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Old January 13 2014, 11:24 AM   #22
Death of Rats
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Re: Ever heard of the "AI Day"? Me neither, but

Sorry guys, I was so busy that I didn't go online in a while. Hence I try to reply to several posts all at once:

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Essentially, your "balanced" state never happens, it's always "unbalanced" and trying to correct. In that context, making it a binary distinction is neither informative nor useful for addressing the problem, and so it must be programmed accordingly.
I start to get what you mean. I haven't encountered such a programming yet, though, and can't quite imagine what it would look like. Could you give me an example of such a code or is it too complicated and too long for a post?

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Incidentally, computers function in a similar way at the physical level. A transistor doesn't know what 0 or 1 are. It's simply a switch that flips to a different position when it has a high enough voltage.
[...] If Rhubarbodendron knows anything about stochastic resonance, maybe she can comment more on this.
A transistor is en excellent image of how synapses and motorical nerves work! The ones we need for thinking appear to behave differently and respond in finer gradients so that they might not work transistor-like, but afaik that's still being researched. Since that branch of research involves experiments on living brains and I am very strongly opposed to vivisection, it's something I am not really up-to-date with.


The needle prick example for different responses is perhaps not the best choice because such responses are reflexes that don't get controlled by the brain but by a shortcut in the spine. The signal rund along the nerve to your spinal cord, is marked there as "urgent! Injury! Might be life-threatening! Quick response needed!" and then a "withdraw immediately" signal is sent right back by a kind of feedback nerve. Hence the name re-flex: backwards-bend.

In this case, the reaction depends on the distance (faster in small people, because there's less of a way to cover), the age (older people's nerves react slower), the nourishment (as it's a chemical signal, there must be enough chemical to run it), muscle strength (a strong muscle retracts further) and also an individual pain threshold (some people bear more pain and react later than others). Also, if you repeat the experiment, the pain threshold will rise as the nerves need time to recover and pump the Ca++ back.

I don't think Stochastic Resonance has something to do with the better results in combination with a second signal (e.g. a vibration or music). I rather think it's a kind of Pavlov Effect: the specimen learns that the vibration or music means it'll get hurt any moment and begins to react a little sooner than without the combination. Very often, if we anticipate something, we react before the incidence actually occurs.

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
I don't know about you, but a different reaction time is certainly a different result to me. Reaction times are the difference between life and death, after all.
reaction time is indeed vital (most literally), but I nevertheless wouldn't consider it the result of the nerve's actions. The result -and point- of the whole action is to get your fingers out of the danger zone and prevent your body from potentially serious damage.
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