Thursday, October 27, 2005

Proving the MPT theory

Many thanks to Christof Koch for a great article. He saved the best for last. Here's an excerpt from the final paragraph of The Movie in Your Head.

If, in fact, changing coalitions of larger neuron groups are the neuronal correlates of consciousness, our state-of-the-art research techniques are inadequate to follow this process. Our methods either cover large regions of the brain at a crude temporal resolution (such as fMRI, which tracks sluggish power consumption at time-scales of seconds), or we register precisely (within one thousandth of a second) the firing rate of one or a handful of neurons out of billions (microelectrode recording). We need fine-grained instruments that cover all of the brain to get a picture of how widely scattered groups of thousands of neurons work together.

Koch has provided here a critical piece of information for me. Science is not going to be able to prove my theory, even with its most state-of-the-art research techniques. Now I understand why so few in the scientific community are embracing Hawkins. If there's no way for them to prove a theory it's not very interesting. But if science can't prove a theory correct, isn't it destined for the speculation scrap heap? Not in this case.

What's going to prove the MPT theory correct is a working model, a functional AI.
Hawkins and his team at Numenta are even now working feverishly on such a model, as undoubtedly are other labs and individuals. The first proof is going to stun the world. It will be followed by additional proofs. In this way will the frames-in-a-film theory of consciousness be proven. Not by scientists, but by technologists.


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