Pioneer In Artificial-Intelligence Software Devises New Theory Of Cognition

From Science Daily:

Hechtnielsen_1  A leading expert in artificial intelligence and neural networks, Robert Hecht-Nielsen argues that cognition in humans and many animals occurs in a very different, non-algorithmic and less complex way than has been widely assumed until now. The Hecht-Nielsen theory posits that all aspects of cognition – seeing, hearing, understanding, planning and so on – are carried out using a single type of knowledge (antecedent support) and a single information processing operation called ‘confabulation’ which is carried out between the brain’s cerebral cortex and thalamus. The scientist’s theory hypothesizes that confabulation is the only information processing operation used in cognition. The theory also explains the cognitive mechanism by which behaviors (thoughts and movements) are launched, moment by moment, throughout the day.

So what are the implications of the new theory for software makers? “The character of people working in software, at least those working on cognitive systems, will alter substantially,” said Hecht-Nielsen. “People from the communications department or philosophy will be more useful for building these systems than engineers who know how to program in C or Java. The utility of algorithmic programming in this kind of a pursuit will be marginal, because the new ‘brains’ will be machines with endless amounts of time, that will be able to de-bug endlessly.”

More here. (Thanks to my colleague and friend, Dr. James Rooney for bringing this article to my attention).