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Friday, January 29, 2021

AI to Understand Consciousness of a 'Theory of Mind'

 We read much on 'Theory of mind', as it related to things like intelligent undertanding and 'consciousness'. Could this leverage us into better definitions and uses of consciousness in context? 

New MIT brain research shows how AI could help us understand consciousness  By Tristan Greene  in TNW

A team of researchers from MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital recently published a study linking social awareness to individual neuronal activity. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time evidence for the ‘theory of mind‘ has been identified at this scale.

Measuring large groups of neurons is the bread-and-butter of neurology. Even a simple MRI can highlight specific regions of the brain and give scientists an indication of what they’re used for and, in many cases, what kind of thoughts are happening. But figuring out what’s going on at the single-neuron level is an entirely different feat.

According to the paper

Here, using recordings from single cells in the human dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, we identify neurons that reliably encode information about others’ beliefs across richly varying scenarios and that distinguish self- from other-belief-related representations … these findings reveal a detailed cellular process in the human dorsomedial prefrontal cortex for representing another’s beliefs and identify candidate neurons that could support theory of mind.

In other words: the researchers believe they’ve observed individual brain neurons forming the patterns that cause us to consider what other people might be feeling and thinking. They’re identifying empathy in action.... " 

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