Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The computer that is our brain

My last couple of trips to Mobay has allowed me to analyze a very interesting aspect the human mind;

the “Autopilot”

Now as the name suggest this refers to the ability of the brain to take over numerous activities without the need for much intervention from the conscious mind. In fact provided the knowledge on how to perform a task has been stored in memory, the conscious mind can leave any of a myriad of tasks at any time and the brain will seamlessly assume control.

This was first highlighted when I found my mind wondering while driving behind a truck. I began to realize that I was jolted out of whatever thought or reverie I was having whenever there was a change in speed of the vehicle. It was as if my consciousness gave my autopilot functions a set of conditions that were to held and if at any point these changed then my consciousness was to be handed back control.

This totally amazed me. I mean the programming that is behind this brain of ours, not to mention the hardware, is totally mind-boggling. The amount of variables that the brain is required to keep track of for any given task is staggering and the way in which it can slip in and out of control with any pause whatsoever is astounding.

My analysis of the phenomenon has lead me to also realize that the auto functions of our brain are much better than the conscious mind.

A perfect example can be seen when one is doing a performance, usually one is told not to think about anything, in other words do not allow the conscious mind to interfere.

It’s like a personalized computer really. It is precise and very accurate, however the rules of G.I.G.O apply (i.e. Garbage In Garbage Out).

If the conscious mind leaves stupid instructions then the Brain will do the best it can, but at the end of the day it can only do what we tell it to do.

Interestingly enough, it is equipped with a number of bells and whistles to alert the Conscious mind when it is about to, or has performed what it has determined to be and incorrect course of action… it usually is right.

These thought have lead me to think about what computers of the future should be able to do. If they were able to communicate directly to this Auto function module of our brain, the implications would be staggering. The brain could manage and track more variables more efficiently than ever before and maximize performance in even the simplest of tasks.

I mean all interactions between machine and Autopilot have been through the medium of the conscious mind, but time and time again we have seen the conscious mind is not always the most precise, inefficient or sensible machine known to mankind. Removing this medium allows for both the Conscious mind and Auto functions to perform at optimum levels.

In any case that’s just me rambling, but the thought if a synthetic minicomputers fusing with the synapses in your brain is amazing the implications and the benefits are wondrous. Of course the negative possibilities are always there and have been explored in by some Sci-Fi writers most notably the japanimie series “Ghost In the shell” but that is for another blog. Till next time see ya.


Rae said...

ok, you lost me with the mini-computewrs thing and I was reminded that u are a mad man, but before I got to that point, I was with you. Pan playing is one of my examples of 'auto functions of our brain being much better than the conscious mind'.

Trying to remember notes of songs I haven't played in 3 years is tedious at best, but if I forget about the trying and just let my hands move.. they find the notes! How cool!

me said...

considering that I have been in your moving vehicle when the auto-pilot mode in your brain chips in, I'm sorry to say that I cannot fully share the appreciation you have for it.

Sweet Simone said...

If u never spoil a good blog by putting in that rubbish about Sci-fi stuff i would have had to wonder who was writing it. But seriously, there are many times i am marvelled at the things i am able to do automatically whereas when i think about it, something usually manages to go wrong. The brain never ceases to amaze me.