Duke Professor Doing Interesting Brain/Machine Work


“Miguel Nicolelis, M.D. Ph.D., is the Anne W. Deane Professor of Neuroscience at Duke University, Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering and Psychology and founder of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering. Although for the past decade, Dr. Nicolelis is best known for his pioneering studies of Brain Machine Interfaces (BMI) and neuroprosthetics in human patients and non-human primates, he has also developed an integrative approach to studying neurological and psychiatric disorders including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder. He has also made fundamental contributions in the fields of sensory plasticity, gustation, sleep, reward and learning”



Foci Network Model for Thinking about Behavior?


Really interesting paper about First-Order Conditional Independence (FOCI) networking. Though this discusses utilizing  foci-networking to estimate a coexpression netowork from microarray data (and for gene knock out work), it could be a very interesting way to think about how the neosentient “generates simulations of behavior (it ‘thinks’ about potential behaviors) before acting in physical space”.

One figure from the paper:

Biological Enhancement and the Cyborg

Is an organism still considered a cyborg if the additive parts (for enhancement) are biological rather than electronic, mechanical, or robotic?

Face transplants, hand transplants, and tissue engineering are gaining significant momentum in the medical realm, and the battle against senescence is being fought more viciously every day. Replication of biological structures (and their subsequent sensory-enhancing components) may follow a pattern of general to more specific. For example: organism replication, organ replication, developmentally similar structure replication, cellular replication. Will procedures performed to counter senescence and replace sub-par functioning structures by replacement with biological replicates be considered cyborg engineering?



Mechanism of Heritability

Interesting comparison of evolutionary mechanisms for passing on genetic material:

Humans–>Darwinian Evolution


Would the neosentient depend exclusively on Lemark’s principles of genetic heritability?

Questions Coming Up in Class

One of the issues I am beginning to think about as I develop my project and think about what we are discussing in class is about our abstraction of the body into the neosentient. As we gain knowledge of the workings of the body and abstract it into an electrochemical form in which to embody in the neosentient, will the neosentient be an improvement upon the human form? Will we want the neosentient to improve upon the human form? Would we want to take this opportunity to improve upon the human?

In looking at the opportunities thus far to refine the composition of the body, numerous opportunities have been taken to improve upon it.