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Progress here is deeply affected by the ways in which our brains absorb and process new information, and by the creativity of researchers in dreaming up new theories. Gaining a comprehensive scientific understanding of human cognition is one of the hardest problems there is. Without having a scientifically deep understanding of cognition, we can’t create the software that could spark the singularity. We are only in the “kindergarten” of AI. Ideas, concepts from the 1950s/60s (e.g., perceptron) and their development in the form of neural networks pay off today only as a derivative of computing power (hardware) and new software concepts (e.g., transformers and attentional). Cognitive AI functions are a challenge, without a better understanding of the human brain and how it works, it is a challenge for decades to come.
Theses without proof are just theses. Quantum physics and the human brain and consciousness are very interesting and complicated topics that still raise many questions and controversies. Some scientists suspect that quantum processes, including quantum entanglement, can help us explain the immense power of the brain and its ability to generate consciousness. 12 Others are skeptical or dismiss this possibility, believing that quantum physics is not applicable to the scale and temperature of the brain.
Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which two or more quantum particles (e.g., electrons) are so connected that their states are dependent on each other, even if they are far apart. 1 This means that a change in the state of one particle immediately affects the state of the other particle, without any physical communication between them.
Some scientists, such as Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff, have proposed a theory that quantum entanglement occurs in microtubules, which are structures found in nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. 2 According to this theory, quantum entanglement makes it possible to coordinate the activity of neurons at the quantum level, which leads to consciousness.
However, this theory is highly criticized and there is no direct experimental evidence for it. 2 Some of the main problems with this theory are:
The difficulty of maintaining the quantum state: The quantum state is very fragile and is easily disturbed by the environment (such as heat or noise). To maintain the quantum state, it needs to be isolated from the environment and cooled to a very low temperature. However, the brain is a very hot and complex system that is not conducive to isolating and cooling the quantum state. 2
Lack of microtubule specificity: Microtubules are common in many types of cells, not just neurons. If microtubules were to be responsible for consciousness, it would mean that every cell in the body would be conscious, which is unlikely. 2
No entanglement mechanism: It is not known how exactly quantum entanglement would arise and persist in microtubules. It is also unknown how entanglement would affect the functioning of neurons and the brain as a whole. There is no mathematical or physical model to describe the process. 2
Recently, researchers at Trinity College Dublin used a technique developed to test the existence of quantum gravity to study the human brain and how it works. 1 They used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure proton spins in the “brain water” that naturally accumulates as fluid in our brains. They found that the proton spins were entangled with each other, suggesting that quantum processes can occur in the brain.
The article reports on research from Trinity College Dublin that suggests our brains may use quantum computation. The scientists utilized an approach originally developed to confirm the existence of quantum gravity to investigate the operations of the human brain. The brain functions they observed were found to be associated with short-term memory performance and conscious awareness, leading to the suggestion that quantum processes may play a part in cognitive and conscious brain functions
Dr. Christian Kerskens, the lead physicist at the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN), explained that their approach involved using known quantum systems (in this case, proton spins in ‘brain water’) to interact with an unknown system. The theory was that if the known systems became entangled, then the unknown system would also be a quantum system
The researchers found MRI signals that resembled heartbeat evoked potentials, a form of EEG signal, which are usually not detectable with MRI. They believe these signals were observable due to the entanglement of nuclear proton spins in the brain, indicating that the corresponding brain processes could be quantum
These quantum brain processes could potentially explain why humans are still able to outperform supercomputers in certain areas such as dealing with unexpected situations, decision-making, and learning new things. The researchers suggest that their work may shed light on the complexities of biology and consciousness, which are challenging to understand scientifically
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