Your brain is an internet

The brain has been compared to a plumbing system, a watch, a computer and now the internet.

Metaphors are useful in framing our understating of one phenomena in terms of another. A new book by Daniel Graham argues that the internet is a more useful metaphor for the brain than a computer.

Computers have become a dominant metaphor for how our brains work, we ‘store’ and ‘retrieve’ memories, we try to ‘reboot’ or ‘upgrade’ our minds. This way of thinking has been helpful but has limitation. The process has gone two ways: the brain has been used to inspire how we program computers. Neural networks are based on a simple conception of how neurons in the brain work and have been hugely successful.

But perhaps the internet, a loosely connected network of independent components, is a better way to think of our brain, and allows us to get insights into why we can’t always understand why we do what we do.

🛎️ Why this matters: If your brain is an internet, how do you filter spam?

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