Can Neuroscientists Understand the Brain?

Eric Jonas and Konrad Kording just released a provocative paper, “Could a neuroscientist understand a microprocessor?”[1] In their paper, they ask whether current neuroscience techniques could discover the operations of a simple microprocessor[2]. Their reasoning is as follows. The field of neuroscience is trying to understand the computational properties of the brain. If we think current neuroscience techniques are sufficient to understand something as complex as the brain, surely they will be able to handle a small microprocessor. If, on the other hand, current techniques are insufficient to understand even this simple CPU, it raises serious questions about the current approaches in the field. True, the brain is not a silicon processor but there are similarities (they list several in the paper). So let’s apply these techniques to this simpler…


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