Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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Brain Training - new Commercial Slogans for simulation, simulators, data analysis, data science, sports practise, training, self-improvement, exercise, learning, thinking, observing, concentration etc. which are all "brain training"

A comment of mine on the topic of the marketing of the so called "Brain training" after an article at "Horizon Magazine"

This edition is a slightly extended version of the one I left there.

Neuroscience terminology applied to make simulation technologies more marketable?
That is putting of the neuroscience/Broadmann-areas-maps etc. terms' into otherwise obvious stuff.

Every activity, involving brain, is "brain training", especially when top-down processing is in charge, when the executive functions are actively searching for best solutions or are pushing the cognition to its limits - thinking about new, different, better decisions.

Thus, the players practising kicks and shots to a goal keeper, passes (circles, triangles), technique exercises - juggling with a ball (soccer players); tennis or modern dance - speed, balance, full-body coordination and eye-body-limbs-to-ball coordination and synchronization, speed of own body and the target estimation and precision of the estimation, anticipiation of future plans and actions - etc. etc.... are performing "brain training".

In all such exercises they are doing "brain training" and are improving the "brain zones involved in these activities" etc., that's what practise is for.

For example you train for fine motor-control of the feed and legs with a ball by free-style juggling. Also, if you do possess good technique, agility, speed of reaction, precision of the force, direction and trajectory of motions etc. that shows in your "automatic" ability to keep the ball from touching the ground, in precise shots to the goal, precise short or long-distane passes etc.

Muscles training is different
The muscles need to contract and to get challenged in order to grow and to develop endurance, the brain also need to "contract" and to be stimulated, in order to learn coordination and planning, but the real world activities give these stimulations already, packed together.

Simulatons and simulators
For pilots, drivers etc., besides the real world "full-brain" field-training, there are *simulations*, *simulators* and slow, offline observations and analysis of records - for example of car or aircraft incidents and other disasters.

Drivers and pilots, also soccer players, the coaches and the analysers of all sports go through such videos, data logs etc. in order to understand, to learn, to be prepared, to replay the settings in the following practice session, to try it etc.

Therefore special technologies offering magical boosts are not needed for that, unlike with the fitness and body-building training requiring specific muscle activations, unless if these novel technologies are presented as improved *simulators* and analysers (that is - not that revolutionary as advertised), for fun (another simulator, game, fun), or just for making money - if you're smarter than your customers and you want and can make money out of their desire to be "fancy" and "modern".

Another application would be if you aim at injecting electrodes in the brain or to apply magnetic-field stimulation etc. which could really make a difference, because it could significantly change or boost the specific neural activity in a different, non-conventional way.

However in sports that'd be a kind of "brain doping" and yet another money-making nonsense.

Why nonsense?

Because machines and simulations will always be better than humans. They could be perfect, and "improving humans" in order to be "better sportsman", to achieve higher results (no matter how) is a bit like hiring strong men to dig holes, instead of just using a mechanical excavator.
If you aim for "perfect" or "best" - you just remove the humans from the equation.

The flesh-and-blood players could be replaced with computer simulations.
The viewers should watch them like watching or playing the computer games of "PES" or "FIFA".

The simulated players could play perfectly, they could kick the ball with the exact speed, direction, top-spin, lateral-spin and timing, up to 0.00000001 seconds and 0.00006 Nm/s.

The different players could synchronize their tactical directions and behavior so precisely and masterfully, like if the humans had telepathy capabilities and could reason and make projections in the future at a 1000 times higher rate than in ordinary settings etc.

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