninov Piano C. #2
Beethoven Violin C.
Liszt Mephisto Waltz
Bach Toccata&Fugue
Fauré Elegy master class
Saint Saëns organ
Smetana Moldau
Rachmaninov Rhapsody... Paganini
Liszt Campanella
Stravinsky Petrouchka
Ligeti Étude for Piano No. 13

leaping octopod
military curling
on humanity
how to think

Are artificial brains possible?

The brain is made of matter. Matter is subject to the laws of physics. Even just Newtonian mechanics may be sufficient. Nothing specifically quantum is needed for this research since operations appear to be properties of material arrangements. Knowledge of signals and systems is also useful. If it seems not obvious how to make a brain, it is because the patterns by which the laws of physics are employed to make a brain have not been published and turned into laws of brain physics.

Only this and nothing more. (Edgar Allen Poe)

A robot can have a synthetic brain made of different material than an animal brain. The complexity of that synthetic brain is unbounded. There is nothing to impede that except the lack of knowledge about what makes a brain a brain.

This has been my specific arena of amateur science since 2002, and I have made some progress. Quite a bit can be speculated from available literature. I have my MIT physics degree, electronics training, software skills, experience visualizing scientific data, and substantial experience with studying neurons and reflex systems, so I have a decent set of tools with which to continue.

Having had an epiphany on October/2/2018 I have been designing a synthetic reflex system which will be used in a simple robot. My goal is to endow the robot with reflexes having operations indistinguishable from living systems; no matter how deeply you drill down until you reach the material from which it is comprised. Then, of course, "the brain is the crowning achievement of the reflex system." (Sir Charles Sherrington, Nobel Medicine 1932).

I respect the cleverness of AI, neural nets, neuromorphic engineering, HTM, quantum computing, and all that; but all I see when I review the anatomy, histology, physiology, and in-vivo experiments is a mathematics of reflex and nothing more.

If nothing else, I am having immense fun.

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