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mkhilji's picture

Brain vs. Computer

In the past I was one who would consider the analogy of the brain to a computer—in terms of being programmed or wired in a certain way, however I think the point that Caroline and Jenn pointed out that when wiring goes wrong for a computer it may crash, and lose all its ‘memory’—however a brain doesn’t lose necessarily all just by a error in a synaptic connection.

While researching the net about reasons why the brain is not like a computer I came across this website: (although it has a weird name it did get me thinking)

Its arguments did seem a little scattered but it was the conclusion that made me start thinking about how it relates to our discussion. It mentions that the fundamental difference being is what the article calls “plasticity”. It goes on discussing how usage effects the development. It gives the example of those born congenitally blind but later their vision is restored slightly by an eye transplant. Although the person may regain vision by this transplant they are unable to gain ability to see with clarity—because they were born without the brain is adept for this function. However individuals who lose their vision due to trauma and then receive an eye transplant can have perfect vision restored. This example related to how the person born blind never had their visual cortex fully develop due to their genes. This is where usage effects development, in computers usage is determined by programming and chip designs, whereas it could be argued that perhaps the brain is pre-programmed by genes, which determines or sets the capacity of the brain and in a computer it is possible to re-program or override previous programming.


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