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I bought this book specifically because I was interested in the ongoing, multi-site (NIH, UCLA, MGH, WashU, UMinn) connectivity project: The Human Connectome Project--which uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to map the brain. While Dr. Seung does mention this effort, he quickly dismisses its importance because the spatial resolution of MRI is too poor for a true connectome to be constructed. Although this is true (MRIs are not as pretty as electron microscope scans), the functional maps created using these "imaging" techniques have a wealth of context to offer to the whole anatomical story of the brain.
That being said, this book does start off nicely, laying the foundation for what a connectome is and how important they can be when learning about and (possibly) treating the brain and its numerous maladies. For what it is, I'd say the first half of the book is interesting enough (although Dr. Seung really seems to "remember" Jennifer Aniston many times throughout the book; readers will become very familiar with what I mean fairly early in the book). After giving a nice layman's tour through the history and beginnings of connectomics, Dr. Seung then extrapolates on some of the possible uses of the connectome in the last few chapters. While these chapters largely represent what connectomics might mean to future generations, and I (currently) view these approaches as "wish list" applications, Seung goes a little overboard with the metaphysical hyperbole at the end.
I would have hoped for a more unitary approach in what is essentially the layman's introduction to connectomics.
Probably expected too much as the author is with somewhat fame. However the content is not really engaging, nor informative about the connectivity structure of the brain. Maybe the author is busy with making money? The poor writing quality is probably also reflected in his publications which, for quite a while, only appear in low-profile journals / conferences, and can only show in top journals when there are many co-authors.
As one who intends to study neuroscience in his coming years, I think this book provides an interesting introduction to the field. It provides very recent findings in neuroscience along with their modest implications within the context of the history and possible future of neuroscience. And it touches on all those touchy questions like mind, brain and their place in philosophy and computer science that I have come across in the field so far. However it does get a bit fanciful bear the end in addressing the final goals of studying the brain, answering as well as he could the numerous interests people have in the brain, like eternal life, but in this I think he bot a bit too much into the science fiction. But other than this, it was a good read
I liked this book but kind of lost interest 2/3rds of the way through. There is some good research and concepts in this book and it made me think about how we're all wired etc, how we learn. I reached a point though where I felt the writer was either repeating a theme or wasn't sure where to bring the book next and I just put it down.
Interesting even fascinating factual start - the problem is that further on the book becomes more and more hypothetical and wishful thinking. The author bets on his connectome concept as a fix all for scientific progress in this field. OK. But I bought the book because of the promise made by the (sub) title and did I get all it promised. Mmmm, no, I think.
Good book overall. A bit too long in my opinion. The author occasionally indulges in self glorification that contributes to about a quarter of the book that one can live without. The author is a good writer and an abridged version of this book can go a long way in getting the new concept popular.