Are We Just Walking Computers?

In my long years in Computing, I’ve often noted similarities between the way the human Brain Works and the way A Computer works.

One was designed out of the other, I usually concluded. But I never found any real link to the inventors of Computers from Human experience.

But Someone is getting closer. What do you think (in more ways than one).

This from the DT, today -

"Recently in this paper, Jean Cochrane made the observation, “How wonderful is memory!”. She was describing how, though not having touched a piano keyboard for 50 years, she was able to pick up almost where she left off playing Mozart sonatas and the “easier” works of Beethoven. A couple of others also reported a similar experience playing a “tricky” Chopin mazurka and a nocturne – posing the fascinating question as to how skills and memories from the distant past are laid down to be retrieved decades later.

This is just the sort of issue that might be clarified by those sophisticated brain-scanning techniques that allow neuroscientists to observe the brain in action from the inside ‘lighting up’ when performing one task or another.

Indeed, two types of memory are stored in discrete parts of the brain. Scanning the brains of volunteers asked to distinguish between photographs of famous people and the obscure identified a small area of the frontal cortex specialised for facial recognition.

Scanning the brains of London’s taxi drivers as they rehearsed their routes across the capital, meanwhile, reveals ‘hot spots’ in the hippocampus involved in memorising spatial topography.

But beyond that the phenomenon of memory becomes much more inscrutable. So when, for example, volunteers are asked to recall two very different kinds of explicit memory – for autobiographical events (being the Christmas star in a nativity play) or for facts (the names of different types of apple) – both tasks involved billions of neurons across large and overlapping tracts of the brain.

More astonishing still, it would appear that over time memories are reallocated from one part of the brain to another. Whereas in the young the predominant area of brain activity when memorising is located in the left frontal cortex and then its subsequent recall is in the right – itself an amazing finding – the same functions in the elderly are distributed equally between the two hemispheres.

“The capacity for human memory is a deep mystery” notes Robert Doty, a neurobiologist. “The facility to sort with alacrity through the experiences of a lifetime and their cascading associations defies credible clarification.”

I believe a human brain to be more versatile and have the ability to out think any computer on the planet. Our brains existed quite happily for hundreds of years without computers. Computers could not exist at all without the help of a human brain!


Yes I agree, Tabby. However, it must be said that our brains have evolved to deal with our lives, and now because we are more reliant on technology than ever before, the computers are having to take over what we can’t do. So we have effectively made a rod for our own back.

apologies for the derailment…it was a Brain Blip :joy:


I believe in the old adage “Use it or lose it” Memory can be trained to increase it’s capacity to remember. I’ve got a book called “How to improve your memory” I will post a photo of it, but I can’t remember offhand where I put it… :017: I really do have a book though, and it suggests trying to remember lines of numbers, gradually increasing the amount each day. Perhaps phone numbers. You can even use ‘Word Association’ as quiz experts use.

I also have made that comparison between the way a computer stores memory and the way the brain stores it Ted, firstly being placed in RAM and then saved to disk etc.
It can work against you though. Everything you see and hear is memorised, and the bad stuff can return to haunt you later. (in dreams) Especially emotional and harrowing things. It’s true what they say about not being able to ‘Un see’ something. I also believe that things people see on video games and movies will remain in the dark volts of the mind and will affect the way you think and act. There have been many examples lately how subliminal mental suggestion have affected the population. The people who make the adverts have been doing it for years, but don’t underestimate it’s power…


But what can the human brain do, these days, that a Robot/Computer cannot?

They can reproduce themselves, work 23 hours a day, repair Humans, including surgery, drive vehicles, you name it!

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We are like CPUs but flawed. It’s not surprising that computers are similar because humans designed them. Our brains, well we think them imaginative & creative but in reality we are limited to what is possible in the realms of our own consciousness. We couldn’t see past ourselves even if we tried. We are not designed to. Although we sense there is more, so we have science and religion to try to explain that.


But they can only do all that because a human programmed them in the first place!

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And it was evolution, I suggest, that got us to the point where the eyes, and ears, were high enough up to see, and hear, as far as possible, and the development of the brain , with education, that made us what we are today.

But now?

Is there anything left that the Robot cannot take over and run with?

Just a thought ( :pleading_face:)

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Probably not - if someone with a brain programmes them! :grinning: :smiley_cat: :grinning: :smiley_cat:

Isn’t that the same with Humans?


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Robots lack several qualities that make their “Brains” work at a pure intellect level and can only go as far as it’s programmed.
Computers lack imagination. They can’t paint an original. Really they can’t so anything they are not programmed to do, where as the human brain keeps learning because we’re curious, computer can’t get curious. I could keep going, but the main difference between a computer and a human brain, the computer brain would be useless without the human brain, the human brain works without outside influence. IMHO

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they are developing robots that can learn

True, but it can only learn facts. It can’t learn intangibles. Imagination, any emotion, curiosity, A computer is the sum total of it’s input. The same can be said about humans the difference being, we didn’t need someone to do the input. We input by simply seeing. A computer can’t do that, because it requires frame of reference and experience. Computers are limited to facts, data we put into them. AI is possible, but AI will always be notable for the Artificial part.


Yes I was going to say that Danny. Computers don’t have emotions, where many of our decisions are based. They don’t feel pain, and without the raw materials that are mined and produced in all parts of the world, they would not exist. And they require electrical energy to operate, when the components necessary to construct mobile power units (batteries) are unobtainable, just like conventional engines, they will lie silent.
The human body is much more than a computer, when did a computer experience an orgasm, and computers will never (in my opinion) exist without humans. If you want to replicate a human, biology and DNA is where to start, not electronics and mechanical engineering.


There are several reasons why the Terminator scenario is stupid. One computer see man as a threat. This implies that somehow a computer has been programmed with a sense of self preservation. They say it becomes self aware. If that were true it would see that man were necessary for it’s continued existence. Secondly, it wouldn’t fire off all the nukes if it had a sense of self preservation because the EMP would be world wide and would fry all electronics. It would see the nukes as a threat. Not to mention the fact that if every nuke in the world were fired at the same time, I’m pretty there wouldn’t be a world left, at all. AI is possible AEB Artificial Emotional Being is impossible. IMHO

If the device was built into a Human body, which still had emotions but needed the device to complete tasks like breathing, walking, talking, then the emotions, from the Human, would be still there.

Robots with emotions? Hmm- dangerous - remember what happened when they gave DATA an emotion chip - he ran amok!

Robots and computers are rubbish at being human, so they don’t really make very satisfactory friends.

And what would be required for it to achieve one, I wonder. :thinking: