The Internet and Your Brain Are More Alike Than You Think

The Internet and Your Brain Are More Alike Than You Think

Published By: Salk News, 2/9/2017

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Summary

Research from the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences suggests that an algorithm used for managing the flow of information on the Internet may also be at work in the human brain. This kind of insight could improve our understanding of neural networks in the brain, including how learning disabilities work.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of Article: 14.1

Extended Discussion Questions

  • Do you think it is a coincidence that the way computers handle information shares similarities with the human brain? Why or why not?
  • Can you think of other examples of how studying computers, and the ways they share information with each other, could lead to progress in neuroscience? In other fields?
  • Conversely, do you think better understanding the human brain could lead to new innovations in computing? How? (Example to start, if you’ve discussed them: Why do you think artificial neural networks are called “neural nets”?)
  • Since you’ve been learning about how computers and computer programs work, has there been a time when thinking about computers has given you a new way to look at something else in the world? (Example to start: Thinking of repeated processes in terms of algorithms.)

Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework

Global Impact Learning Objectives:

  • LO 7.2.1 Explain how computing has impacted innovations in other fields.

Other CSP Big Ideas:

  • Idea 4 Algorithms
  • Idea 6 The Internet

Banner Image:Network Visualization – Violet – Offset Crop“, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0.

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