You might have heard the brain being
compared to a computer but how accurate is this? At first glance they appear to
have many similarities. The graphics card could be seen to be
similar to the visual cortex where visual information is processed by the brain. Similarly, the sound card might be
seen as the auditory cortex where we process auditory
information in the brain. The hard drive, where memory is stored,
might be the hippocampus. This is a key memory area. It’s in the temporal lobe. The processor or CPU could be the prefrontal cortex which is associated with planning,
thinking and problem-solving. We might also put RAM into the prefrontal cortex as it could be seen as similar to our
short-term or working memory. We might see the sensory cortex
as a mouse or a keyboard which collect input information
from the outside world. And finally, the motor cortex, which
coordinates our movements, might possibly be seen as similar
to a monitor or speakers, the way in which a computer outputs to the world. So how accurate is this comparison? If humans and computers really do work the same, then we might expect similar abilities. But this really isn’t the case. So here we have Oscar, he’s 6 years old, and here we have a computer and I’ve got 2 questions to ask them both. First question: What is 456 x 8941? “I’ve got no idea” That’s okay because most adults
wouldn’t know the answer either and the question is so simple for a computer that even a pocket calculator could do it. Ok, second question: What number is shown here? “53” Correct! Now most computers wouldn’t
know the answer to this. In fact, these types of puzzles, called CAPTCHAs, have been specifically designed
to stop computers. So how do we account for this dramatic
difference in what humans and computers can do? It turns out that brains and
computers are actually quite different in terms of how they function, with
memory being a good example of this. Computers work by collecting and storing
information in units, much like you would store books on a bookshelf. When they want to access
data, they search through millions of files to find it. They either have the information, or they don’t. Brains, on the other hand, store memories
in a very different way. Rather than each memory being
held in a single storage container they are represented by a network of neural activations across the brain. A banana, for example, might activate ‘yellow’, ‘fruit’, a certain
smell and a taste sensation. The more times the memory is activated, the stronger this specific
pattern of activation becomes, and the stronger the memory. With billions of neurons and
endless combinations of activation possible, the storage
possibilities are enormous. We also know that thinking of the brain in
terms of specific regions, like computer components, is not very accurate. In reality the brain is one organ and functions are not neatly divided into
regions. The hippocampus, for example, is not the only part of the brain
responsible for memory and most other regions do several different jobs. So why can’t computers work out what this says? Well the computer hasn’t seen the number
53 written in this particular way before so it can’t fit it into one of its neat boxes. Oscar on the other hand was not relying on a single representation
of the number 53 so when he saw the numbers it activated memories in all different
contexts, fonts and colours. He may never have seen
the number 53 in this precise way before but there’s enough activation in the
brain to tell him that it said 53 nonetheless. Humans are very good at
generalising, they can get the gist of something even when what they’re looking at is new. This is not something that computers have been very good at… …well up until now. Because the human brain is so successful, computer scientists have
tried to copy the way it works. artificial neural networks, inspired by those
found in the brain, have been used to improve the performance of computers in areas
such as image recognition, precisely the area CAPTCHAs exploit to
stop computers now. By copying the way the brain works fooling computers might
not be so easy in the future.

Are Brains like Computers?
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10 thoughts on “Are Brains like Computers?

  • January 14, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    This was great

  • March 12, 2018 at 10:23 pm


  • March 28, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    I have the exact same monitor lol!

  • March 28, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    I really liked the video but comparing the sensory and motor cortex to keyboard, mice and monitor is just plain wrong. The sensory cortex is more akin to input circuitry of the CPU & ur skin being closer to a keyboard.

  • June 30, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    No computer would" think " Phoebe is very attractive, but we do.😁😁😁😁😁

  • July 17, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    these is the best video bout brain vs computer thx very much

  • April 22, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Informative video bro
    Keep up the good work

  • June 1, 2019 at 11:06 am

    Boobs 🙌

  • June 21, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    what a criminally underrated channel

  • October 10, 2019 at 9:35 am

    I liked the video… but I believe you underestimate machines. We are doing in a couple of hundred years, what took nature several billion years to accomplish. We are better, for the time being, at pattern recognition and comprehension. However, the machines are quickly catching up with advances in artificial neural networks.


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