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article imageYour brain is like a spam filter - Bayesian Brains

By Thespian     Nov 11, 2006 in Technology
Forget the traditional procedural computer model. Your brain may work much more like the sapm filter on your email client.
How is your brain like a spam filter? Doesn't quite have the same ring as "Why is a raven like a writing desk," does it? Up until know, the common metaphor for the human brain was that of a computer. But compters don't tolerate noise very well at all. Flip a single bit, and computers can crash. On the other hand, brains are constantly awash in "noise" and "random" firings of neurons, pretty much the antithesis of the orderly world of the microprocessor.
This story theorizes that brains are incredibly Baysian in the way they process the world.
"The cortex appears wired at its foundation to run Bayesian computations as efficiently as can be possible," says Pouget. His paper says the uncertainty of the real world is represented by this noise, and the noise itself is in a format that reduces the resources needed to compute it. Anyone familiar with log tables and slide rules knows that while multiplying large numbers is difficult, adding them with log tables is relatively undemanding."
More about Baysain, Brain, Filter, Computation
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