Sebastian Seung Proposes Testing Uploading Connectomes

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Professor of Computational Neuroscience at MIT Sebastian Seung discusses how the study of "connectomes", a comprehensive map of neural connections in the brain, can help turn science fiction into reality. Seung proposes that through the study of the connectome we can test whether ideas such as freezing ourselves or uploading our brains on to computers are even possible.

Seung has found what he calls the nexus of nature and nurture: the "Connectome", or the network of connections between neurons in the human brain. He will take you inside his ambitious quest to model the Connectome, which, if successful, would uncover the basis of personality, intelligence, memory and disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Dr. Seung is Professor of Computational Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Department of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Adjunct Assistant Neurobiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. He studied theoretical physics with David Nelson at Harvard University, and completed postdoctoral training with Haim Sompolinsky at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Before joining the MIT faculty, he was a member of the Theoretical Physics Department at Bell Laboratories. Dr. Seung has been a Sloan Research Fellow, a Packard Fellow, and a McKnight Scholar. 

He is also author of the recent book, Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are, and creator of the Eyewire project.  McGill University Professor of Psychology and Neurosciences Daniel Levitin wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Connectome is "the best lay book on brain science I've ever read."

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