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Savants and hierarchical memory

Savants are capable of amazing performance in a number of specialized tasks (e.g. rapid counting). In the same time they have difficulties with tasks requiring higher level of abstraction, and display poor general intelligence.

Is integer arithmetic fundamental to mental processing? the mind’s secret arithmetic, A. W. Snyder, D. J. Mitchell:

In contrast to the popular views discussed above, the unique aspect of our perspective is that the mechanism and information drawn on for savant mathematics resides equally in us all but it cannot be recruited by us for mathematics. In other words, we believe that mathematical savants, like all autistic savants, arise from their privileged access to lower levels of raw information.

Why is it that savants have privileged access to lower levels of information ? Perhaps it is promoted by a loss of those centres that control executive or integrative mechanisms (…)

An intriguing question remains. Although we do not normally have access to lower levels of information as do savants, is there nonetheless some artificial means to promote this access, say via induced altered states of consciousness?

A reference to the theory of hierarchical memory (Jeff Hawkins, On intelligence, see earlier post).

From the point of view of this theory savants would be somehow unable to develop higher level memory patterns.

On the flip side, a normal person cannot recognize lower level memory patterns anymore, and therefore doesn’t have access to savant-like abilities, which are based on this raw access.

On Intelligence: recommended reading

I’m fascinated by the topic of artificial intelligence, but the fact is, despite all the hype in the last half a century, this faculty hasn’t come up with anything even remotely close to capabilities of a human brain, and many pundits started to lose hope that it ever will.

Development focused on custom solutions designed to tackle specific, narrowly defined problems. The books I read so far tended to be technical reviews of various types of neural networks, which are of course inspired by the brain’s circuitry, but share little with it in terms of flexibility and adaptability.

Hawkins’ book is a rare attempt to come up with general view on how brain really works. In the process, it uses concepts from both biological and technological sides. Its general idea is not obscured by technical jargon, which makes it easy to follow.

In summary, the book offers a glimmer of hope, that some kind of breakthrough in the field might be around the corner.

Inteliwise, Polish AI company, will go to NewConnect

Internet Standard published interview with CEO of Inteliwise, a Polish company which deals with AI technologies in search. On market since 2005.

The company plans to debut on NewConnect, a Polish stock exchange for high-tech companies.

I don’t have time to investigate it’s products at the moment, but the Company seems to understand what is most important for the AI:

Inteliwise avatar

A decent front-end.

Other thoughts: looks like an interesting company to watch (or even invest in).