Neuroscience and artificial intelligence work better together. Brain inspired is a celebration and exploration of the ideas driving our progress to understand intelligence. I interview experts about their work at the interface of neuroscience, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, and more: the symbiosis of these overlapping fields, how they inform each other, where they differ, what the past brought us, and what the future brings. Topics include computational neuroscience, supervised machine learning, unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, deep learning, convolutional and recurrent neural networks, decision-making science, AI agents, backpropagation, credit assignment, neuroengineering, neuromorphics, emergence, philosophy of mind, consciousness, general AI, spiking neural networks, data science, and a lot more. The podcast is not produced for a general audience. Instead, it aims to educate, challenge, inspire, and hopefully entertain those interested in learning more about neuroscience and AI.
BI 102 Mark Humphries: What Is It Like To Be A Spike?
Mark and I discuss his book, The Spike: An Epic Journey Through the Brain in 2.1 Seconds. It chronicles how a series of action potentials fire through the brain in a couple seconds of someone's life. Starting with light hitting the retina as a person looks at a cookie, Mark describes how that light gets translated into spikes, how those spikes get processed in our visual system and eventually transform into motor commands to grab that cookie. Along the way, he describes some of the big ideas throughout the history of studying brains (like the mechanisms to explain how neurons seem to fire so randomly), the big mysteries we currently face (like why do so many neurons do so little?), and some of the main theories to explain those mysteries (we're prediction machines!). A fun read and discussion.
BI 101 Steve Potter: Motivating Brains In and Out of Dishes
Steve and I discuss his book, How to Motivate Your Students to Love Learning, which is both a memoir and a guide for teachers and students to optimize the learning experience for intrinsic motivation. Steve taught neuroscience and engineering courses while running his own lab studying the activity of live cultured neural populations (which we discuss at length in his previous episode). He relentlessly tested and tweaked his teaching methods, including constant feedback from the students, to optimize their learning experiences. He settled on real-world, project-based learning approaches, like writing wikipedia articles and helping groups of students design and carry out their own experiments. We discuss that, plus the science behind learning, principles important for motivating students and maintaining that motivation, and many of the other valuable insights he shares in the book.
BI 100.6 Special: Do We Have the Right Vocabulary and Concepts?
We made it to the last bit of our 100th episode celebration. These have been super fun for me, and I hope you've enjoyed the collections as well. If you're wondering where the missing 5th part is, I reserved it for Brain Inspired's magnificent Patreon supporters (thanks guys!!!!). The final question I sent to previous guests:
Do we already have the right vocabulary and concepts to explain how brains and minds are related? Why or why not?
BI 100.4 Special: What Ideas Are Holding Us Back?
In the 4th installment of our 100th episode celebration, previous guests responded to the question:
What ideas, assumptions, or terms do you think is holding back neuroscience/AI, and why?
As per usual, the responses are varied and wonderful!
BI 100.3 Special: Can We Scale Up to AGI with Current Tech?
Part 3 in our 100th episode celebration. Previous guests answered the question:
Given the continual surprising progress in AI powered by scaling up parameters and using more compute, while using fairly generic architectures (eg. GPT-3), do you think the current trend of scaling compute can lead to human level AGI? If not, what's missing?
It likely won't surprise you that the vast majority answer "No." It also likely won't surprise you, there is differing opinion on what's missing.
BI 100.2 Special: What Are the Biggest Challenges and Disagreements?
In this 2nd special 100th episode installment, many previous guests answer the question: What is currently the most important disagreement or challenge in neuroscience and/or AI, and what do you think the right answer or direction is? The variety of answers is itself revealing, and shows how many interesting problems there are to work on.