On the quantum basis of consciousness…

Originally shared by David Brin

The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons appears to corroborate claims that consciousness derives from deeper-level, finer-scale activities inside brain neurons. The eminent mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose in the 1990s suggested that quantum vibrational computations in microtubules were “orchestrated” (“Orch”) by synaptic inputs and memory stored in microtubules.  They may be the seat of stored information that neurons (and glia exchanges) intermediate.  Moreover, in a new development it is thought that Microtubule quantum vibrations (e.g. in the megahertz frequency range) appear to interfere and produce much slower EEG “beat frequencies.”


A lead author suggests “Consciousness depends on anharmonic vibrations of microtubules inside neurons, similar to certain kinds of Indian music, but unlike Western music, which is harmonic.”  How cool and weird!  Only I am less interested in the mystical implications about roots of consciousness than whether this nails in “intracellular computing” as a major part of brain function.  If so, then that boosts by many orders of magnitude how many transactions take place to comprise our minds.  And many more Moore’s Law doublings will be needed before that number can be replicated, in silico.


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