What the Neocortex Does

Harry Erwin herwin at gmu.edu
Wed Aug 2 14:08:49 EST 2000


Sergio Navega <snavega at attglobal.net> wrote:

> Harry Erwin wrote in message <1eeoeeq.1l5du7o1hdv8vwN%herwin at gmu.edu>...
> >I'm beginning to suspect a primary function of the neocortex is the
> >maintenance of a non-symbolic, dynamic model of the environment. The
> >evidence seems fairly strong that bats live mostly in such a model
> >(Griffin, 1958), and the difficulty we have training bats to use
> >symbolic representations (yes/no tokens) in communicating with us,
> >suggests that their internal model is non-symbolic, possibly like the
> >analog models used in some contexts like wind tunnels and floatation
> >tanks.
> >
> >--
> >Harry Erwin, PhD, <mailto:herwin at gmu.edu>,Computational Neuroscientist
> >(modeling bat behavior), Senior SW Analyst and Security Engineer, and
> >Adjunct Professor of Computer Science, GMU. Looking--CV available at:
> ><http://mason.gmu.edu/~herwin/CV.htm>
> 
> If you're modeling bat behavior, I think you should also consider
> symbolic alternatives.
> 
> What? Are you saying that bats may have symbols in their brains?
> 
> Yes, I am. Symbols, in a broader definition, are not necessarily
> discrete and precise elements. This arrow -> is a symbol for a
> concept of flow or direction. But that very same symbol could
> be written as ==>> or any other representation. What a bat may
> have in its "mind" could be thought as a vague representation of
> its world, but that is certainly symbolic: it is a neural pattern
> of activations that *represent* an object or event in its world.
> A symbol is an object that stands for another object.
> 
> Regards,
> Sergio Navega.

Consider a wind-tunnel model.  Where are the symbols?

-- 
Harry Erwin, PhD, <mailto:herwin at gmu.edu>,Computational Neuroscientist 
(modeling bat behavior), Senior SW Analyst and Security Engineer, and 
Adjunct Professor of Computer Science, GMU. Looking--CV available at: 
<http://mason.gmu.edu/~herwin/CV.htm>






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