Will neuroscience research have to change?

It’s a storm under our heads that certain neuroscientists are unleashing today. The proof is this provocative question posed by Professor Anne-Lise Giraud in the scientific journal in mid-January Researchasking whether “we still need to understand how the brain works? “How? What’s going on? We would now know what our 86 billion neurons can do, happily switch from reminiscing to discussing philosophy and let ourselves be seduced here fake news when they fight them elsewhere, allowing them to solve math calculations and indulge in rhetoric etc. ?

The question is not there. If we can clearly feel the wind of the “artificial intelligence” ball and chain among neuroscientists, there is more to it. Of course, it is time to question our own abilities compared to those of algorithmic systems that can calculate or classify faster and also imitate our language…

But it is a much broader vision than the understanding of the action of neurotransmitters or the detailed understanding of the functioning of brain areas, to which the aforementioned professor from the Pasteur Institute and the University of Geneva invites. Like many others, such as Samah Karaki, author of a fascinating radio series on creativity. Discovering the mysteries of the brain is good, but it is better to think of it as immersed in its entire environment. Not just the body that goes with it – bye-bye Descartes – but in relation to others, to society, to humanity as a whole.

Here we can recall a reflection that is not new, but which can always distort our vision: no, our brain is not a computer. Unless you imagine this one built to mimic that one ever better! Typically, this is what proponents of “organoid intelligence” seek to develop, where electronic materials are replaced by cerebral organoids.

But while AI is saturated with billions of data and is capable of mimicking human language like ChatGPT, AI’s information processing has nothing to do with ours. Our neurons also have a lot more to do… Questioning the world as it goes (or doesn’t go) with a lot of emotions and a mountain of prisms – age, education, health of a sick or healthy body, religion, culture. .. The questioning of Anne-Lise Giraud is at least political. Faced with the destabilizing observation that our species is “depleting its environment (…) unable to adapt its population and its economic systems to its resources,” he considers our brain, however large, to be “suboptimally efficient.”

How is it that all these brains of 8 billion people, used to controlling the world, are headed for disaster? To understand this, we agree that we need to continue research in neuroscience and not just look for new drugs. Will a truly original trend develop among neuroscientists? We are still thinking of ways to get this knowledge to serve “the people”. Should we invent a new generation of artificial intelligence to curb our own instincts? Watch out for the emergence of a new type of neuropower.

Leave a Comment