Including a chapter by 2014 Nobel laureates May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser
An unprecedented look at the quest to unravel the mysteries of the human brain, The Future of the Brain takes readers to the absolute frontiers of science. Original essays by leading researchers such as Christof Koch, George Church, Olaf Sporns, and May-Britt and Edvard Moser describe the spectacular technological advances that will enable us to map the more than eighty-five billion neurons in the brain, as well as the challenges that lie ahead in understanding the anticipated deluge of data and the prospects for building working simulations of the human brain. A must-read for anyone trying to understand ambitious new research programs such as the Obama administration's BRAIN Initiative and the European Union's Human Brain Project, The Future of the Brain sheds light on the breathtaking implications of brain science for medicine, psychiatry, and even human consciousness itself.
Contributors include: Misha Ahrens, Ned Block, Matteo Carandini, George Church, John Donoghue, Chris Eliasmith, Simon Fisher, Mike Hawrylycz, Sean Hill, Christof Koch, Leah Krubitzer, Michel Maharbiz, Kevin Mitchell, Edvard Moser, May-Britt Moser, David Poeppel, Krishna Shenoy, Olaf Sporns, Anthony Zador.
Cognitive scientist Marcus and neuroscientist Freeman intend this well organized collection of 22 essays to be an introduction to cutting-edge brain science. Yet the work suffers from three shortcomings: repetition; dense, inaccessible text; and misleading focus, i.e., rather than helping readers understand what scientists have learned about brain configuration and function, virtually every essay looks to the future and concludes that at the moment we know remarkably little. In essay after essay, the closing remarks refer to breakthroughs just over the horizon, from understanding the origin of language to the reverse engineering of the brain. A typical claim posits that "by taking advantage of an ever-growing tool kit for investigating gene function, it will at last be possible to bridge the mechanistic gaps between DNA, neurons, circuits, brains, and cognition." One essay advises readers to bear in mind that many scams were perpetrated in the name of science during the push to decipher the human genome and that scientists have a responsibility to "debunk hype, allay groundless fears, and anticipate likely ways in which efforts may be made to exploit or dupe the public."