ever known. Perhaps computers can never be brains in the full sense of serving as the nervous center of a biological system, but they can be designed with increasing success to carry out some of the functions that are routinely managed by a living brain. Gerald Edelman, like Terrence Sejnowski, believes that the prospects for building more complex “perception machines” are good—and the benefits in both intellectual and economic terms will be enormous. Most important of all would be the expanded opportunities for an understanding of higher brain functions—those that make us human—to be gained by using the computer not so much as a model of the brain, but as a tool for exploring it.
Chapter 8 is based on presentations by Gerald Edelman, Patricia Goldman-Rakic, Eric Kandel, and Terrence Sejnowski.