Hope you slept well last night, and hope your dreams were happy ones – or at least really weird ones.
Because it turns out there may be a good reason for our dreams going way off the usual path.
We don’t know for sure why dreaming is a thing at all, but a neuroscience researcher at Tufts University, Erik Hoel, has an idea that might help explain them.
It’s called the overfitted brain hypothesis, and it’s based on something that happens with artificial intelligence.
As AI systems learn, they sometimes get stuck in its own experiences.
They become so familiar with what they knows they can’t really think outside it.
Data scientists then have to introduce something unexpected into the data so the AI can “think” more broadly.
Hoel wondered if our brains work the same way.
Maybe they get stuck on the lived experiences we have and need a push to get outside of it.
So, instead of dreams that just duplicate what we already see, hear and know, we have dreams where we’re flying, or discovering hidden rooms that aren’t actually in our homes, or playing Serena Williams at Wimbledon in front of an audience of robotic clones of Charles Grodin (RIP).
Hoel says this may also shed light on why humans love stories so much, that movies, TV shows or novels may actually serve as artificial dreams.
As he puts it, “Life is boring sometimes. Dreams are there to keep you from becoming too fitted to the model of the world.”
There is a new book out with a title that translates to “Quiet Houses,” which is the term photographer Marco Volken uses to describe a certain type of building in the Alps.
They’re essentially bathrooms in the mountains!
Some are incredibly scenic and quite lovely, and others are jaw-droppers, like the one marked “Helmut’s Thron.”
A new book documenting the toilets of the Alps. (Present and Correct)