Artificial Intelligence

Developing Intelligence

Category archives for Artificial Intelligence

How does the human brain construct intelligent behavior? Computational models have proposed several mechanisms to accomplish this: the most well known is “Hebbian learning,” a process mathematically similar to both principal components analysis and Bayesian statistics. But other neural learning algorithms must exist – how else could the brain disentangle mere correlations from true causation?…

Phil Stearns has constructed a 45 “neuron” network of electronic parts which responds to lights and tones with a (rather cute) squealing sound. A picture of the components for this strange device: Each “neuron” consisted of analog electronics corresponding to each of 6 functions: Input, Summing, Threshold, “Offset,” “Output,” and “Structure” (not sure about those…

Filtering Perception To Save Memory

One of the bottlenecks in human memory capacity is its “filtering efficiency” – irrelevant information in memory only detracts from an already-constrained memory span. New work by McNab & Klingberg images the neural structure directly responsible for such filtering, and shows it can predict behavioral measures of memory span. Impressively, the location of this “memory…

The world wide web can be understood as a giant matrix of associations (links) between various nodes (web pages). At an abstract level, this is similar to human memory, consisting of a matrix of associations (learned relationships, or neuronal connections) between various nodes (memories, or the distributed representations constituting them). In the new issue of…

Speech recognition remains a daunting challenge for computer programmers partly because the continuous speech stream is highly under-determined. For example take coarticulation, which refers to the fact that the auditory frequencies corresponding to a given letter are strongly influenced by the letters both preceding and following it – sometimes interpreted to mean that there is…

A lack of clear definitions for terms like “intelligence” and “consciousness” plagues any serious discussion of those concepts. A recent article by Seth, Baars & Edelman argues for a core set of 17 properties that are characteristic of consciousness, and could be used in the “diagnosis” of consciousness in humans and other animals. Property 1:…

Among nature’s most impressive feats of engineering is the remarkably flexible and self-optimizing quality of human cognition. People seem to dynamically determine whether speed or accuracy is of utmost importance in a certain task, or whether they should continue with a current approach or begin anew with another, or whether they should rely on logic…

Very early in the history of artificial intelligence research, it was apparent that cognitive agents needed to be able to maximize reward by changing their behavior. But this leads to a “credit-assignment” problem: how does the agent know which of its actions led to the reward? An early solution was to select the behavior with…

“To understand ourselves, we must embrace the alien.” – PZ Meyers One difficulty in understanding consciousness is the fact that we know of only one species that certainly possesses it: humans. A new article by Jennifer Mather suggests that octopi may also possess consciousness, despite the vastly different architecture of their brain. If two very…

“A good metaphor is something even the police should keep an eye on.” – G.C. Lichtenberg Although the brain-computer metaphor has served cognitive psychology well, research in cognitive neuroscience has revealed many important differences between brains and computers. Appreciating these differences may be crucial to understanding the mechanisms of neural information processing, and ultimately for…