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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Brain programming

There is nothing more fascinating to me than hearing my husband and his colleagues  when they talk about programming problems. The programming language allows any device capable of responding to such code, to do so fabulous things that make us buying them, looking at them or playing for hours and hours with them, virtually we become addicted to them.

A simple task, as accepting a click on a button or the touch on a tab, involves long chains of operations that allow  to the device to have contact with the user, to do this, developers build more sophisticated sequential chains, linked in logical commands that tell the system what to do, when to do it and what information to show if the user hasn't done something correctly. That is what advertisers call intelligent devices.

Those talks delights me because I can imagine the amount of logical sequences that our brain made from the first moment when it’s build only  by  two cells to the last second when that it is disconnected. Apparently simple tasks, as open your eyes every morning, would involve thousands of lines of code, because they require to tell to the system what muscles are used, patterns of opening, the recognition if eyes are closed, because if they are open obviously cannot have a task that involves opening them, and I know that this sounds so stupid, but motor diseases allow us to recognize that this sequence should be recognized. That task has been attributed to the cerebellum together with the Corpus Callosum, but the script must be written.

As we have two eyes, they must be opened in coordination, and once opened, they will recognize the light, shapes, and sent signals to begin making daily decisions.

If you have observed the decision-making, Bayesian systems and schemes, please add to all this programming language and then you can imagine the thousands of connections that makes the brain every second. Even if this is the  only process, we can say Henry Markram is going to spend years and years building a brain and I hope he can succeed before he died; but the real challenge is not to build sequences, the problem is that these sequences should be adapted to respond to the environment, so are open constantly evolving systems.

Those who only read about studies published in press and little neuroscientific, easily fall into the idea that there is a structure for each action. Ramón y Cajal studied almost every area of the brain, and even in those years, he found that the brain adapts to the needs. Maybe I am an enthusiast of neuro plasticity and in some decades from now, we will find that it is a mistake, but we learn in science and re learn all the time. As well as my friend Irina Pechonkina has  taught me, the true task is not learning, but unlearn to this adaptation. 

The programming tasks that involve making conscious the scripts needed to run a task, in cognition, this is called Metacognition, I explain it in a simple way: this is the ability to tell each small task and sequence to execute an action.

The brain must be set not only the relationship between neurons, but between molecules, genes, and bacterias, it must respond to an environment that does not change only by the climate, but by the type of toys that we use, the words we hear, culture and other circumstances surrounding a system that generates lines infinite sequences that allow us to do tasks that seem simple.

Current studies show that there is the DNA of the DNA, which leads me to remember those years that I worked hard to understand Wittgenstein theories, who spoke about a  language of the language, which called meta language, and when I could understand the concept, someone with an evil tone threw one book on my  table in which Wittgenstein explained the meta-meta language.

Do not think that I have lost the idea that gives rise to this writing, if we return the task of open your eyes in the morning, think that sometimes the eyes open slowly, because recognizing the amount of light in the room, know that it is time to get up, but and if there is a noise that produces a s tate of alert, your eyes will be opened and will seek the source of noise, sometimes open by carefully because we are lying down with the face on the pillow... that sometimes forgets to remove contact lenses, which sucks the moisture from the eye and open them is difficult than usual.

The idea is not to imagine all possible conditions, I am there are N minus 1, but if we think that the scripts are not always clear, as the original order was written, there are many circumstances which must be considered.

Sometimes, colleagues of my husband tell him that he wants to reinvent the wheel, but,in his quest for efficiency he can search  breaking programming commands and get away with it. I wonder if that would be making learning?, and if so, because we must tell everyone how and that he must learn, instead of allowing people to  suit their actions to the environment, because in the end, not always may apply learned sequences.

In this sense, children with neurodevelopmental disorders, teach us that recognize sequences that carry out for tasks and because they carry them out incorrectly, sometimes because they do not recognize the task, or part of the sequence is wrong, and ultimately learn that the goal is the objective, and not the repetition of the error.

I know that it is foolish to say that the brain functions like a computer, but so far, technology has taught devices in a better way, than  many schools have achieved with learners. I don't blame teachers, even curriculum designers by not leaving the box and innovate. In theory you learn from mistakes, but it seems that education, not yet recognized the mistake, so the system continues  sending  signals that something has gone wrong, but let's not forget that children have the right to learn, in their own way, because there is an evolutionary program created for this purpose.

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