What Kind of Machine is a Human Brain?: Q&A with Richard Granger

SigmaCamp is continuing the Q&A with Sigma lecturers series!
Our next lecture will be on Tu, June 9:

What Kind of Machine is a Human Brain?

by Richard Granger



Machines calculate trillions of possible chess and Go positions; humans do not. Humans make effortless decisions and inferences; current AI, ML, RL, and NN systems do not. Neurons are low precision (2-3 bit), sparsely connected (p<0.1), and very slow (milliseconds); these and other nonstandard engineering designs confer unusual information processing powers, compared to customary computers. Analyses of mammalian brain circuit systems illuminate how artificial mechanisms still eclipse us in massive numerical calculation, such as in games -- and conversely, how humans continue to outstrip AIs at tasks such as reasoning and language -- addressing crucial questions of human computational capacities and limitations.

About the lecturer:
Richard Granger received his Bachelor’s and Ph.D. from MIT and Yale. He is a Professor at Dartmouth with joint appointments in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, the Thayer School of Engineering, and the Cognitive Science Program; he directs Dartmouth’s interdisciplinary Brain Engineering Laboratory (brainengineering.org), with publications and patents ranging from computation and robotics to cognitive and basic neuroscience. He advises multiple technology corporations and government research agencies, is co-inventor of FDA-approved devices and drugs in clinical trials, and has been the principal architect of a series of advanced computational systems for military, commercial and medical applications.

How it Works

  • View lecture. The lecture is posted below; you can view it at any time before the Q&A session. Or, if you prefer, join us for the group viewing of the lecture by joining our Zoom meeting at 3 pm EST on Tu, June 9
  • Submit questionsIf you have viewed the lecture in advance, think of the questions you would like to ask the lecturer. If you can, submit the questions in advance by using this spreadsheet; this will allow us to select the most interesting questions.
  • Join Q&A session. At 4 pm EST on June 9, join our zoom meeting to ask questions or just chat with the lecturer. One of Sigma Camp faculty will act as the moderator.

Please note that this lecture is open for everyone; feel free to invite your friends!