19th May 2014 – Statutory Public Lecture of the School of Theoretical Physics
Professor Freeman Dyson (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton) recently gave the Statutory Public Lecture of the School of Theoretical Physics. The lecture was held in UCD on Monday 19th May and was entitled “Are Brains Analog or Digital?”.
l-r: Prof. Werner Nahm (Senior Prof. & Director of the School of Theoretical Physics, DIAS), Prof. Arthur Jaffe (Chairman, Governing Board, School of Theoretical Physics, DIAS), Prof. Freeman Dyson (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton), Prof. Vincent Cunnane (Chairman of Council, DIAS), Mr. Cecil Keaveney (Registrar, DIAS).
Abstract of lecture:
We know that creatures like us have two separate systems for processing information, the genome and the brain. We know that the genome is digital, and we can accurately transcribe our genomes onto digital machines. We cannot transcribe our brains, and the processing of information in our brains is still a great mystery. I will be talking about real brains and real people, asking a question that will have practical consequences when we are able to answer it. I am not able to answer it now. All I can do is to examine the evidence and explain why I consider it probable that the answer will be that brains are analog.