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Our brains don't 'process information' like a computer

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posted on Oct, 31 2016 @ 01:20 PM
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Robert Epstein , a behavioral research scientist, maintains that despite popular beliefs, the human brain does not function like a computer. Not at all.
Our brains don't store, retrieve, and process information like an algorithm-using computer. He explains in detail why our assumptions and theories are outmoded.

(We do know that our brains are complicated, as this statement from the article suggests:
In a recent op-ed in The New York Times, the neuroscientist Kenneth Miller suggested it will take ‘centuries’ just to figure out basic neuronal connectivity.)

Epstein says:
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.


It's a good read. Fascinating.
The empty brain




posted on Oct, 31 2016 @ 01:37 PM
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a reply to: ColeYounger

I would like to refute his claims.

We do develope memories as soon as we are born although for the first couple years it's hard for the brain to remember. information, data, knowledge, imqages are all stored within the memory buffer and called upon when necessary so they do exist.



posted on Oct, 31 2016 @ 01:53 PM
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a reply to: TruthxIsxInxThexMist




information, data, knowledge, imqages are all stored within the memory buffer and called upon when necessary so they do exist.



There are neuroscientists who don't believe that memories are stored in a brain, like data on a hard drive.
It's a mystery. It's a "mind" thing, not a "brain" thing.

To quote a neurosurgeon:
The brain is a physical thing. A memory is a psychological thing. A psychological thing obviously can't be "stored" in the same way a physical thing can. It's not clear how the term "store" could even apply to a psychological thing.



posted on Oct, 31 2016 @ 02:03 PM
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Of course it doesn't operate like a normal computer. If it did, we'd be a lot closer to reproducing it. However, I won't go so far as to say it's not computer-like. And that's a loaded, subjective term. How computer-like? What ways? For me, two things are important. Does it possess information? And does it process that information to produce a result, according to reasonably consistent rules or "circuits"? Beyond that, one can ask if its information can change in size or content. And can the ways it processes information be changed?

I think computers might change to be more like our brain, read below--as in, a predictor of future information based on past information:
www.ted.com - Jeff Hawkins: How brain science will change computing...

Essentially--bear in mind I don't want to have too much confidence in this--our brain predicts. It's very good at that. It doesn't conclude a bird is 100% a robin or sparrow or crow, like a computer typically might, It instead spits out "74% magpie" or "eagle-like." This lends it great flexibility. It doesn't know exactly what will happen in the next moment, but it produces a reasonable prediction--the sort which has enabled us to survive this dangerous and changing environment. Computers might benefit mightily if we can reproduce it on them.

Here's a recent speech he gave:


He makes a point during the video how the brain has evolved and preserved its prior development. For example, mammals mostly kept all prior developments, but also--significantly--added the neocortex. He says the neocortex represents 75% of the volume of the brain. He makes the point this has resulted in a lot of babies dying during birth because our heads are so big.
edit on 10/31/2016 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 31 2016 @ 02:04 PM
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I would think the functioning of our brain based in our DNA. Also look at the animal kingdom, certain actions/behaviors are there at birth.

That is some kind of information or rules.



posted on Oct, 31 2016 @ 03:05 PM
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a reply to: jonnywhite

Hawkin's book "On Intelligence" is fantastic. I also recommend "The Tell-Tale Brain" by V. S. Ramachandran



posted on Oct, 31 2016 @ 03:39 PM
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a reply to: ColeYounger

I find this field of study fascinating and your choice of article is an excellent one.




Fortunately, because the IP metaphor is not even slightly valid, we will never have to worry about a human mind going amok in cyberspace; alas, we will also never achieve immortality through downloading. This is not only because of the absence of consciousness software in the brain; there is a deeper problem here – let’s call it the uniqueness problem – which is both inspirational and depressing.

Because neither ‘memory banks’ nor ‘representations’ of stimuli exist in the brain, and because all that is required for us to function in the world is for the brain to change in an orderly way as a result of our experiences, there is no reason to believe that any two of us are changed the same way by the same experience. If you and I attend the same concert, the changes that occur in my brain when I listen to Beethoven’s 5th will almost certainly be completely different from the changes that occur in your brain. Those changes, whatever they are, are built on the unique neural structure that already exists, each structure having developed over a lifetime of unique experiences.


Let's hope a good portion of research money goes to those pioneers who won't stagnate on unproven theories.



posted on Oct, 31 2016 @ 03:49 PM
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A psychological thing obviously can't be "stored" in the same way a physical thing can


In a similar light, a computer doesn't store a number. It stores a representation that can be retrieved and reinterpreted as the same number. 01 is stored (in a physical form) and later treated as a binary value which is then interpreted to be the number value 2.



posted on Oct, 31 2016 @ 03:52 PM
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The human brain does store memories, but not in the way a computer does.

In a computer, data is stored on a storage device in the form of ones and zeroes... that data can be found via a file designation and opened in an associated program that is designed to decode the stored data and present it back to us.

In the brain, memories are simply sequences of neural inputs that form a pathway. The more that pathway is used, the stronger and more persistent those memories are. Instead of storing data on a device, our memories are stored in the way devices are linked.

In simpler terms, it is not possible for a computer to read a neuron (or even many neurons) and get data from it. The neurons themselves hold no information... the way information from neural inputs can flow from one neuron to another is where the data is stored. All such information is therefore based in some part on all areas of the brain. All memories and all learned responses are tied inextricably to all other memories and learned responses. There are no filenames, only configurations of inputs that handle the processing.

This is why present attempts at human-like AI are doomed to failure. This arrangement cannot be duplicated in a modern digital computer. Any attempt to do so would require a computer many times more powerful than anything we have on the planet today, and that would be far far less intelligence than, say, an earthworm.

TheRedneck



posted on Oct, 31 2016 @ 04:14 PM
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a reply to: ColeYounger

S&F&


Yes. Good read. Thanks.



posted on Nov, 1 2016 @ 12:49 AM
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All systems have limitations; advantages and disadvantages.

Just as there are different "kinds" of intelligence...



posted on Nov, 1 2016 @ 03:37 PM
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originally posted by: ColeYounger
a reply to: TruthxIsxInxThexMist




information, data, knowledge, imqages are all stored within the memory buffer and called upon when necessary so they do exist.



There are neuroscientists who don't believe that memories are stored in a brain, like data on a hard drive.
It's a mystery. It's a "mind" thing, not a "brain" thing.


Do you have any links to support this? I'm not quite sure what it is you're trying to imply here


To quote a neurosurgeon:
The brain is a physical thing. A memory is a psychological thing. A psychological thing obviously can't be "stored" in the same way a physical thing can. It's not clear how the term "store" could even apply to a psychological thing.


That doesn't make any sense at all. You could argue that language is a "psychological thing". Therefore, there is no way for us to record language using a physical medium. Which, of course, is flat out wrong...



posted on Nov, 1 2016 @ 06:20 PM
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a reply to: GetHyped


I'm not sure I understand your argument here??



Do you have any links to support this? I'm not quite sure what it is you're trying to imply here



Here... Scroll down to the 5th paragraph.
There are neuroscientists (who are specializing in brain research) that have said that what we refer to as "memory" is a mystery, an enigma, and simply cannot be explained as something our brains somehow store, and then retrieve like a computer. It can't be explained away (as others are attempting to do in this thread) with "neural pathways" and such.

Computers store all data physically. Even complex audio and video data is easily manipulated.
Binary...1's and 0's. The data is stored, then retrieved, and decoded or converted into text, audio, video etc.

BUT... a memory is NOT physical, and can't be reduced to code or machine language. How is your brain storing it?
How is your brain PHYSICALLY storing this vague recollection you might have of a cold winter's night 20 years ago,
when the woman in the red car smiled at you as she drove by? Why can't we remember when we were babies? Why don't we remember everything? As I said, there are heavy-duty researchers that are now saying most of the assumptions we have about how the brain handles memories is just wrong.
Also, people can have vastly differing recollections of the same event. The 'uniqueness factor' further complicates it even more.




That doesn't make any sense at all. You could argue that language is a "psychological thing". Therefore, there is no way for us to record language using a physical medium. Which, of course, is flat out wrong...



Language is a very physical thing. Anything you say can be written down and easily stored. It can be recorded
and retreived. A memory falls outside these boundaries. It's NOT a physical thing. Not at all.



posted on Nov, 1 2016 @ 06:31 PM
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Here... Scroll down to the 5th paragraph.


Can you link me to an academic source that is not a creationist website?


Language is a very physical thing. Anything you say can be written down and easily stored. It can be recorded


"It can be recorded" is a completely arbitrary line in the sand that has no meaning. We can't record and reproduce the electrical signals sent from the photosensitive cells in our eye to our brain, but that doesn't mean it's some mystical construct that exists outside the physical realm. This is the same non-logic that creationists use: "Let me draw this completely imaginary line in the sand that is asserted without evidence and draw faulty conclusions".
edit on 1-11-2016 by GetHyped because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 1 2016 @ 07:51 PM
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a reply to: GetHyped

Worse, the guy's argument on the creationist website shows he's no engineer...



What you really mean to say is that the memory is encoded there, and it must be accessed and retrieved, and it is in that sense that the memory is stored. It is the engram, you say, not the memory itself, that is stored.

But there is a real problem with that view. As you try to remember Nana's face, you must then locate the engram of the memory, which of course requires that you (unconsciously) must remember where in your brain Nana's face engram is stored -- was it the superior temporal gyrus or the middle temporal gyrus? Was it the left temporal lobe or the right temporal lobe? So this retrieval of the Nana memory via the engram requires another memory (call it the "Nana engram location memory"), which must itself be encoded somewhere in your brain. To access the memory for the location of the engram of Nana, you must access a memory for the engram for the location for the engram of Nana. And obviously you must first remember the location of the Nana engram location memory, which presupposes another engram whose location must be remembered. Ad infinitum.


And the question is "What is content addressable memory, Alex"

There is a type of memory wherein you present the storage with a representation of what you're looking for, and it returns the address of the most likely matches, rather than the other way around. I'm sure he thought this was a telling argument, but it shows he is not cognizant of how you do memory recalls of things like images.

This behavior is an outgrowth of how you recognize objects you see or things you hear. Having developed a sort of content addressable recall of thing-identities based on sensory inputs, your brain uses it for internal recall, often not as efficiently, but still, that's how it works.



posted on Nov, 1 2016 @ 07:59 PM
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a reply to: ColeYounger


Language is a very physical thing. Anything you say can be written down and easily stored. It can be recorded
and retreived.

Really? You can record language? There's a Nobel Prize in your immediate future!

Actually, I don't think you can. Oh, you or anyone else can make symbolic marks on a piece of paper or record sound waves on magnetic media... but that's not language. That's magnetic or physical representations... not language.

Language exists in the mind. It is the ability to communicate ideas and thoughts by producing and manipulating air waves, or by receiving and interpreting those air waves. the air waves are not language; the production and interpretation of the air waves to communicate thought is language.

TheRedneck



posted on Nov, 1 2016 @ 08:01 PM
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From my own experience, I think the brain does store memories, or at least provides a conduit for memory retrieval and storage from some other source like the human spirit energy or consciousness, and the reason I think this is because when I relax and concentrate before sleeping, I can remember literally hundreds of different dreams I have had, or real life memories, and remembering one can trigger the memory of another, and another, as if they are near each other in a localized place. I can remember being taught to walk at one year old, and remember my second birthday party, but I didn't remember that until after I hit 40 or so.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 01:39 AM
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a reply to: ColeYounger


There are neuroscientists who don't believe that memories are stored in a brain, like data on a hard drive.

Of course memories aren't stored like data on a hard drive, they are stored in our highly complex neural network which computes information in a distributed fashion and uses association to provide triggers for memory retrieval. At the end of the day there's no reason we cannot simulate the neural activity of a human brain on a computer once we understand exactly how it works.
edit on 2/11/2016 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 04:44 AM
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How does OP explain damage to the hippocampus causing problems with memory forming and retrieval?



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 10:38 AM
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a reply to: GetHyped




Can you link me to an academic source that is not a creationist website?

So because Michael Egnore (the neuroscientist who wrote the piece) supports intelligent design, his opinion doesn't count?




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