Brain

The brain is no computer

Right with its development, the comparision of the computer and our brain started and it goes on till today. If I remember correctly, in the times before, the comparision was between complex mechanical systems as steam machines and the brain as you may see in idioms as "letting of steam". But todays allegories go further - people not only compare the brain with a computer but also think it would indeed work likewise. In the Machine Translation discursus sometimes there would be the argument, that a human brain would not use language e.g. like a statistics based system (and here comes Chomsky who claims it would work with a lexicon and a grammar which is also wrong). The answer often is the comparision with a plane which does not fly as a bird does - but it flies. The attempts to let planes fly like birds were not as successfull as those that used the internal rules (i.e. the laws of thermodynamics) but adapted them to large objects made of steel. So: It does not matter if the brain works like a computer, it matters if we do the right things with brains/computers to make them intelligent. Ok, not quite the discussion I started with. Here is a very interesting article about the brain and how it works and why it is not a computer at all:

Senses, reflexes and learning mechanisms – this is what we start with, and it is quite a lot, when you think about it. If we lacked any of these capabilities at birth, we would probably have trouble surviving.

But here is what we are not born with: information, data, rules, software, knowledge, lexicons, representations, algorithms, programs, models, memories, images, processors, subroutines, encoders, decoders, symbols, or buffers – design elements that allow digital computers to behave somewhat intelligently. Not only are we not born with such things, we also don’t develop them – ever.

aeon: The empty brain

FAZ: Wie Lektüre sich ins Hirn tätowiert

Geahnt hat man es ja immer schon: Lektüre schafft bleibende Eindrücke. Wie und wo die im Gehirn entstehen und wie lange sie anhalten, hat man jetzt in einer Studie herauszufinden versucht:

Was allerdings beim Lesen der packenden „Pompeji-Fiktion“ in den Hirnbildern wirklich hervorstach, waren die mit dem Lesen immer stärker ausgebildeten Nervennetze in den für Gefühls- und Angstwahrnehmung zuständigen somatosensorischen Zentren zu beiden Seiten der Großhirnrinde im höchstgelegenen Teil unter der Schädeldecke.

FAZ.NET - Neuronale Gravuren des Lesens: Die Roman-Verschaltung