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We will focus attention exclusively on long term memory, for this is far more stable.

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A smaller memory could hold the description of the tissue actually under repair, and this smaller memory could then be cleared and re-used during repair of the next section of tissue.

This analysis neglects the memory required to store the complete state of these computations.

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Philosophers have often treated remembering as a basicallypreservative process, but this should not be taken to suggest thatcontent invariantism is the standard view in philosophy. While therehave been attempts to identify purely preservative forms of memory(Dokic 2001), most philosophical theories of remembering allow for twokinds of variance between the content of retrieved representations andthe content of perceptual representations. First, all theories allowfor the subtraction of content through forgetting. Second, manytheories allow for the addition of self-reflexive, second-ordercontent of the sort described in . Thuscontent variantism is in fact the standard view. Note, however,that the standard form of content variantism permits the addition ofsecond-order content concerning the subject’srelationship to the remembered event but forbids the addition offirst-order content concerning the event itself. Most theories ofremembering thus remain preservationist in spirit. Another possibleform of content variantism permits the addition of both second-ordercontent and first-order content. Generationist theories of rememberingentail this more radical form of content variantism.

Concerns of this sort lead to restoration methods that provide higher precision.

The preservationist conception is reflected in the empiricisttheory, which was influential in the first half of the twentiethcentury and is thus the natural starting point for a review oftheories of remembering. The most influential theories in the secondhalf of the twentieth century were the epistemic theory andthe causal theory, which likewise reflect the preservationistconception, with the causal theory gradually eclipsing the epistemictheory. In the early years of the twenty-first century, the causaltheory has been challenged by new simulation theories, whichadopt a thoroughly generationist conception of memory. The remainderof this section reviews each of these theories in turn.

In the case of the human brain, the damage would have to obliterate the structures encoding human memory and personality beyond recognition.


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Dr. Frankel, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, began his distinguished career in South Africa. For over a decade before his retirement, he was Psychiatrist-in-Chief and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Beth Israel Hospital. Dr. Frankel had a deep interest in the area of hypnosis and published many papers in that area. As Editor of the , he published two seminal journal issues devoted to the topic of false memories that set standards for clinical work and research in this area. In addition, Dr Frankel helped clarify the notion of "flashbacks" in a paper that changed public understanding of that phenomenon.

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Empiricists see both memory and imagination as drawing on preservedsense impressions. Identifying a marker for the distinction betweenmemory and mere imagination is therefore central to the empiricisttheory of remembering, and Hume ([1739] 2011) suggested two suchmarkers. First, he suggested that memory and imagination may bedistinguished by the latter’s higher degree of flexibility:memory respects the order and form of the subject’s originalimpressions, whereas imagination does not. This suggestion appears tobe unworkable. Hume himself acknowledged that degree of flexibilitycannot be employed as a first-person memory marker, since the subjecthas no means of comparing a current apparent memory to an earliersense impression. And degree of flexibility fares no better as athird-person memory marker, unless a very extreme form ofpreservationism is assumed. Generationists, who conceive ofremembering as an active, constructive process, are bound to reject aview of memory on which it is characterized by inflexibility. Moderatepreservationists likewise acknowledge that remembering is often highlyflexible; for example, they may acknowledge that one can remember theelements of an event in an order other than that in which oneexperienced them (Bernecker 2008).

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While the causal theory has been and continues to be enormouslyinfluential, both the necessity and the sufficiency of the appropriatecausation condition have been questioned. Challenges to thesufficiency of the condition have been more popular. One suchchallenge appeals to the epistemic relevance of memory. Debus(2010) argues that genuine memories are necessarily epistemicallyrelevant to the remembering subject, in the sense that he is disposedto take them into account when forming judgements about the past. Inthe most straightforward case, the subject remembers a given event andtherefore forms a belief that the event occurred. In lessstraightforward cases, the subject may refrain from forming a beliefthat the event occurred but nonetheless be disposed to do so. Becauseit does not treat epistemic relevance as necessary for remembering,Debus argues, the causal theory is bound to classify certain cases asinstances of genuine memory when in fact they are instances of merelyapparent memory. For example, in the case of the painter describedabove, the painter disregards his apparent memory when formingjudgements about the past, and therefore it should not be classifiedas a genuine memory; but the apparent memory is, we may assume,appropriately caused by the painter’s past experience, andtherefore the causal theory is bound to classify it as a genuinememory. Given that epistemic relevance is necessary for genuinememory, this argument suggests that the appropriate causationcondition must be supplemented with a condition explicitly requiringepistemic relevance. The view that epistemic relevance is necessaryfor genuine memory, however, may conflate mnemicity and episodicity:one natural take on the case of the painter is that the painter isremembering but, because he lacks autonoetic consciousness, notremembering episodically.