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Last night, I had the rare and cherished experience of playing video games and drinking bourbon with my Jew-ish friend Ben.  We got to talking about the complexity of the human brain, and here is a rough summary of the ensuing exchange:

Ben: “The human brain is the most complex structure that we know of.  There is nothing else in the known world that comes even close.” (Ben is one of the most ridiculously intelligent people I know.  He said a lot of other impressive things to back that up, but I wasn’t smart enough to catch a lot of it.  Plus, you know, bourbon.)

Rosten: “When I was in college studying psychology, I was always amazed that psychology seemed to be laughed away by some of the other science fields…physics, engineering and the like.  Considering the complexity of the human brain and how little progress we’ve made in really understanding how our minds work, it seems like psychology will always be one of the most difficult sciences.”

Ben: “Think about it this way.  As far as we can tell the most complex system that an engineer can hope to emulate is the human brain.  And when science fiction writers sit around and imagine, “what would happen if someone actually did build an entity that complex?”, the answer they always land on is that the entity freaks out and kills us all.”

Rosten: “Yeah, I had definitely never thought of it that way.”

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