Monday, April 17, 2006

Brain, Memories, Intelligence (and Google)

Jurvetson wrote in his blog "“The brain does not ‘compute’ the answers to problems; it retrieves the answers from memory… The entire cortex is a memory system. It isn’t a computer at all"
Jurvetson quotes Jeff Hawkins. Hawkins argues that the cortex stores a temporal sequence of patterns and recalls them auto-associatively. This framework explains the broad synaptic connectivity and nested feedback loops seen in the cortex and referred to in my earlier posts on synaesthesia and Jimi Hendrix chord, for example.

This is a memory-prediction (rather than "computation-centric behavior") framework for intelligence. The 30 billion neurons in the neocortex provide memories. These memory-based models continuously make low-level predictions in parallel across all of our senses.

While reading Jurvetson, I hear an other voice explaning this same "dangerous idea". This voice belongs to V.S. Ramachandran director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and the professor of psychology and neuroscience, at the University of California, San Diego. Rama's "dangerous if true idea" was "what Francis Crick referred to as "the astonishing hypothesis"; the notion that "our conscious experience and sense of self is based entirely on the activity of a hundred billion bits of jelly — the neurons that constitute the brain.

Now, says Jurvetson using the voice of Jeff Hawkins, what this jelly does, is associating memories.

Some people working with intelligent machines, once and while, refer to Alain Turing who in 1950's introduced the Turing test as a way of operationalizing a test of intelligent behavior and recognizing intelligent machines. Many of the ICT-professionals still believe and like to think that computing is, first of all logic, and it really is the LOGIC, that these intelligent humans with their intelligent machines are bringing in when they enhance the business processes with computers.

Therefore it is interesting to read what Jurvetson writes after his visit to Jeff Hawkins. Did you know that "we are entering an era for complex chips where almost all transistors manufactured are memory, not logic", or, "in the next six years, 90% of all logic chip area will actually be memory".
Read your self!

I can see a new internet business arising with companies like Google and Amazon (Mechanical Turk) leading. In this internet business you sell memories and associations based on these.

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