On Conversations with Tyler, hosted by Tyler Cowen:
Ed Boyden builds the tools and technologies that help researchers think about and treat the brain, an organ we still know surprisingly little about. When it comes to how our brains make decisions, form emotions, and exhibit consciousness, there is still a lot we can learn.
But just as fascinating as the tools Boyden and his team build is the way in which they build them. Boyden employs a number of methods to design more useful tools, such as thinking backwards from the problem, hiring eclectic talent, practicing a particular type of meditation, waking long before dawn, or just trying the opposite of what’s already been attempted.
Would emulating the brain require emulating the entire body? Is consciousness fundamental to the universe, or is it actually just an illusion? Does a certain disharmony in thought lead to creativity? Why don’t people don’t feel comfortable talking about their brains? And why is it so hard for us to be empathetic with one another?