NEUROPLASTICITY THE MIT PRESS ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE SERIES

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Neuroplasticity

Author : Moheb Costandi
ISBN : 9780262337076
Genre : Science
File Size : 39.81 MB
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Fifty years ago, neuroscientists thought that a mature brain was fixed like a fly in amber, unable to change. Today, we know that our brains and nervous systems change throughout our lifetimes. This concept of neuroplasticity has captured the imagination of a public eager for self-improvement -- and has inspired countless Internet entrepreneurs who peddle dubious "brain training" games and apps. In this book, Moheb Costandi offers a concise and engaging overview of neuroplasticity for the general reader, describing how our brains change continuously in response to our actions and experiences. Costandi discusses key experimental findings, and describes how our thinking about the brain has evolved over time. He explains how the brain changes during development, and the "synaptic pruning" that takes place before brain maturity. He shows that adult brains can grow new cells (citing, among many other studies, research showing that sexually mature male canaries learn a new song every year). He describes the kind of brain training that can bring about improvement in brain function. It's not gadgets and games that promise to "rewire your brain" but such sustained cognitive tasks as learning a musical instrument or a new language. (Costandi also notes that London cabbies increase their gray matter after rigorous training in their city's complicated streets.) He tells how brains compensate after stroke or injury; describes addiction and pain as maladaptive forms of neuroplasticity; and considers brain changes that accompany childhood, adolescence, parenthood, and aging. Each of our brains is custom-built. Neuroplasticity is at the heart of what makes us human.
Category: Science

Paradox

Author : Margaret Cuonzo
ISBN : 9780262525497
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 47.19 MB
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An introduction to paradoxes showing that they are more than mere puzzles but can prompt new ways of thinking.
Category: Philosophy

The Conscious Mind

Author : Zoltan Torey
ISBN : 9780262527101
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 67.80 MB
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How did the human mind emerge from the collection of neurons that makes up the brain? How did the brain acquire self-awareness, functional autonomy, language, and the ability to think, to understand itself and the world? In this volume in the Essential Knowledge series, Zoltan Torey offers an accessible and concise description of the evolutionary breakthrough that created the human mind. Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and linguistics, Torey reconstructs the sequence of events by which Homo erectus became Homo sapiens. He describes the augmented functioning that underpins the emergent mind -- a new ("off-line") internal response system with which the brain accesses itself and then forms a selection mechanism for mentally generated behavior options. This functional breakthrough, Torey argues, explains how the animal brain's "awareness" became self-accessible and reflective -- that is, how the human brain acquired a conscious mind. Consciousness, unlike animal awareness, is not a unitary phenomenon but a composite process. Torey's account shows how protolanguage evolved into language, how a brain subsystem for the emergent mind was built, and why these developments are opaque to introspection. We experience the brain's functional autonomy, he argues, as free will. Torey proposes that once life began, consciousness had to emerge -- because consciousness is the informational source of the brain's behavioral response. Consciousness, he argues, is not a newly acquired "quality," "cosmic principle," "circuitry arrangement," or "epiphenomenon," as others have argued, but an indispensable working component of the living system's manner of functioning.
Category: Philosophy

The Technological Singularity

Author : Murray Shanahan
ISBN : 9780262527804
Genre : Computers
File Size : 82.94 MB
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The idea of technological singularity, and what it would mean if ordinary human intelligence were enhanced or overtaken by artificial intelligence.
Category: Computers

Machine Learning

Author : Ethem Alpaydin
ISBN : 9780262529518
Genre : Computers
File Size : 34.4 MB
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A concise overview of machine learning -- computer programs that learn from data -- which underlies applications that include recommendation systems, face recognition, and driverless cars.
Category: Computers

Intellectual Property Strategy

Author : John Palfrey
ISBN : 9780262297998
Genre : Law
File Size : 43.16 MB
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Most managers leave intellectual property issues to the legal department, unaware that an organization's intellectual property can help accomplish a range of management goals, from accessing new markets to improving existing products to generating new revenue streams. In this book, intellectual property expert and Harvard Law School professor John Palfrey offers a short briefing on intellectual property strategy for corporate managers and nonprofit administrators. Palfrey argues for strategies that go beyond the traditional highly restrictive "sword and shield" approach, suggesting that flexibility and creativity are essential to a profitable long-term intellectual property strategy -- especially in an era of changing attitudes about media. Intellectual property, writes Palfrey, should be considered a key strategic asset class. Almost every organization has an intellectual property portfolio of some value and therefore the need for an intellectual property strategy. A brand, for example, is an important form of intellectual property, as is any information managed and produced by an organization. Palfrey identifies the essential areas of intellectual property -- patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret -- and describes strategic approaches to each in a variety of organizational contexts, based on four basic steps. The most innovative organizations employ multiple intellectual property approaches, depending on the situation, asking hard, context-specific questions. By doing so, they achieve both short- and long-term benefits while positioning themselves for success in the global information economy.
Category: Law

The Self Tracking

Author : Gina Neff
ISBN : 9780262334709
Genre : Technology & Engineering
File Size : 46.74 MB
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People keep track. In the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin kept charts of time spent and virtues lived up to. Today, people use technology to self-track: hours slept, steps taken, calories consumed, medications administered. Ninety million wearable sensors were shipped in 2014 to help us gather data about our lives. This book examines how people record, analyze, and reflect on this data, looking at the tools they use and the communities they become part of. Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus describe what happens when people turn their everyday experience -- in particular, health and wellness-related experience -- into data, and offer an introduction to the essential ideas and key challenges of using these technologies. They consider self-tracking as a social and cultural phenomenon, describing not only the use of data as a kind of mirror of the self but also how this enables people to connect to, and learn from, others.Neff and Nafus consider what's at stake: who wants our data and why; the practices of serious self-tracking enthusiasts; the design of commercial self-tracking technology; and how self-tracking can fill gaps in the healthcare system. Today, no one can lead an entirely untracked life. Neff and Nafus show us how to use data in a way that empowers and educates.
Category: Technology & Engineering

Metadata

Author : Jeffrey Pomerantz
ISBN : 9780262528511
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 83.19 MB
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Everything we need to know about metadata, the usually invisible infrastructure for information with which we interact every day.
Category: Business & Economics

The Mind Body Problem

Author : Jonathan Westphal
ISBN : 9780262529563
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 32.77 MB
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Philosophers from Descartes to Kripke have struggled with the glittering prize of modern and contemporary philosophy: the mind-body problem. The brain is physical. If the mind is physical, we cannot see how. If we cannot see how the mind is physical, we cannot see how it can interact with the body. And if the mind is not physical, it cannot interact with the body. Or so it seems. In this book the philosopher Jonathan Westphal examines the mind-body problem in detail, laying out the reasoning behind the solutions that have been offered in the past and presenting his own proposal. The sharp focus on the mind-body problem, a problem that is not about the self, or consciousness, or the soul, or anything other than the mind and the body, helps clarify both problem and solutions. Westphal outlines the history of the mind-body problem, beginning with Descartes. He describes mind-body dualism, which claims that the mind and the body are two different and separate things, nonphysical and physical, and he also examines physicalist theories of mind; antimaterialism, which proposes limits to physicalism and introduces the idea of qualia; and scientific theories of consciousness. Finally, Westphal examines the largely forgotten neutral monist theories of mind and body, held by Ernst Mach, William James, and Bertrand Russell, which attempt neither to extract mind from matter nor to dissolve matter into mind. Westphal proposes his own version of neutral monism. This version is unique among neutral monist theories in offering an account of mind-body interaction.
Category: Philosophy

Free Will

Author : Mark Balaguer
ISBN : 9780262321464
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 30.82 MB
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In our daily life, it really seems as though we have free will, that what we do from moment to moment is determined by conscious decisions that we freely make. You get up from the couch, you go for a walk, you eat chocolate ice cream. It seems that we're in control of actions like these; if we are, then we have free will. But in recent years, some have argued that free will is an illusion. The neuroscientist (and best-selling author) Sam Harris and the late Harvard psychologist Daniel Wegner, for example, claim that certain scientific findings disprove free will. In this engaging and accessible volume in the Essential Knowledge series, the philosopher Mark Balaguer examines the various arguments and experiments that have been cited to support the claim that human beings don't have free will. He finds them to be overstated and misguided.Balaguer discusses determinism, the view that every physical event is predetermined, or completely caused by prior events. He describes several philosophical and scientific arguments against free will, including one based on Benjamin Libet's famous neuroscientific experiments, which allegedly show that our conscious decisions are caused by neural events that occur before we choose. He considers various religious and philosophical views, including the philosophical pro-free-will view known as compatibilism. Balaguer concludes that the anti-free-will arguments put forward by philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists simply don't work. They don't provide any good reason to doubt the existence of free will. But, he cautions, this doesn't necessarily mean that we have free will. The question of whether we have free will remains an open one; we simply don't know enough about the brain to answer it definitively.
Category: Philosophy