#1 – I am my connectome.
In the scientific community, human beings as a living organisms is being defined by their genetics. In the cold cruel theory of evolution, individual living organisms genetic materials does not change in a lifespan. Likewise, for human it is really disheartening for those who are born with less favourable genes.
Fortunately things are changing with a new hypothesis from Sebastian Seung, one of the rising star in neuroscience. He hypothesis that our intelligent is no longer bound to our genetics. Afterall our brain is made of 100 billions neurons and each connected to another 10,000 neurons. Furthermore, the connections are changing and it is impossible for our genetics to define all the connections in our brains.
Our unique patterns of neural connections in our brain give rise to our individuality and intelligent. Plus, the connections is not defined our genetics which meant that anyone can become a genius if given enough efforts and time. Genetics only defined how long you take to become a genius but will never stop you from becoming a genius!
Furthermore, that could also explain why children of poorly educated parents can rise up to become great scientist and become successful while children born into piviledged environment can do poorly in life. It’s is all about our connectome and our connectome defines who we are and not our genetics.
#2 – Our Brain is so large that We have to be borned prematurely.
There has been many theory on why human grow so slowly and reliance on their parents for a long period of time. But one of the promising hypothesis why human take a long time to mature because we all are born prematurely. When humans are born, we are not even capable of basic movement because our brain is not yet fully developed.
One of the reasons why humans are born prematurely is due to large size of our fully developed brain. When our brain is fully developed, it will swell to such a large size that delivering a fully developed baby is not possible. Female birth canals is simply not big enough to accommodate such a huge brain.
Although delivering premature babies is a evolutionary disadvantaged as premature babies is not capable of protecting themselves from dangers. But having a larger a birth canal to deliver matured babies is larger evolutionary disadvantage as larger birth canal meant larger hips which inhibit proper limb movement. Proper limb movement is needed for human to escape from danger.
#3 – Human brain become larger due to better food
Modern human brain is exceptionally big for our small body size. Based on skulls of ancient human, scientist estimated that our modern brain is easily 3 times larger than the ancient brain. Many neuroscientist have claimed that it is evolutionary pressure that cause our brain to swell to such a large size. A larger brain meant capabilities to perform higher level thoughts to adapt to different climate as human migrate away from the earth equator. Alternatively, larger brain meant better capabilities to manipulate members of the group to rise up the social status level. Humans with higher social status for example, alpha male, have access to better food and higher chance of survival.
However, there are loopholes in above hypothesis. The brain have to become big in the first place to give individual an advantage in evolution. And so far none of the theory is capable of explaining how cognitive advantages first developed with human.
Recently, new hypotheses have emerged that human brain become bigger because of a improved access to better food. Scientists have found that timing of the first human coastal development coincide with the timing of our brain expansion. Neuroscientist concluded that coastal settlement of human definitely played a part in our brain development. The coastal region have especially good source of food. There are plenty of fish and shellfish which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are crucial to brain development as our a large part of our neurons are made of such fatty acids. More of such omega 3 fatty acids meant our brain have the resources to grow fast and enlarge.
#4 – Our Brain Function By Quantum Mechanics
The concept of neurons communicating with one another through electrical impulses is a widely accepted theory. Electrical impulses movement is extremely fast, however neuroscientists have found that electrical impulses typically takes half a milliseconds to cross a synapse. It seems fast but considering that we have thousands of billions of synapse, these timing actually do adds up and it appear to contradict with our speed of thinking.
Instead, neuroscientists and particle physicist from University of Waterloo have put forth a quantum hypothesis on how our brain functions. They believed that electrical impulses and electrochemical means are simply too slow to explain our brain function. Instead, these electrical impulses firing actually provides an environment where subatomic particles to acts as a another means of communications. These subatomic particles are extremely difficult to detect and hence difficult to study. Or perhaps these subatomic particles and interaction would influence environment outside of our brain and give rise to telepathy or perhaps could be a human soul by itself.
#5 – Tap on someone else brain through nanobots.
In the near future, computer scientist Ray Kurzweil, who is also director of engineering at Google, hypothesize that we could tap on one another human brain power with the help of nanobots. In his TED talk, he mentioned that our intelligence is simple derive from a mere increase on our brain neurons. He extrapolated that perhaps if we can artificially increase the number of neuron, we may achieve superhuman intelligence.
Imagine if one day everyone is linked to a global cloud of human brains and we can tap on all the brainpower of the entire human population temporarily to solve difficult question, that would be increase the pace of our technological advances rapidly. Or perhaps someone might need that extra brain power to come up with witty pick-up line to impress a lady.