Abstract: Brain and computer were wed mid-twentieth century by the McCulloch-Pitts model neuron and Hodgkin-Huxley equations for digital firing in biological neurons. Since then, brain neurons, synapses, firings and networks have been considered analogous to electronic switches, states and circuits in classical computers. But despite extraordinary advances and bold predictions, consciousness seems ever more elusive. On this, and other divisive issues like EEG gamma synchrony, deviations from Hodgkin-Huxley, gap junctions, dendritic webs/hyper-neurons, anesthesia, quantum computers and clear demonstration of functional quantum coherence in warm protein assemblies, brain and computer have drifted apart. Increasing evidence suggests that the brain-computer marriage could be spiced up, and consciousness accounted for, by exotic yet testable new approaches such as quantum computation in microtubules (Penrose-Hameroff Orch OR theory) in laterally connected input layers (gap junction dendritic web/hyper-neurons) of neuronal networks.

Bio: Stuart Hameroff M.D. is an anesthesiologist, Professor of Anesthesiology and Psychology and Director, Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Lead organizer for the biennial Tucson conferences “Toward a Science of Consciousness”, Hameroff has teamed with Sir Roger Penrose to develop the controversial “Orch OR” (orchestrated objective reduction) theory of consciousness based on quantum computation in microtubules within the brain’s neurons. Hameroff appeared in the film “What the Bleep?”, and is co-writing and co-producing a feature animation “MindVille”. His website is www.quantumconsciousness.org.