Antonio Damasio Tells Us Why Pain Is Necessary - Issue 56: Perspective


Following Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio may be the neuroscientist whose popular books have done the most to inform readers about the biological machinery in our heads, how it generates thoughts and emotions, creates a self to cling to, and a sense of transcendence to escape by. But since he published Descartes' Error in 1994, Damasio has been concerned that a central thesis in his books, that brains don't define us, has been muted by research that states how much they do. To Damasio's dismay, the view of the human brain as a computer, the command center of the body, has become lodged in popular culture. In his new book, The Strange Order of Things, Damasio, a professor of neuroscience and the director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, mounts his boldest argument yet for the egalitarian role of the brain. In "Why Your Biology Runs on Feelings," another article in this chapter of Nautilus, drawn from his new book, Damasio tells us "mind and brain influence the body proper just as much as the body proper can influence the brain and the mind.

Watch a thought race across the brain in under a second

Daily Mail

An amazing new video shows a thought racing across the surface of the human brain in less than a second. Experts tracked the path of singular thoughts through people's minds as they underwent open brain surgery. Electrodes were hooked directly to the surface of each patient's white matter, taking readings while they completed a simple call-and-response task. The scans show clearly how the brain acts in response to sight and sounds, which scientists say could explain'why we say things before we think'. Experts asked people to repeat the word'humid'.

This woman found a super-creative way to celebrate finishing her thesis


Does this count as plagiarism? Writing a thesis can certainly be a grind, and one student decided to celebrate finishing it in style. I said I'd do it and I did. I got my thesis printed on a scarf. The thesis itself is on neuroscience, and you can read the intro to it on Grace's blog.

Meet AI: Series 7


MeetAI London and NeurotechX want to join efforts and bring together a selected panel of experts in diverse aspects of machine learning and neuroscience. An open discussion centred around how this two fields work together, the current achievements, and the future goals and limitations. Neuroscience and artificial intelligence are heavily related and both are living a golden age. Machine learning has been inspired by the nervous systems since its first steps. Terms such as neural networks or reinforcement learning have been borrowed from natural sciences and translated into silicon.

This 'mind-reading' algorithm can decode the pictures in your head


A new algorithm uses brain activity to create reconstructions (bottom two rows) of observed photos (top row). Imagine searching through your digital photos by mentally picturing the person or image you want. Or texting a loved one a sunset photo that was never captured on camera. A computer that can read your mind would find many uses in daily life, not to mention for those paralyzed and with no other way to communicate. Now, scientists have created the first algorithm of its kind to interpret--and accurately reproduce--images seen or imagined by another person.

Machine learning algorithm uses brain scans to predict language ability in deaf children


In a new international collaborative study between The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, researchers created a machine learning algorithm that uses brain scans to predict language ability in deaf children after they receive a cochlear implant. This study's novel use of artificial intelligence to understand brain structure underlying language development has broad reaching implications for children with developmental challenges. It was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. "The ability to predict language development is important because it allows clinicians and educators to intervene with therapy to maximize language learning for the child," said co-senior author Patrick C. M. Wong, PhD, a cognitive neuroscientist, professor and director of the Brain and Mind Institute at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. "Since the brain underlies all human ability, the methods we have applied to children with hearing loss could have widespread use in predicting function and improving the lives of children with a broad range of disabilities" said Wong.

Incredible mind-reading device could help stroke patients

Daily Mail

An incredible mind-reading device could help sufferers of serious strokes regain the use of their hands. Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability in both the US and the UK, with about half of all survivors left with severely restricted movement in one hand. A new machine sends signals into a patient's head while moving their paralysed hand with a robotic exoskeleton to strengthen lost connections between brain cells. An incredible mind-reading device could help sufferers of serious strokes regain the use of paralysed hands. The machine (pictured) sends signals into a patient's head while moving the affected hand to strengthen lost connections between brain cells A stroke is a brain attack similar to a heart attack, and is mostly caused by a blockage of a blood vessel to part of the brain.

This 'Mind-Reading AI' Can Draw Images Of What You're Thinking


Scientists at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Labs in Japan have created an AI-based system that's capable of performing deep image reconstruction from human brain activity. In simple words, it's reading our minds without actually knowing what we're thinking. Now, what that means is the AI system can't see inside our brain or the things we're picturing. It takes help of the brain waves (MRI data) to guess what we are thinking and draws an image out of it. To train their AI, the researchers fed it with recorded brainwaves of human subjects after showing them images.

Neuromorphic Chips Leading Towards the Future of AI


Over the past few years, surging focus on neuroscience and prospect of understanding brain functionality have assisted in addressing current technological limitations by utilising neural computation principles. Recognising this potentiality, the research community has launched many remarkable projects to support computational neuroscience, for studying the nervous system's information processing properties. An example of this is the Blue Brain Project to be held in Switzerland at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. This project focuses on simulation of ten thousand neurons in rat's brain by analysing the nervous system in detail. The capability of neural network models to solve several tasks was realised in early 2000's, on the basis of human brain's working process.

Neuroscience with Azure Machine Learning


A good quick introduction to using Azure Machine Learning (and it's hosted Jupyter notebooks for neural science, signal processing, feature extraction and ML classification. Looking forward to when the notebook presented in this video is published.