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Are we neuronal machines? – Computer models of the brain

Dr. med. habil Peter Jedlicka, Institute of Clinical Neuroanatomy
on January 19,  2015

The human brain is probably the most complex system to arise during evolution. The brain’s activity is generated by dynamically interlinked, nested networks of many molecules, nerve cells and nerve cell groups integrated in specific ways. One cannot understand the complexity of the brain through intuition and thinking alone. Thus computer simulations and mathematical models have become very important in modern neurosciences. We are living in the age of the “Human Brain Project”.  How do computer models help us better understand the nervous system and its activity? Can such models serve to make treatment of neurological diseases more effective? In a discussion of free will it will be argued that neurobiology shows us that all out thoughts, decisions and actions are determined by neuronal processes, and thus free will is an illusion. Are we really predictable neuronal machines? Will it be possible in the future to completely describe and/or simulate free will and consciousness using a computer model?

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