"If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't." -- Emerson M. Pugh
I've previously mentioned the case of Jason Padgett here, but Cliff Pickover recently tweeted links to these 2 stories about the savant/artist, who only acquired his distinctive talents after a severe mugging (it's such a fascinating story, worth re-posting about):
Examples of his fractal art here:
In at least a slightly related matter, this weekend I skimmed through "The Spark" by Kristine Barnett, a fantastic account of raising her autistic savant son, Jacob ("Jake"), full of touching, powerful, fascinating moments. Anyone interested in autism, savantism, learning, or heck, just raising kids, should read the volume. I've reported on Jake (currently a Masters student in quantum physics, at age 14) here before as well, but just Google him to find lots more information, including videos.
And here's a fuller review of Barnett's wonderful book:
Finally, a bit of recent BBC video (May, 2013) of Jake ...stunning, just stunning!:
Some Kurzweillian thinkers these days believe it is only a matter of time before we will fully understand and even artificially duplicate the workings of the human brain... Jason and Jacob are among the examples that make me, like Emerson Pugh above, doubt we ever will.