Claude Shannon was a tinkerer, a playful wunderkind, a groundbreaking polymath, and a digital pioneer whose insights made the Information Age possible....
How does the brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious?....
Richard Dawkins dubbed V. S. Ramachandran the "Marco Polo of neuroscience". Now, in a major new work, Ramachandran sets his sights on the mystery of human uniqueness....
Michael S. Gazzaniga made one of the great discoveries in the history of neuroscience: split-brain theory....
We're used to thinking about the self as an independent entity, something that we either have or are. Philosopher Thomas Metzinger claims otherwise: No such thing as a self exists....
Eating is an indispensable human activity. As a result, whether we realize it or not, the drive to obtain food has been a major catalyst across all of history....
Epigenetics can potentially revolutionize our understanding of the structure and behavior of biological life on Earth....
Hawkins develops a powerful theory of how the human brain works, explaining why computers are not intelligent and how, based on this new theory, we can finally build intelligent machines....
Visionary physicist Geoffrey West is a pioneer in the field of complexity science, the science of emergent systems and networks....
How to Create a Mind is certain to be one of the most widely discussed and debated science books in many years - a touchstone for any consideration of the path of human progress....
We live in strange times. A machine plays the strategy game Go better than any human; upstarts like Apple and Google destroy industry stalwarts such as Nokia....
Neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran is internationally renowned for uncovering answers to the deep and quirky questions of human nature that few scientists have dared to address....
Two New York Times best-selling authors unveil new research showing what meditation can really do for the brain....
Brain researcher and best-selling author Dean Buonomano draws on evolutionary biology, physics, and philosophy to present his theory of how we tell and perceive time....
In The Idea Factory, New York Times Magazine writer Jon Gertner reveals how Bell Labs served as an incubator for scientific innovation from the 1920s through the 1980s....
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is essential listening for understanding the history, philosophy, and evolution of science....
How will artificial intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society, and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology....
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....
We know that each of us is unique, but science has struggled to pinpoint where, precisely, our uniqueness resides. Is it in our genes? The structure of our brains? Our genome may determine our eye color and even aspects of our personality. But our friendships, failures, and passions also shape who we are. The question is: how?
Sebastian Seung, a dynamic professor at MIT, is on a quest to discover the biological basis of identity. He believes it lies in the pattern of connections between the brain’s neurons, which change slowly over time as we learn and grow. The connectome, as it’s called, is where our genetic inheritance intersects with our life experience. It’s where nature meets nurture.
Seung introduces us to the dedicated researchers who are mapping the brain’s connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It is a monumental undertaking - the scientific equivalent of climbing Mount Everest - but if they succeed, it could reveal the basis of personality, intelligence, memory, and perhaps even mental disorders. Many scientists speculate that people with anorexia, autism, and schizophrenia are “wired differently,” but nobody knows for sure. The brain’s wiring has never been seen clearly.
.In sparklingly clear prose, Seung reveals the amazing technological advances that will soon help us map connectomes. He also examines the evidence that these maps will someday allow humans to “upload” their minds into computers, achieving a kind of immortality.
Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story, told with great passion and authority. It presents a daring scientific and technological vision for at last understanding what makes us who we are. Welcome to the future of neuroscience.
Seung's theory, of how the brain stores memories/experiences, is quite extraordinary. I'm no brain scientist, but I've read a number of books on the subject, and as far as I know this is the first book to adequately detail this process. Seung describes this in a way that even the non-scholarly reader can understand. The basic brain science you NEED to know in order to understand this book, he explains quickly and effectively.
His last few chapters, on the future science of connectome research is worth the credit all by itself. He touches on cryogenics, and why it's probably not going to work the way that all the frozen people hope it will. He then discusses a few options of preserving your brain for eternity that MAY actually work.. Overall, if you enjoy brain science, and how the brain effects the way we see the world, then get this book.
Narrator is very good.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
An accessible book to introduce and help explain the exciting theory that the mind is entirely encoded in the particular architecture of your brain. The central theme of "Connectome" is that such a mapping of the connections between neurons provides a far more complete picture of mental activity than other brain models. As Seung explains, mapping a brain's connectome would enable highly specific examination and treatment of a brain, going so far as to allow correlation of neuronal activity patterns with memory and conscious experience itself.
The catch is the monumental technical challenge of obtaining and handling so much data, as mapping a connectome, like mapping a DNA genome, is a computationally expensive process. In fact, mapping the connections in a human brain is many, many orders of magnitude more complex given the density of neurons and the intricacy of their connections in brain tissue. Furthermore, technology with the proper specificity to automate the delicate task is still in early stage development. Thus a corollary theme in the book relates to the pace of technological change: the field of connectomics banks on the continuation of exponential growth in computer processing speed (e.g. Moore's Law) and accompanying technologies. Assuming that technology continues to progress as it has, Seung proposes that connectomes will naturally become the substrate of which we discuss our mental selves and our conscious identity.
The fundamental idea of the connectome is persuasive and fascinating, but perhaps because of such preexisting interests, this book was less in-depth than I was hoping for, and much of the content therein will be familiar to other fans of cognitive science or avid tech enthusiasts. Seung devotes the end of the book to the interesting future possibilities of cyber immortality, but they come with the usual speculation & caveats and don't yield much of a takeaway message. Seung's writing style is natural if not as crisp as a science journalist, just occasionally veering too folksy for the science (with a few awkwardly stilted metaphors). MacLeod Andrews generally handles it well and offers quality narration, though I think some phrasing might have sounded more natural in Sebastian Seung's own voice.
I was originally introduced to Sebastian Seung's "Connectome" in his excellent 2010 TED Talk
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
probably more for the neophyte in this area of study than for those who understand the basics of neuronal connectivity. One might even say that Seung has taken an already more or less widely circulated bit of knowledge (our brains and how they change through life shape who we are and what we are) and merely given it a catchy new name: Connectome. This is not to significantly take away from what turns out to be a very good book. It is informative and insightful, just don't expect something dazzlingly new here if you have read heavily in this field of study. (Watch Seung's TED presentation on this subject on youtube to get a good idea of where the book is going and if you find that simplistic, this book may come across that way to you too.) One thing that I do really like is that Seung explicitly states that we are, to a goodly degree, responsible for a major part of the development of our "Connectome." That is, that we have free will in shaping our brain structures with our choices and actions, avoiding the dreaded Determinism (real or imagined) that many people want to see in various studies of brain science. This is good science presented clearly for the layman, but again, it might be a bit of a retread for those well-versed in brain study.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Where does Connectome rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Seung makes a pretty convincing argument of their existence of connectomes and how, if only we could advance our technological abilities to better image the brain, they could provide deep insight into mysteries of the mind.<br/><br/>Overall a good listen and I would recommend it. Seung does, however, go off on a few long(ish) tangents that I didn't add to the book; specifically, the need for better technology (I agree but I wish that he hadn't spend so much time arguing it) and some of the strange hypothetical scenario near the end such as uploading ourselves into supercomputers... interesting, but I felt that it somehow detracted from the more concrete aspects of the book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This book should have been an article. The field has not produced enough true science to justify a book-length treatment. The book MIGHT be of interest to people who know very little about neurobiology, since the basics of brain science are covered adequately. But if you have any sort of background in neuroscience, you may want to wait until connectomics has actually produced some substantial results before you a read a book about it.
Some of the topics in the book (such as cryonics) are given too much coverage, and the overall flow of the book is not as smooth as one might hope.
Also, the narrator uses some very questionable pronunciations of words like "genomics" and "axonal". He also mispronounces names, such as "Koch" and "Turgenev".
Overall, I did not enjoy this book and would not recommend it.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful
Technically the book was fascinating. Religion and god as neural circuitry is where the book breaks down. A powerful statement of the art and science of men to prepare and use wondrous tools is not to begin to understand why we heal.
What did you love best about Connectome?
Its detailed explanation from bottom up
What other book might you compare Connectome to and why?
There are a lot of others book about the brain. Most of them are very good.
Which scene was your favorite?
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No. I litened to it why jogging in the Gym
Any additional comments?
Thanks to the writer for 10.5 hours of enjoyable jogging.
It should have been exciting and fresh... but it was just lightly warmed up science with an appeal for money to run a connectome project. The connectome is a mapping of synaptic connections that can be done by slicing a brain really thin over and over and then scanned by high speed computers. It costs lots of money and it might yield some exciting science someday. The brain is complex and mysterious and this book wasn't.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Is a book for researchers on brain development. I want to understand the main principles of conectome, but what I found was dissapointed.
What was most disappointing about Sebastian Seung’s story?
I think too much of scientific vocabulary and arguments related to it. But the use of Jennifer Aniston as an example is the worst part of the book.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
Great narration, some cool examples, but few contribution to understand clearly the subject of study.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful