How We’re Mimicking the Brain to Build Smarter Technology


Unravelling the mysteries of the human brain has been a long-standing goal for scientists and researchers alike. The complexity of the brain has inspired numerous inventions that attempt to replicate its function. One such invention is Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs), designed to mirror the structure and function of Biological Neural Networks (BNNs).

  • ANNs are like little brains, with multiple layers of artificial neurons that hierarchically process information. 
  • These artificial neurons are inspired by the behavior of real neurons in the brain, and their mathematical models simulate how neurons in the cortex function. As a result, ANNs have been created to recognize patterns and perform cognitive tasks like their biological counterparts.
  • The learning algorithms used in ANNs have also been modelled on biological learning mechanisms. For instance, the Hebbian learning algorithm is based on the idea that neurons that fire together wire together, and the reinforcement learning algorithm is based on the reward and punishment mechanism that exists in the brain. These algorithms enable the ANNs to learn and adapt to new information over time, improving their performance.
  • In addition to their general structure and learning algorithms, ANNs have specialized networks like Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) and Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) designed for specific tasks like image recognition and sequence processing. 
  • These networks are based on the receptive fields present in the visual cortex and how BNNs process information over time.
  • Despite differences between ANNs and BNNs, the development of ANNs has been greatly influenced by understanding how the brain processes information. 
  • As our knowledge of the brain continues to expand, ANNs are poised to become even more powerful and sophisticated.

The creation of ANNs has been heavily influenced by our understanding of BNNs, leading to the development of ANNs capable of performing complex cognitive tasks. Though there are differences between ANNs and BNNs, the former has significantly benefited from our understanding of the latter. With the ever-growing knowledge of the brain and its workings, ANNs will only become more advanced and powerful.

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