www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

Re: <nettime> Galloway: 10 Theses on the Digital
Nicholas Knouf on Tue, 24 Apr 2012 22:18:47 +0200 (CEST)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> Galloway: 10 Theses on the Digital


-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Pace Morlock, it's utter BS to cite a modeling paper as "proof" that
information is stored in some sort of discrete form in the brain.  If
you read the article, you'll see it's based entirely on _modeling_.
No experiments were done.  It's a _suggestion_, nothing more, a
_supposition_, a potential outline for a series of experiments that
might take years even if they were to be carried.  And even then,
you'll still have the absolutely wicked problem of connecting changes
on the cellular level to higher-level qualia.  Not to mention the fact
that long-term potentiation (the general phenomenon being discussed in
the paper) is still extremely difficult to pin-down and has been an
area of active research for decades.

Defining brain mechanisms in terms of computational metaphors is also
extremely problematic.  Mechanisms that we once thought were
absolutely "digital" (like action potentials) have been shown to be
much less "sharp" in their activity.  It's mighty strange that we
(both Morlock and the authors of the paper together) still are drawing
from the language of "bits" to describe memory capacity.  Everything
that I've learned about neuroscience suggests to me that any potential
measurement of "capacity" (if that even turns out to be the correct
term to use) is going to be eminently more complicated than binary logic.

As someone who spent some time in a research lab working on the very
mechanism under discussion in the paper (CaMKII signaling), a number
of years in a functional neuroimaging lab, and a sometimes-student of
science and technology studies, I find it extraordinarily frustrating
when "science" is used as a mechanism to shut down argument.  The
details in scientific papers matter, and some sort of familiarity with
the milieu of the practice is needed in order to evaluate them, both
on their own merits, as well as on their applicability to arguments in
other domains.  We shouldn't let our critical guards down whenever
we're faced with a scientific paper.

Best,

nick



On 04/23/2012 05:18 PM, Morlock Elloi wrote:
> This is utter BS.
> 
> Information in the brain is stored in the discrete form, most
> likely in 6-bit words:
> 
> http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002421
>
>  and is processed in a very discrete manner.
> 
> Equating information processing modes with
> semantics/politics/philosophy is as dumb as claiming that the city
> of Frankfurt is the cause of a certain strain of Marxism.
> 
> 
> --- On Mon, 4/23/12, Geert Lovink <geert {AT} xs4all.nl> wrote:
> 
>> From: Geert Lovink <geert {AT} xs4all.nl> Subject: Re: <nettime>
>> Galloway: 10 Theses on the Digital To: nettime-l {AT} kein.org Date:
>> Monday, April 23, 2012, 12:27 PM
>> 
>> Jean-Luc Godard Director: "The so-called "digital" is not a mere
>> technical medium, but a medium of thought. And when modern
>> democracies turn technical thought into a separate domain, those
>> modern democracies incline towards totalitarianism."
> <...>
> 
> 
> #  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission 
> #  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism, #
> collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets #
> more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l #
> archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org/

iEYEARECAAYFAk+W1TkACgkQoHDFiKQ8nMmeugCbBpg68PncjS+cTHFI7ZljJ5Pj
CuAAn0fUDI8OJN/upbNazyMz900X/IGg
=M5nB
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----


#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org