Neuroscientists Threaten to Boycott Brain Project

More than 250 European researchers sign a letter criticizing the European Commission’s $1.6 billion effort to create a computer simulation of the human brain.

By | July 7, 2014

WIKIMEDIA, WYGLIFThe European Commission’s (EC) Human Brain Project (HBP) is attracting criticism from leading neuroscientists. More than 250 European researchers have signed an open letter calling on the EC to demand transparency and accountability in the ranks of the project’s governing body, and the signatories threaten to not apply for funding through the project if problems with it aren’t corrected. “We wish to express the view that the HBP is not on course and that the European Commission must take a very careful look at both the science and the management of the HBP before it is renewed,” the letter read.

At issue is the HBP’s goal to create a computer simulation of the brain by developing technologies that enable the sharing and integrating of neuroscience data, rather than funding cognitive research that deals with high-level brain functions such as thought, consciousness, and behavior. “The notion that we know enough about the brain to know what we should simulate is crazy, quite frankly,” Peter Dayan, a computational neuroscientist at University College London, told ScienceInsider.

Henry Markram of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne leads the HBP and told BBC News that opposition to the project is “premature.” He contests that the signatories of the open letter are simply reticent to adopt a new approach to conducting neuroscience research. “We're dealing here with a new paradigm,” he told BBC News. “Every new paradigm comes with this kind of difficulty, as some fight the inevitable change.”

The HBP is getting €1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) from the EC and European Union member states. Dayan told The Guardian that such expenditure raises the stakes for a project that may not be able to deliver on its promises. “The main apparent goal of building the capacity to construct a larger-scale simulation of the human brain is radically premature,” he told the Guardian. “We are left with a project that can’t but fail from a scientific perspective. It is a waste of money, it will suck out funds from valuable neuroscience research, and would leave the public, who fund this work, justifiably upset.”

The EC is in the process of conducting a review of the HBP, and a decision on whether to renew the project’s funding is expected at the end of the summer. The open letter calls on the EC, which approved the funding for the HBP months before the US government’s BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative was green-lighted, to expand, strengthen, and increase the independence of that review to address problems with flexibility and openness in the project’s governance.

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo


Avatar of: MANZELLI


Posts: 1

July 8, 2014

The Quantum Brain Theory: an enlightenment of advancement of brain process. The brain works as a tool of quantum perception. Idea Project proposed by EGOCREANET (ONG- FLORENCE-IT) - SEARCH FOR PARTNERS . FOR IMPROVING A EU-FET PROGRAM 2015 . 
PREMISE: The brain constructs images colors, sounds, and other sensations communicating interactively through connections (dendrites and synapses) that have nano-dimensions such as nano-technology that behave the ability to interact through a network communication of quantum information. --> QUANTUM COMMUNICATION .
Quantum communication science is an area of study based on the idea that information depends on quantum effects.- In quantum computing a neural network becomes saturated quickly and works on a timeline as the nodes of the network (facsimile of neurons) are deemed to be "fixed", while in quantum neurobiological brain that nodes are created and annihilated in the crevices of synaptic neurotransmission according to a formalism similar to that of quantum field theory for information diffused via the entanglement / / dis-entanglement that allow the simultaneity 'exchange' s information, either sequentially or in parallel. In this sense, the QUANTUM BRAIN based on nano-synaptic processes may express a huge range of applications in rational sequences in vertical and parallel ways of exhange information. Both of these forms of communication, fron one side linear in time and from the other side based simultaneity act in the evolutive formation of the logical and creative thinking. Those complemental quantum brain activities lead biophysics and quantum scienze of life leading to explain complex forms of cross-disciplinary understanding of various mental activities that go well beyond the traditional domain of quantum mechanics of particles moving foreward the cognitive limits to which such science that initially i born from the principle of uncertainty (1927) and then it is evolved in the last century. THE QUANTUM BRAIN :
David Bohm ( at the end of the last century quantum physics developed a "holistic" capable of overcoming the apparent contradictions between physics and relativistic quantum mechanics, pointing to the existence of a new interpretation of'energy of the' universe that it is including the 'man not only as an observer but as a participant objectively the level of evolution of life' universe * 
see * What Means Life> 

Based on this theoretical approach today the QBT develop some transdisciplinary recent interpretation of nanotechnology related to neuroscience (Nano-Neuro Biology), introducing the observation about the action of micro tunneling of carbon tubules that are inserted in the brain and used to promote the regeneration of the interface's bio-power between dendrites and synapses.The above leads to the conclusion that the brain can act on two coherent systems : the 'sequential one based on the model of "synaptic quantum tunneling" between near -neurons, while creating a second level of virtual functions ,that are determined by the overposition or overlapping of quantum particles (e.g. entanglement) in the synaptic gaps.The QBT generate a large share of synergistic actions and may give explanation to the emergency the cosciousess. QUANTUM CONSCIOUSNESS:

Thereore the QBT permit also the complete overcoming of the arbitrary split between subject and object . So that a generalized quantum nature of the matter and of the energy may embody also the human domain of' information and its expression in the form of scientific and artistic thought. 

We know that the development of consciousness, as it derives from its etymological meaning (CON-SCIRE = Knowing together) Therefore consciousness nowadays it is becoming dependent on a change of perception of reality. Hence, by following the quantum conception of perceptual functioning of the quantum brain, we can understand that what we see, hear and feel is generated as quantum-brain scenarios expressed in terms of probability of our interactions with the 'environment. This assertion leads to a higher process of reflection that opens new creative opportuinities of a conscious artistic expression of Quantum Art contemporary movement , and provides a new order to 'imaginary contemporary scientific thinkig , finally it is leading to new developments in communication technologies such as Augmented Reality. 

In conclusion, on the basis of QBT approach on Cognitive Neuro-science made in cooperation with quantum artistic expression of Quantum Art, would favor a participation and collaborative sharing of Scientists, Artists, and Technologists of communication in A.R. to develop a Project for the calls HORIZON-FET 2015, to make an advanced dialogue on this important and complex issues for the future developmental strategy of "CREATIVE EUROPE ". Paolo Manzelli 08th July/2014 

Popular Now

  1. Thousands of Mutations Accumulate in the Human Brain Over a Lifetime
  2. Can Young Stem Cells Make Older People Stronger?
  3. Two Dozen House Republicans Do an About-Face on Tuition Tax
  4. Insects’ Neural Learning and Memory Center Discovered in Crustaceans