Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Movie in Your Head

It just occurred to me that this article in the latest issue of Scientific American Mind - I saw it about a week ago while magazine surfing at Barnes & Noble - might have been at least partially inspired by my article at Science and Consciousness Review. The author, Christof Koch, is on the Editorial Board at SCR.

Whether or not such inspiration took place, it's significant that a scientist of Koch's caliber is considering the movie theater metaphor as an explanatory device. This is one of my main upgrades to Baars' theater model. The mind is more like a movie theater than a live stage theater - even down to the projection room, which I'll speculate on in the future. Memories are like the frames in film; they're captured as temporal units of perception and stored in sequences for subsequent auto-associative recall. The sequences are held together by gap junctions formed as a consequence of synchronous neural firing (gamma synchrony, Hebbian learning), which always seems to accompany conscious activity. Hawkins' theory, augmented by Antanitus', makes it possible to understand how it all works. That's what my MPT model is about, pointing out this theoretical potential.

In On Intelligence, Hawkins mentions Koch as one of the few scientists willing to tackle consciousness, and one of the team that discovered the Bill Clinton neuron phenomenon, which seems to offer strong evidence for Hawkins' hierarchical regions concept of neocortical memory. However, I haven't read anything Koch has said about Hawkins' ideas anywhere on the Web. In fact, it seems the scientific community is content to wait until Hawkins proves his theory with a functional AI before offering its opinion.

I'll comment on Koch's article itself in a future post.


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