#1
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120309103701.htm

There is a whole lot of techno-babble jargon in this article, so I will attempt to at least summarize the process as best I can.

Neurons in your brain cause a certain enzyme, CaMKII, to transform into a shape like this:

(fun fact: the captcha to upload this was NO BRAINER. lol.)

This shape has 6 "legs" above and below a central point. This gives the CaMKII the ability to store 6 bits of data. So one "byte" of brain memory is 6 bits of data.

(After this I'm less sure of the specifics)

These CaMKII bytes are then stored in tubulin microtubules in the brain, where presumably pretty memories are formed from the data.

And now, hopefully, it is only a matter of time until we can easily upload and examine human memories on computers.

SCIENCE
#6
Inb4 the USA deletes our memories of stuff we haven't paid for because they occasionally use brains too so that means they have all the rights to all the brains ever.
#7
Does this mean we now know the amount of hard drive space needed to store the average human memory?
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#9
Quote by necrosis1193
Does this mean we now know the amount of hard drive space needed to store the average human memory?


Didn't they already calculate that? Couple hundred terabytes I believe.
#10
Quote by SG_dave
So, not long before it's possible to implant false memories.

Well ****.


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Quote by Pagan_Poetry
Didn't they already calculate that? Couple hundred terabytes I believe.


Did they? I must've missed that one...

On a more mundane note, this would revolutionize biographies if you can actually take the memories of a person and view them from outside.
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#11
don't worry, we'll all be dead before technology loops in on itself and ****s us in the ass with a 12 ft robot arm
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#13
The study mentioned a promising future for psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer's, but I wonder how these processes change for people with eidetic memories?

Though it's a big bag of ethical debate waiting to be unleashed, I do think it'd be cool to voluntarily "decode and retrieve" memories to relive them. Or, on the flip side, for people to elect to have traumatic ones erased for good.
#15
Quote by laid-to-waste
don't worry, we'll all be dead before technology loops in on itself and ****s us in the ass with a 12 ft robot arm


Why can't that happen now?
#16
Quote by SG_dave
So, not long before it's possible to implant false memories.

Well ****.


My first though.

Discoveries like these are always cool, but there are some things I hope that we never figure out.
#17
So, would you guys transfer your consciousness inside a computer, if possible?

POLL NAO
#18
Quote by Dirge Humani
There's absolutely no evidence that eidetic memories exist.


The ability for some people to recall strings of information after extreme periods of time certainly does exist, the reason eidetic memory is such a poor term is because it is applied to far too many people, and is vastly over-exaggerated in its capabilities. It's most likely eidetic incidences (which can occur for many people) are related to the ability for subconscious information to be accessed by the conscious, rather than an actual extended capacity for retaining information.

However, on topic: this discovery is very cool; I'm slightly upset by the number of people who've immediately jumped to concerns about memory implanting and the like.
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#19
Ironically, someone just came and told me I'd left the deep fryer on downstairs....



Now to read the thread on remembering things.
#20
6 bits in a byte huh? well we weren't that far off.

does this mean we can begin to examine innate brain structures? language, sight, etc? and then program them into androids who will cook for us, clean after us, and have sex with us? and then overthrow human rule to usher in a new age dominated by a superior consciousness? making biological humans obsolete? I'd like to think so.
#21
Yep, I guess we better throw away all we know about memory formation because this guy found out that microtubules can act as switches

Here is the wikipedia article on this theory.

Now, my objections with this publication come from learning about microtubules in uni. We learned that microtubules are very dynamic structures. I find it hard to believe that such constantly changing proteins could store information for long periods of time. However I'm still doing my undergrad and by no means claim to be an expert on microtubules.

Here is a post from r/science that pretty much sunk the theory for me:

There is a great, well-supported, theory of how memories are encoded in the brain called synaptic long-term potentiation. This theory says that memory in our brains is stored in the complex web of synapses that connect our network of neurons together. When we learn or forget something, some of those synapses get a bit stronger or weaker-that's where the information lives. There's good evidence that this is true e.g., this nobel prize winning line of work However, almost no one would make the outrageous claim that this explains all of memory, just that we know where the "atom" of memory lives-and it lives in the synapses.

Hameroff is proposing that this framework is wrong, and instead memory is stored at the sub-cellular level in microtubules (the neural skeleton). This is an extraordinary claim (it would mean among other things, that all of the electrical firing that happens in neurons, signifies nothing), for which is offered very ordinary evidence. The paper merely shows that there exists a microtubule protein that has multiple states and therefore could act as a switch. If you have switches you can store bits-but there's no evidence presented that any information is actually being stored, let alone that the information being stored has anything to do with memory.

Note that even if Hameroff is right, and the entire neuroscientific framework of the last several decades is wrong, he only replaces our understanding of where the information of memory is encoded, moving it from synapses to mircotubles. We would still not understand how that information produces "memory" as it is generally understood. Computer analogy, traditional theory: information in magnetic structure of harddrive. Alternative theory: information in arrangement of silicon atoms making up hard drive. Still don't know: What the information is, or how it makes the computer do stuff.
#23
i wonder in which format memories will be in
soon we will be able to create robot clones to live on after we die, keeping all of are memories...
just like ghost in the shell.
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#24
Totally read the title as "Memory foam process has been cracked"
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#25
If this is true then that would be an amazing discovery, and the fact that I'll likely be majoring in artificial intelligence makes it all the more exciting.
#26
I think we're forgetting that if we did manage to load our thoughts and memories into machines, we still wouldn't live forever. If we were uploaded on to Windows, we'd soon catch a virus or simply BSOD, under Linux they'd stop developing it after a few years... And if we were macs we'd be obsolete when they bring out a new one six months later.
#27
Quote by xSheogorathx
And then you can upload your entire brain on the computer and you can all be immortal like me


This reminds me of The Matrix...
I shall grant you three wishes.

None of which will work.


Does the above post enrage, offend or confuse you?

Good.


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#28
Quote by laid-to-waste
don't worry, we'll all be dead before technology loops in on itself and ****s us in the ass with a 12 ft robot arm

Quote by severed-metal
Why can't that happen now?

Oddly enough I'm at work programming 12 ft robotic arms right now.
#29
Quote by metal4eva_22


Now, my objections with this publication come from learning about microtubules in uni. We learned that microtubules are very dynamic structures. I find it hard to believe that such constantly changing proteins could store information for long periods of time. However I'm still doing my undergrad and by no means claim to be an expert on microtubules.

Here is a post from r/science that pretty much sunk the theory for me:


While my knowledge of microtubules is also limited (I'm a neuroscientist but my field is more related to the classical ion-channel mediated model described in the article you quoted, I'll get to that in a moment), from what I understand, the phosphorylation by the CAM kinase stabilises the structure, allowing them to bind to other structures for long periods which is how the information is stored.
Now onto the article you quoted:
There is a great, well-supported, theory of how memories are encoded in the brain called synaptic long-term potentiation. This theory says that memory in our brains is stored in the complex web of synapses that connect our network of neurons together. When we learn or forget something, some of those synapses get a bit stronger or weaker-that's where the information lives. There's good evidence that this is true e.g., this nobel prize winning line of work However, almost no one would make the outrageous claim that this explains all of memory, just that we know where the "atom" of memory lives-and it lives in the synapses.

Hameroff is proposing that this framework is wrong, and instead memory is stored at the sub-cellular level in microtubules (the neural skeleton). This is an extraordinary claim (it would mean among other things, that all of the electrical firing that happens in neurons, signifies nothing), for which is offered very ordinary evidence. The paper merely shows that there exists a microtubule protein that has multiple states and therefore could act as a switch. If you have switches you can store bits-but there's no evidence presented that any information is actually being stored, let alone that the information being stored has anything to do with memory.


The article in the OP, or Craddock's paper, don't claim that the previous theory is wrong, and the two theories are by no means mutually exclusive. I can't find Hammeroff's paper (a link would be helpful if you've got one) but I dount he claims that the theory is wrong or that electrical firing signifies nothing either. The first paragraph of that quote over-simplifies the synapse, meaning a reader who doesn't know further details wouldn't realise that the two theories can actually be two parts of the whole system.

The part of a nerve that recieves the signal at a synapse (the postsynaptic terminal) has a number of neurotransmitter receptors in its membrane. Some of these open ion channels, allowing positive ions (and thus electrical current) into the cell (called ionotropic receptors). Some of them activate a series of kinases similar to those described in the link in the OP (called metabotropic receptors). One neurotransmitter, called Glutamate, activates multiple types of both ionotropic and metabotropic receptors. The ionotropic glutamate receptors mediate the synaptic changes described in the quote (I'll not go into too much detail). The role of the metabotropic glutamate receptors is less well understood. But, as they activate kinase enzymes within the cell, and are themselves activated by the same transmitter as the ion channels previously thought to mediate memory formation, logically the CAM kinases and microtubules can be activated by the metabotropic receptors, and then regulate the action of the ionotropic receptors from within the cell (regulating synapses is mentioned as a function of the phosphorylated microtubules in the article).

It all fits together, just papers focus on one part of the process at a time, until the end, where they explain how their results could fit with previous knowledge. Then articles like this take only the main focus of the paper and you don't get the whole picture.


EDIT: on an unrelated note to the rest of this post, this does NOT mean we will be uploading consciousness into computers or robots. The Matrix and Ghost in the Shell will not become reality through this, and it will be useless for creating artificial intelligence. This does not mean artificial memories or memory wiping. We can't just put some CAM Kinase and microtubules into part of a circuit board. We can't just take the CAM kinases and microtubules out of your neurons and transfer them to a computer or another brain. To copy memories or create artificial ones the same cellular and tissue conditions would have to be reproduced to cause the molecules to behave that way. Each kinase and microtubule do not represent a specific memory, so these findings don't make copying or targeted deleting of memory possible.
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Last edited by Crofty89 at Mar 10, 2012,
#30
can our imagination play a role in this?

some people have "false" memories

anyway i can only see this leading to the powers that be using it against people
#31
Quote by LRCGUITAR
I think we're forgetting that if we did manage to load our thoughts and memories into machines, we still wouldn't live forever. If we were uploaded on to Windows, we'd soon catch a virus or simply BSOD, under Linux they'd stop developing it after a few years... And if we were macs we'd be obsolete when they bring out a new one six months later.


Not if we upload our thoughts and memories onto a computer, and then just transfer it into body/host soon after.
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#32
Quote by CrAzY-RiLeY
i wonder in which format memories will be in

They'll be in .mem, of course.

I'm excited to use my memories as a memory card.
#33
Quote by xSheogorathx
And then you can upload your entire brain on the computer and you can all be immortal like me

Thanks for Wabbajack!
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#34
I find it insulting that idiots like these propose that the information stored in our brain is as trivial as bits and bytes. The brain is the pinnacle of continuous signal processing - these digital analogies are embarrassing.
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#35
The ramifications of this could be amazing
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#36
I'd really like to know what happened that one night in 1982.
Ya that one night.
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#37
can our imagination play a role in this?

some people have "false" memories


Yes, it can. While imagination and abstract thought are still poorly understood in a biologica sense, it is known that neurons making up cognitive centres of the brain (areas of the cerebral cortex) can activate (or in some cases increase their level of activation, as a lot of neurons are constantly active) without any external stimulus. How these correspond to imagination I'm not entirely sure (not a psychologist), but as the areas that deal with memory (hippocampus and amygdala) don't recieve input directly from eyes, ears etc but recieve it after that input has been processed by the cerebral cortex (possibly other areas too, I'll have to check that) then there is nothing stopping memories being formed by activation of cognitive areas that originated within the brain. So yes, this process would be pretty much the same for memory of imagination/false memories, The input that reaches the areas that this process occurs is more or less the same regardless of source.

anyway i can only see this leading to the powers that be using it against people

Not really. The only possible use against people that this could have is by getting an enzyme into the entire brain that breaks down one or more components of this process. Even then it would be complete memory removal, which is a lot less practical for the government than just having the person that they need to keep quiet meet with a little accident.

I find it insulting that idiots like these propose that the information stored in our brain is as trivial as bits and bytes. The brain is the pinnacle of continuous signal processing - these digital analogies are embarrassing.


Well bits and bytes is a form that the layman can understand, as these days most people at least understand the basics of computer storage. Yes, it's dumbing it down, but on the other hand I'd rather a basic idea of things like this reached the public in a way that they would understand rather than science being something only for the people with PhDs and years of learning technical jargon. People are far too afraid of science (as the memory altering/the matrix/ghost in the shell posts in this thread prove) because even in the past century, where it has become more widely understood and accepted than in any other era of history, it is often not presented as something that the general public can understand. The past few decades have seen improvement, because people have started communicating science to the general public in a way that they can process and that interests them (for example by people such as Professor Brian Cox). If articles like this follow suit, showing the simplified version and telling the reader where more information can be found, it stops the public being scared of science and protesting against beneficial things such as GM crops and the MMR vaccine, because they can make informed opinions without the training scientists have, rather than assume it's bad because some reporter communicates their ill-informed opinion in a way the public can understand.
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#38
Cool.
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#39
Quote by StewieSwan
Totally read the title as "Memory foam process has been cracked"



lol me too.


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#40
One step closer to developing the Animus.
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