The Computational Horn

A kindergarten explanation of the brain (and a tribute to MS paint)


The brain is composed out of small creatures which we call “neurons”.

The neurons look like fish:

Other neurons are connected to a neuron by it’s tail (the left side of the drawing) and tell him “shoot!” or “don’t shoot!”.

The neuron listen to them all and decide whether or not to shoot (He shoots from his “mouth “— in the right side of the drawing).

His “shot” is telling other neurons to shoot or not the shoot.

Recognizing a truck

When we cross the road, we look to the right and to the left looking for cars. Imagine that we see a truck.

The fact that we can recognize a truck means that there’s a neuron inside our brain that shoots when we see a truck — A truck neuron.

Who tells the truck neuron to shoot?

In this example - the wheels neuron, the truck shape neuron and the road neuron are telling the truck neuron the shoot.

If we continue with asking “Who tells the ____ neuron to shoot?”, We’ll eventually end up in the eye!

A computational horn, from the eye retina (like computer pixels) to the Truck neuron.

Notice the shape of this system, it looks like a horn — The computational horn:

The computational horn wide side is connected to the real world while the narrow side represent the world in the most abstract/useful manner.

Computational horns in the brain

There are many computational horns in the brain.

Each sensory input is connected to a horn. For example — from the ear to recognizing the noise of glass breaking.

The horns merge at some point.

The actions computational horn

Not only sensors are connected to horns, the muscles are connected to a horn as well. I’ll call this horn “the actions horn”.

The wide part of the actions horn are the muscles while the narrow part represent the abstract of actions — Will, Decisions, etc.

A sketch of the brain:

A sketch of the brain composed out of computational horns