Google’s algorithms somehow know how to find needles in haystacks. Cyberspace is gigantic and it seems to only take milliseconds to find any little random tidbit of information you might be looking for. In fact, this search finds 378,000 results in 0.20 seconds or less [supercalifragilisticexpialidocious].
Just like the Internet, the brain is a very complicated network. Although the brain is still quite poorly understood, it is very probably that it is significantly more complex than the Internet network of today. Google contains a detailed and efficient map of the Internet, which allows it to quickly zip you along the pathways to your desired destination.
The brain, on the other hand, has a network that might not be so efficient… but it works and works pretty well for our environment. In particular, we store many memories over our lifetime, but we don’t have a font-and-center realization of each and every memory and every point in time. We are able to access certain memories when needed, although we certainly find that having special cues can help bring about certain memories on command.
So, maybe Google could invest in a neuroprosthetic computer chip hat first maps the neural connections in our brain and then takes cues to help us retrieve specific memory information when needed.
The network mapping process is certainly not trivial. Research in this area is vital, and is the key component to furthering the understanding of brain function. But, once the map is known, then Google-type algorithms might be particularly useful for traveling the network’s paths to find information we need … in milliseconds.
Gary Marcus, professor of psychology at New York University, wrote a very interesting review in The New York Times that further explores this idea…
“Total Recall” by Gary Marcus :: The New York Times Idea Lab :: April 13, 2008 :: [ READ ]