Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sparse Connectivity

Seung argues in his book on the Connectome that the theory that the brain is like a white sheet of paper or tabula rasa and has unlimited potential for connections is wrong. The "assumption of all-to-all connectivity is flagrantly wrong. The brain is actually at the opposite extreme of sparse connectivity. Only a tiny fraction of all possible connections actually exists" (p. 86).

I believe that the same should hold for a secondary or external Connectome. It should do with a limited number of connections. Overconnection creates more problems than it solves. The connections provide a potential for knowledge and do not constitute knowledge itself. More is not always better.

Seung also argues that synapse creation is a random process and that there is a process in the brain that resembles the "survival of the fittest for synapses" (88). Some connections get stronger over time, other get weaker. This is what Luhmann predicted for his own Zettelkasten, and this is what I have experienced with my version of it during the last ten years or so.

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