Marvin Minsky, artificial intelligence pioneer: We do something other species can’t: We remember. We have cultures, ways of transmitting information.
Daniel Dennett, cognitive scientist: We are the first species that represents our reasons, and can reason with each other. “The planet has grown a nervous system,” he said.
Renee Reijo Pera, embryologist: We’re uniquely human from the moment that egg and sperm fuse. A “human program” begins before the brain even begins to form.
Patricia Churchland, neuroethicist: The structure of how the human brain is arranged intrigues me. Are there unique brain structures? As far as we can understand, it’s our size that is unique. What we don’t find are other unique structures. There may be certain types of human-specific cells — but as for what that means, we don’t know. It’s important not only to focus on us, to compare our biology and behavior to other animals.