martedì 24 settembre 2013

A computer vs our brain

Brain May Rely on Computer Like Mechanism to Make Sense of Novel Situations.

Our brains give us the remarkable ability to make sense of situations we’ve never encountered before—a familiar person in an unfamiliar place, for example, or a coworker in a different job role—but the mechanism our brains use to accomplish this has been a longstanding mystery of neuroscience.

Now, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have demonstrated that our brains could process these new situations by relying on a method similar to the “pointer” system used by computers. “Pointers” are used to tell a computer where to look for information stored elsewhere in the system to replace a variable.

But a computer and a brain are not the same stuff. In fact, O’Reilly said: "While the results show that a pointer-like system could be at play in the brain, the function is not identical to the system used in computer science. It’s similar to comparing an airplane’s wing and a bird’s wing. They’re both used for flying but they work differently."

So, this is the main question: what is the difference between a computer and our brain?

The research is in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (full access paywall)

The image is credited to: Alejandro Zorrilal Cruz.

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