Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A New Theory Of Cognition

Pioneer In Artificial-Intelligence Software Devises New Theory Of Cognition
(Science Daily)
Hecht-Nielsen noted that the common method used in search engines, data mining and drug trial analysis—maximum a posteriori probability—is not the mechanism of cognition. “Humans and animals don’t do this,” he argued. “Instead, animal cognition maximizes cogency, and in a non-logic environment, cogency maximization implements what I call the ‘duck test’: if a small animal waddles like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck and flies like a duck, we conclude that it is a duck because that is the conclusion which most strongly supports the probability of the assumed facts being true.”

To validate his hypothesis, Hecht-Nielsen and his colleagues demonstrated the use of confabulation for language generation. Some 8,000 books worth of English-language text were streamed through a computer-based architecture, and when two consecutive sentences within a paragraph seemed topically coherent using a simple thought process, they were marked with symbols and linked. “After a few days of ‘reading,’ the confabulation architecture had accumulated billions of individual knowledge links,” said Hecht-Nielsen. “These items of knowledge along with confabulation were then used to carry out the continuation of a sentence based on the first three words alone, or the first three words and knowledge of the previous sentence.”

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