The Digital Analogy
Computers are only prostheses, they no more do calculations than clocks tell the time.
Clocks help us to tell the time, but they don’t do it by themselves..
Julia and Sam are talking about the following article:
Analog and digital, continuous and discrete
In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters“
Someone once tried to convince me the distinction doesn’t even make sense!
Ha, well, 😁 computationally it does, but perhaps it is better to speak of 🌍 discrete and continuous
Ok, now I’m even more confused …
Well, think of a analog and digital watches: both tell the same time, but in a different format
Sure, so you mean there is no difference?
I didn’t say that, but perhaps that they simply measure time in different ways, it is not time which is analog or digital, but the watch
Ah, ok. So in the case of information processing, it is not the brain or the computer that is analog or digital, but how we measure and describe it?
That’s exactly what I mean! We can describe a neuron in different ways and then compare it to a circuit or a flipflop.
So there is a similarity in the description, but not necessarily in the thing you are describing? 🤔
That starts to sound very philosophical and abstract, but, yes, indeed. We can describe them in the same way.
So what did you mean with discrete and continuous?
Both brains and computers work with electricity, but in a computer the voltages are tightly controlled and used in a digital way: ones and zeroes
In a brain the voltage can vary continuously, but sometimes triggers a neuron to “fire”, and up to a point we can treat that as a “one” too
So continuous means that we measure what is happening as close as possible, discrete that we just count the neurons that fire
Aha, so by treating them as discrete units, we can then treat them as digital in our computational model 😊
Precisely! We’re not trying to copy the brain at all, only what we think is informationally relevant.
But Cho will tell you we are also ignoring a lot of stuff that happens in the brain to make that possible
And that we don’t really know which bits and pieces are relevant for the brain as a whole
Yep, I can tell you exactly how information flows through a computer or even a network, but we can’t trace it in the brain
Because in the brain medium and message, 🌍 vehicle and content aren’t clearly distinguishable.
So we can’t point at the brain and say “this process right here is this or that law of thought”. I think I get it!
Happy to have been of assistance!
Thank you so much! I’ll report back to John now
… Continue reading our conversations that are posted every Saturday …
Total posts on the argument
Human Intelligence: Copy / Paste (Part 2/10)
Natural Born Computers (Part 3/10)
In this house we obey the laws of thought! (Part 6/10)
Don’t know much about history, don’t know much psychology (Part 7/10)
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