Says acclaimed neuroscientist Jeff Bezos. Oh, wait a minute, I forgot Jeff Bezos has zero training in neuroscience and has degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. While this indicates he is a smart person and has graduated from college, as far as I can tell his one claim to fame is being insanely wealthy. He definitely is in no privileged position to be commenting on the brain and how it may or may not work. Starting an article featuring the brain and presumably neuroscience with a quote from a famous rich person might be a good way to get page views, but is a terrible way to indicated credibility or seriousness. Also, the mereological fallacy has been committed in the very title of the post. The brain is not capable of “self” optimizing, for it is not a “self”. Only of a (mostly) whole human person (and a few non human animals) with a (mostly) functioning nervous system including a brain can we say they are a “self” and are capable of the process of optimization. Last I checked there were not a whole bunch of brains in vats running around talking about themselves and optimizing themselves and all these other things brains are supposedly capable of doing (seeing, feeling, organizing, planning, etc.). A brain divorced from a body is a lifeless lump capable of nothing but a few basic cellular processes and perhaps (for a minute or two) additional electrochemical activity (i.e. transmission of nervous impulses). If an alien came to earth and only read Medium articles for all its knowledge of the world it would think it is run by super brains capable of all manner of feats of cognition, machines that spend their days learning away, and artificial intelligences. The first two of those things are biological/logical impossibilities and the last does not yet (and possibly may never) exist.

Written by

Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store