Jeff Hawkins, author of the bestseller On Intelligence tells us about his latest research into how the neocortex produces intelligence. He proposes an exciting new model that could change the way we imagine cortical function.Read More
In his new book, Embodied Cognition, Dr. Lawrence Shapiro provides a balanced introduction to embodied cognition's attempts to challenge standard cognitive science. His interview in Episode 73 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of a few of his book's key ideas. It also continues our ongoing exploration of the role of embodiment.
How to get this episode:
- BSP 25: Embodied Artificial Intelligence with Dr. Rolf Pfeifer.
- BSP 36: Introduction to Embodied Cognition with Dr. Art Glenberg.
- BSP 58: "Extended Mind" with philosopher Alva Noë.
- BSP 66: Computational cognitive science with Dr. Randy Gallistel.
Some scientists mentioned in this episode:
- Lawrence Shapiro (University of Wisconsin).
- James J Gibson: founder of ecological psychology and the theory of affordances.
- Jerry Fodor: a proponent of standard cognitive science.
- Noam Chomsky: linguist who greatly influenced standard cognitive science.
- Rodney Brooks (MIT): pioneer of embodied artificial intelligence.
- Rolf Pfeifer: embodied AI (interviewed in BSP 25).
- Art Glenberg: discussed embodied cognition in BSP 36.
- Andy Clark: along with David Chalmers he has proposed the idea of "extended mind".
- Alva Noë: philosopher intervied in BSP 58.
- Randy Gallistel: discussed the computational approach to cognitive science in BSP 66.
- Embodied Cognition, by Lawrence Shapiro.
- Radical Embodied Cognitive Science, by Anthony Chemero.
- How the Body Shapes the Way We Think: A New View of Intelligence, by Rolf Pfeifer and Josh C. Bongard.
- Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness, by Alva Noë.
- Memory and the Computational Brain: Why Cognitive Science will Transform Neuroscience, by C. R. Gallistel and Adam Philip King.
- Held, R. Hien, A. (1963) "Movement-Produced Simulation in the Development of Visually Guided Behavior," Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology 56: 872-6. (Discussion)
- Brooks, R. (1991) "New Approaches to Robotics," Science 253: 1227-32.
- Brooks, R. (1991) "Intelligence without Representation," Artificial Intelligence 47: 139-59.
- Clark, A. and Chalmer, D. (1998) "The Extended Mind." Analysis 58: 7-19.
- Glenberg, A. and Kaschak, M. (2002) "Grounding Lanquage in Action," Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 9: 558-65.
- Ehrlich, S., Levine, S., and Golden-Meadows, S. (2006) "The Importance of Gesture in Children's Spatial Reasoning," Developmental Psychology 42: 1259-68.
- Thelan, E. and Smith,L. (1994) A Dynamical Systems Approach to the Development of Cognition and Action (Cambridge: MIT Press).
- See Episode Transcript for additional references.
- Join the discussion of this episode in our new Discussion Group at Goodreads.com.
- Subscribe to the Brain Science Podcast newsletter to get detailed show notes for every episode.
- The next episode of the Brain Science Podcast will be an interview with Dr. Olaf Sporns, author of Networks of the Brain. I am also hoping to interview Antonio Damasio later this spring.
- The Brain Science Podcast application is now available for iPhone, iPad Touch, and Android Devices.
- Please listen to my other podcast Books and Ideas, which comes out in the alternate months between episodes of this podcast.
- I will be giving a live talk in London, UK on May 11. Visit the London Skeptics in the Pub website for more details, or send me email.
- For more science podcasts visit http://sciencepodcasters.org.
- Follow me on Twitter or join the Brain Science Podcast Fan Page on Facebook.
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Episode 53 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will, by Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown. This book challenges the widespread fear that neuroscience is revealing an explanation of the human mind that concludes that moral responsibility and free will are illusions created by our brains.
Instead, the authors argue that the problem is the assumption that a physicalistic/materialistic model of the mind must also be reductionist (a viewpoint that all causes are bottom-up). In this podcast I discuss their arguments against causal reductionism and for a dynamic systems model. We also discuss why we need to avoid brain-body dualism and recognize that our mind is more than just what our brain does. The key to preserving our intuitive sense of our selves as free agents capable of reason, moral responsibility, and free will is that the dynamic systems approach allows top-down causation, without resorting to any supernatural causes or breaking any of the know laws of the physical universe. This is a complex topic, but I present a concise overview of the book's key ideas.
How to get this episode:
Additional Show Notes
- Books and Ideas #12 ("The Myth of Free Will")
- Alice Juarrero, Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System.
- Terence Deacon, The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain.
- Terrence Deacon, "Three Levels of Emergent PHenomena," in Nancy Murphy and William R. Stoeger (eds.) Evolution, and Emergence: Systems, Organisms, Persons (OUP 2007) ch 4.
- Alwyn Scott, "The Development of Nonlinear Science", Revista del Nuovo Cimento, 27/10-11 (2004) 1-115.
- Roger W. Sperry, "Psychology's Mentalist Paradigm and the Religion/Science Tension," American Psychologist, 43/8 (1988), 607-13.
- Donald T. Campbell, "'Downward Causation' in Hierarchically Organized Biological Systems." in F. J. Ayala and T. Dobzhansky (eds.) Studies in the Philosophy of Biology 179-186.
- Steven Johnson, Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
- Robert Van Gulick, "Who's in Charge Here? And Whose Doing All the Work?"In Heil and Mele (eds.) Mental Causation, 233-56.
- George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought.
- Ludwig Wiggenstein, Philosophical Investigations.
Other scientists mentioned in the episode:
- Antonio Damasio: Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain.
- Arthur Glenberg: interviewed in Episode 36.
- Rolf Pfeifer: interviewed in Episode 25.
- Leslie Brothers, Friday's Footprint: How Society Shapes the Human Mind.
- Raymond Gibbs, Embodiment and Cognitive Science.
- Andy Clark, Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again.
- Gerald M.Edelmanand Guilo Tononi, A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination.
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Episode 38 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Jeff Hawkins, author of On Intelligence. Hawkins is well-known for founding Palm Computing and Handspring. He invented the Grafitti handwriting recognition system and helped develop the Palm Trio SmartPhone. Since he published his bestseller On Intelligence, he has devoted his work to his passion for neuroscience. His current company, Numenta, is developing software that models the hierarchical structure of the neocortex. In this interview we talk about the ideas in Hawkins book and how he is applying them to develop a computer model of cortical function. This is a follow-up to Episode 2, which first aired in December of 2006.
How to get this episode:
Links and References:
- Jeff Hawkins: Wikipedia entry
- On Intelligence, by Jeff Hawkins with Sandra Blakeslee.http://www.onintelligence.org.
- Dileep George: co-founder of Numenta and principal architect of the first prototype implementing the hierarchical temporal memory system (HTM) patterned after the human neocortex.
Vernon Montcastle: pioneer who proposed that all parts of the brain's cortex work the same way.
- Vernon Mountcastle (1978), "An Organizing Principle for Cerebral Function: The Unit Model and the Distributed System", The Mindful Brain (Gerald M. Edelman and Vernon B. Mountcastle, eds.) Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (Please let me know if you find this paper on-line!)
- Perceptual Neuroscience: The Cerebral Cortex, by Vernon B. Mountcastle. This 1998 is recommended by Jeff Hawkins, especially for those interested in the technical details of cortical function.
Redwood Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience (UC-Berkeley) founded by Jeff Hawkins.
Numenta: company website includes extensive educational information about hierarchical temporal memory system (HTM). The company's focus is practical implementation of HTM Theory.
Donations and Subscriptions are appreciated
Brains Matter is a podcast about science from Australia. It was one of the shows on my ill-fated Podango™ Science channel, and it is now one of the charter members of SCIENCEPODCASTERS.ORG. Unfortunately, I don't have a chance to listen to it on a regular basis, but I want to recommend the most recent episode, which is a discussion of robotics in history and in fiction. The guest is Adam Parker, who is studying for a PhD in Robotics in Australia. He has a surprising knowledge of the history of the field and brings that perspective to the conversation . I think that that is one of the things that makes the interview interesting. This is not a technical conversation, but one that everyone can enjoy. As I said on Digg™, if you liked Blade Runner, you will enjoy this interview.
You can read more at Mind Matters: Neuroscience, Psychology, Psychiatry, and More.
It has been a while since I read Edelman's book. Edelman won the Nobel Prize in 1972 for important discoveries about the structure of antibodies, but he has devoted the last several decades to studying neuroscience. His two most well-known contributions are his theory of so-called 'neural Darwinism,' and his study of the importance of redundancy and feedback loops within the brain. He has written quite a few books on the subject including, Wider Than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness (2005).
Second Nature is Edelman's attempt to address some of the philosophical issues about consciousness, while Wider than the Sky introduces some of his theories about how the brain generates consciousness.
This is a point I have emphasized repeatedly. Inman observes that approaches liked embodied artificial intelligence (which we discussed with Rolf Pfeifer in Episode 25) are really based on a different philosophy of mind that "good old-fashioned AI."
His paper, Philosophy of Mind Using a Screwdriver, is available as a PDF.
Jeff Hawkins was the co-founder of Palm, Inc. and he is author of On Intelligence, which was discussed in the Brain Science Podcast Episode 2.
How the Body Shapes the Way We Think, by Rolf Pfeifer and Josh Bongard
Brain Science Podcast Episode 25 is an interview of author Rolf Pfeifer, director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich. The focus of our conversation was the importance of embodiment. Brains (and intelligence) cannot be understood separate from their interaction with the body and the physical world. Pfeifer explains how this realization has led the field of artificial intelligence away from a pure computational approach to one he calls embodied artificial intelligence. His interview is spiced with numerous examples that demonstrate why this approach is relevant to those of us who are interested in the human brain.
How to get this episode:
- A brief overview of artificial intelligence.
- Introduction to biorobotics.
- Why artificial intelligence and biorobotics are relevant to understand the brain.
- The meaning of complexity and emergence.
- Why the close coupling of the sensory and motor systems is essential to intelligence.
- Applying design principles to understanding intelligence.
- Numerous examples make these potentially intimidating topics accessible to all listeners.
- I also introduced a new way for listeners to support the Brain Science Podcast
Related episodes of the Brain Science Podcast:
- BSP #2 On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins (listen to Episode 2) - this brief review does not get into Hawkin's discussion of the problems with traditional artificial intelligence, but I highly recommend On Intelligence for more on the subject.
- BSP #15 Interview with Dr. Read Montague (listen to episode 15).
- Dr. Montague introduces the computational theory of mind, which is a different way of approaching some of the problems I discussed with Dr. Pfeifer.
Scientists mentioned in the podcast:
- 1986 published the paper that launched the embodied approach to artificial intelligence, Brooks, R.A. (1986). A robust layered control system for a mobile robot. IEEE Journal of Robotics and Automation, 2(1): 14–23.
Books by Rodney Brooks:
- Flesh and Machines: How Robots will Change US.
- Cambrian Intelligence: The Early History of the New AI.
- Interview on Talking Robots podcast (download mp3).
- Gerald M.Edelman, MD, PhD.
- won the Nobel Prize in 1972 for work in understanding the structures of antibodies.
- developed a theory know as Neural Darwinism, which he describes in several books including Wider Than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness.
- was just interviewed on Talking Robots (November 23, 2007).
Where to learn more about Pfeifer's work:
- his home page.
- Pfeifer's interview on Talking Robots (Download mp3).
- Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich.
- How the Body Shapes the Way We Think: a new view of Intelligence (2007), Rolf Pfeifer and Josh Bongard.
- Understanding Intelligence (1999), Rolf Pfeifer and Christian Scheier.
Talking Robots from the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, EPFL, Switzerland Talking Robots "is a podcast featuring interviews with high-profile professionals in robotics and artificial intelligence for an inside view on the science, technology, and business of intelligent robotics" (description quoted from the website). The host and project director is Dario Floreano , Director of the School of Engineering at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Thanks to David Gordan, one of my Brain Science Podcast listeners, for letting me know about this really fascinating podcast produced in Switzerland. I think it will be of interest to those of you interested in the human brain as well people interested in computers and especially artificial intelligence. I have only listened to a couple of episodes so far, but I have been amazed to learn how far this field has come.
I first reviewed On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins for The Sci Phi Show. I am including that review here. Also in this episode, I consider some of the topics I hope to discuss in future episodes. Besides intelligence, we will be considering consciousness, emotions and feelings, the role of vision in brain research, and what we can learn from people with brain damage and memory.
Please send me email or leave comments suggesting what topics you want to here about.
How to get this episode:
- Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
- Buy BSP 1-10 (zip file of mp3 files)
- Transcripts: BSP 1-14
- New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE. All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free. See the individual show notes for links the audio files.