Tuesday, June 28, 2005

New Cornell study suggests that mental processing is continuous, not like a computer





"'For decades, the cognitive and neural sciences have treated mental processes as though they involved passing discrete packets of information in a strictly feed-forward fashion from one cognitive module to the next or in a string of individuated binary symbols -- like a digital computer,' said Spivey. 'More recently, however, a growing number of studies, such as ours, support dynamical-systems approaches to the mind. In this model, perception and cognition are mathematically described as a continuous trajectory through a high-dimensional mental space; the neural activation patterns flow back and forth to produce nonlinear, self-organized, emergent properties -- like a biological organism.'"

The popular conception of "brain-as-computer" is a nice metaphor -- even a useful one -- but it's inherently limiting. Personally, I find this "new" model much more in keeping with conscious experience as well as the brain's role as a quantum system.

Related:

Space station gets HAL-like computer

"Clarissa's software runs on a laptop and astronauts interact with it using a headset, which helps screen out noise from the station. The program 'listens' to everything astronauts say and analyses what to do in response using a 'command grammar' of 75 commands based on a vocabulary of 260 words."

15 comments:

razorsmile said...

Space station gets HAL-like computer

Not even close.

razorsmile said...

... the neural activation patterns flow back and forth to produce nonlinear, self-organized, emergent properties -- like a biological organism.'"

The popular conception of "brain-as-computer" is a nice metaphor -- even a useful one -- but it's inherently limiting.


I haven't given the matter addressed in the second paragraph above much thought - I tend to just accept it as given - but I think you're right.

That said, I expect we'll be looking into making computers act more like brains, until they can be " ... nonlinear, self-organized, emergent ..."

I wonder, would AIs be incapable of causing the observer effect? Hmm.

W.M. Bear said...

Interesting that our idea of a truly intelligent, sentient computer (HAL) is one that starts murdering people.

Mac said...

HAL only killed because his secrecy-bent programmers gave him conflicting orders that drove him to a breakdown. I think HAL is an expression of human nature, not AI. But I know what you mean.

tablet pc said...

Well, I don't actually consider this is likely to have success.

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