An interesting project, albeit another certain extension for encoding the Book of Life. I will be watching to see if they principal investigators ultimately include input from Bergsonians, phenomenologists, yogis, and buddhist practitioners.

I would rather not be so suspicious, but my expectation is that the investigators will continue along the usual technoscientific hegemonic lines of ignoring those branches of world philosophy that conceptualize embodied mind in more than mechanical terms.

The Elusive Self

The human brain is an incredibly complex object. With billions of cells each with thousands of connections, it is difficult to know where to begin. Neuroscientists can probe the brain with electrodes, see inside it with scanners, and observe what happens to people when bits of it are damaged in accidents and disease. But putting all this information together is rather like reconstructing a puzzle without the picture on the box for guidance.

computer_brain

We could take inspiration from the Human Genome Project. The genome is also extremely complex, with billions of building blocks. Despite these challenges, the genome was successfully unraveled at a cost of around $3.8 billion in 2003. The knowledge generated by the Human Genome Project is estimated to have produced $141 in the economy for every $1 spent on research.

Now the Obama administration plans to do the same for the human brain, on a…

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