Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Medical Non organic brain?

  1. Jan 18, 2006 #1
    Our brians are made out of organic material. It is very likely that the macro features we have such as consciousness, mind, qualia etc are an emergent property from these complex physical properties.

    But could these emergent properties come from an extremly complicated device that is not made out of organic material? If the answer is yes than we will oneday have nonorganic things that function just like humans. If no than there must be something speical about carbon and the way it interacts with other chemical elements.

    What do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 19, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I know a few Brians and they are very complicated people.
  4. Jan 19, 2006 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    One I know is definitely non-organic though; he loves GM crops!

    Now if you meant a non-organic brain, note that there is nothing that prevents arbitrarily complex non-organic systems from existing in principle, though at the present time we may be technologically unable to produce them.

    Some people, such as Penrose, use Goedel's theorems to infer that no arithmetic algorithmic non-organic system can every equal the human mind, which they assume to be trans-goedelian. Others like Chaitin use complexity theory to infer that no digital non-organic system can equal the numan mind, which they assume to be trans-complex.

    I regard these views as (a) off the point and (b) in the last degree egotistical. For who ever said a non-organic system had to be arithmetic or digital? And where, aside from ego, do they get this human mind transcendence stuff?
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2006
  5. Jan 19, 2006 #4
    of course there's something special baout carbon its the first of group 4A.
    Go to your periodic table and read off the first few elements. Then go to standard astrophysics textbook and read about nuclear core burning in stars...Now this statement does not restrict human-like intelligence to just carbon. It just states that carbon is indeed special in the way the universe evolved. Go look for Blue Brain its an IBM research project on the brain, that is one of th efirst few to attempt to model the ENTIRE animal brain publicly.
  6. Jan 22, 2006 #5
    If we make a brain that is non algorithmic than it wouldn't be like a computer as we know it. It would have to use a piece of technology fundalmentally different to anything we know today. Possible with some other element. But that poses the question, would that brian function just like an organic brian? I am a materialist and believe that unique functional properties correspond to unique materials that they are made out of. Properities like consciousness is highly complex and is an emergent property of our organic brian. Would such a thing emerge from material fundalmentally different to carbon?

    I heard that silicon is an element that binds well with other elements. Maybe a brian made fundalmentally from silicon might work. But the properties that emerge out of this silicon brian might be vastly different to our carbon brian.
  7. Jan 22, 2006 #6
    I just noticed my wrong spelling. I meant brain.
  8. Jan 23, 2006 #7
    Actually AI non-organic robotic brains are being created today in Japan and in some places in the US. These robots work using the same mechanics we human minds use but at a far more primitive stage. Their learning capacities are horrible and their vision is equally as horrible (if they really see at all).

    But will we be able to ever create a robot with a non-organic brain with self-awareness? I doubt it but if we are to do so we have to find what part of the brain deals with self-aware conscious. Or perhaps consciousness is a force so mysterious (yet as natural as dark matter) that we may never find it (or something close to it anytime soon).
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook