Updated: Aug 21, 2018
The term neural network was traditionally used to refer to a network or circuits of neurons
Let us see a very simple illustration of how a neuron works. Our sense organs interact with the outside world. They relay information to the neurons. The neurons get activated and produces a response e.g. laughter as a response. Of course, in reality, it is not just a single
neuron which does all this. There is a big parallel interconnected network of neurons. The sense organs relay information to the lowest layer of neurons.
Some of these neurons may fire in response to this information and in turn relay information to other neurons they are connected to. These other neurons may also fire and the process continues.
An average human brain has around 10^11 (100 billion) neurons!
This massively parallel network also ensures that there is division of work. Each neuron may perform a certain role or respond to a certain stimulus.
The neurons in the brain are arranged in a hierarchy. One can illustrate this with the help of
visual cortex which a part of the brain and deals with processing visual information. Starting from the retina, the information is relayed to several layers (follow the arrows). One can observe that the layers V 1, V 2 to AIT form a hierarchy (from identifying simple visual forms to high level objects).
This is an overly simplified explanation of how the brain works.
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