Dr. Dale Purves of Duke University – The Direction and Future of Neuroscience

I was very fortunate last week to be able to catch up with Dr. Dale Purves of Duke University. I first found Dr. Purves via his research website, where I stumbles upon a trove of interesting empirical answers to various conundrums of perception. Having explanations for these perceptual mind games is far more insightful than merely being surprised by them. I probably spent much more time on exploring the “See for Yourself” section of Dr. Purves’ site than I should have, and if you follow the link below I think you’ll get an idea as of why (the experiments in “motion” were particularly fascinating for me).

(The above image was taken from: https://www.purveslab.net/seeforyourself/)

Dr. Purves’ work over the last number of decades has focused heavily on how perception plays a part in understanding how the brain functions – with much of his best known work in the area of sight and vision.

In the above interview we talk about his personal introduction to the field of Neuroscience and Neurobiology, the problems with the current approaches being followed aiming to replicate the brain to understand it’s workings, the need for a more thorough understanding of biology and evolution to understand the brain itself, as well as some potential future directions for neuroscience (and their limitations).

Those of you interested in transhumanism may particularly like the portion of our conversation relating to Dr. Purves’ perspective on how brain research is currently being funded and approached at present (IE: the perspective of the Blue Brain Project and Kurvweil’s work with Google and elsewhere), in addition to the apparent failure of AI to catch up to biology in the area of vision (this portion of the conversation kicks in about 5:45 into the video above.

I wanted to give an additional thanks to Dr. Purves for taking the time for the interview here at Sentient Potential, and providing a neurobiology perspective on the issues we aim to explore here. Learn more about his work at the link above – and enjoy the interview.


Daniel Faggella