Coming up next week, we are holding the third in a series of excellent evening talks sponsored by our Computational Neuroscience Center about neuroscience and/or AI and their impact on society, featuring thinkers from the broader spheres of philosophy and anthropology: Lawrence Weschler on the late neurologist Oliver Sacks.
Our previous speakers were philosopher Patricia Churchland, on the biological basis of conscience, and Genevieve Bell, of the Australian National University, on the need for socially aware design principles for AI.
The Allen Institute has produced this charming film about this year’s Dynamic Brain workshop. With appearances from lab members Kenneth Latimer, Anatoly Buchin and visiting scholar Chaoqing Wang!
Some of the lab– Swartz fellow Anatoly Buchin and visiting scholar Chaoqing Wang– and I are just back from two weeks at Friday Harbor Labs participating in the third run of the Allen Workshop on the Dynamic Brain. This gets better every year as the data sets and pedagogical tools improve. It was a blast. Read more about it here.
The study of the brain has immeasurable benefits for the satisfaction of our most profound questions about the nature of life and of our own humanity and for continued improvements in health and well-being. Progress in these goals is only possible through experimental science. Despite the many advances that have been assisted by computational analysis, our understanding of this incredibly complex system is still very preliminary. The computational neuroscience community unequivocally supports the need for continued careful, humane, monitored animal research. The recent news that Nikos Logothetis, a giant in the study of visual processing in primates, has closed down primate work in his lab under pressure from animal liberation activists is a tragedy for the field. Dr Logothetis’ work has been fundamental in establishing direct links between the signals measured noninvasively through fMRI and the underlying neural signals, advancing the scientific value of fMRI as a tool. Dr Logothetis’ lab has been a model of excellence in the housing and care of experimental animals. An open letter to support Dr Logothetis can be found here.