Are you left brained or right brained ? It’s a well-known fact that the left brain is responsible for analytical and logical skills. On the other hand, the right brain is the creative, artistic personality that we have. But there is no such thing as you are being right or left brained. Because the brain works holistically. You may be analyzing a plan or maybe painting a picture. When you do so, both the hemispheres of brain light up. You really can’t classify that a specific action is responsible because of so and so part of the brain. Although we have identified specific portions of the brain responsible for various actions that we commit, you cannot pin the operation to just one part of the brain. The brain works as an ensemble, not as a soloist. The right cannot live without the left and vice-versa. Although there is a propensity for an action to be related to a part of the brain, it’s not just that area. The decision is made in parallel.

The brain is perhaps the best parallel programming computer that we have on the planet today. Albeit slow, but sure. We still do not understand the specifics of how the brain works – for example how a decision is made or how we feel awe ? The brain is a neural network where 1 neuron may be connected to 10,000 others. A mix of electricity and chemistry is what does the trick. But nobody knows for sure how it works in entirety. We know that neurochemicals like dopamine and serotonin make us feel good. We know that there is nature made cannabis receptor-like cells in the brain, so we really don’t need an external stimulation in order to feel good. There are rishis who have achieved these states by simply altering their chemistry with meditation, yoga etc. The brain seems to be having all that is required in order to live a complete life.

In computer terms, we have CPU’s that act like the brain. However, they are deeply serial in nature. There may be parallel operations inside a CPU, but that is limited. When you run a bunch of these CPU’s in a parallel manner, we get the equivalent of a brain. But these are nowhere near to the extreme parallelism that we see inside our brains. The new precept of artificial intelligence where we work in a neural network like fashion is mimicking the brain. Areas of computing like databases and networks are all adopting the parallel architecture that is needed to scale out. Hadoop, for example, is a parallel database. Earlier the data used to go to the program, and now it’s the other way around. This all means that we are moving towards higher abstractions like what our brain perceives, however, we are just at the tip of the iceberg.

Vision, Natural language processing (NLP), Audio etc are being given as a task to the computer to understand, and they do so at a very rudimentary level. Neural network algorithms help them do this task. A picture for us may be obvious, but for a machine, there is teraflops of information that needs to be crunched, in order to arrive at a conclusion. Google, Microsoft, and other companies already have API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) or simply libraries of functions which does these operations for us. The driverless car is a very good example of AI. People talk about singularity. The day when a machine has as much intelligence as a person. Some say 2029 and other 2038. But will machines be as intelligent as a human being ? I don’t have an answer to that but it’s a thought worth debating.  So those saying that machines are purely left-brained will be in a dilemma, as they will be doing things like writing poetry and painting a picture. And that will be a world worth living…

God Bless !