Monday, 29 April 2013

A Simple Guide to the Relationship between Neurons, Natural Language and CODIL

I have posted the detailed discussion paper Fromthe Neuron to Human Intelligence: Part 1: The “Ideal Brain” Model and my idea is to supplement it with brief notes examining various topics, including any raised by comments. This is the first of those notes

A noun such as Macbeth, or Dagger, or Author is represented in the brain as a somewhat amorphous network of neurons which I have called a memode.

Memodes contain other lower level memodes. Thus Murderer will contain Macbeth and Crippen, while Author will contain Shelly and Shakespeare. People will contain sets such as Murderer and Author and individuals such as Churchill.

A memode may also represent a context where several nouns are associated. An example of a context would be Macbeth; Duncan; Dagger. Another might be Macbeth; Shakespeare.

The ideal brain model connect up the links – so the above two examples can be merged as Macbeth; Duncan; Dagger; Shakespeare.

As Macbeth is a Murderer we can expand the above to the context Murderer Macbeth; Victim Duncan; Weapon Dagger; Author Shakespeare. While we are only using nouns it is easy to relate this to a natural language statement such as “According to Shakespeare Macbeth used a Dagger to kill Duncan.”

CODIL was a blue sky project to try and provide a fundamentally human friendly information processor for handling a range of non-mathematical tasks. In MicroCODIL (a demonstration version that runs on the BBC Microcomputer and uses colour) the above example would be represented as

1 MURDER = Macbeth,
2   VICTIM = Duncan,
3     WEAPON = Dagger,
4       AUTHOR = Shakespeare.

While the ideal brain model works by making links within a network of neurons, and CODIL works by moving symbols around a digital store, the two processes are equivalent.

The CODIL idea was triggered by research on a very large commercial data processing system, and has been trialed in medium sized poorly structured data bases (medical and historical data), providing online tutorial material for classes in excess of 100, as a schools package for demonstrating a wide range of information processing ideas, and in the area of artificial intelligence. A package called TANTALIZE used CODIL to solve 15 consecutive Tantalizers (now called Enigma) published weekly in the New Scientist.

The parallel between the ideal brain model and CODIL suggests that the ideal brain model could probably support a reasonable level of natural language skills – but more research is required. The bottleneck as far as the basic ideal brain model is concerned relates to the speed of learning – and this issue will be addressed in Part2: Evolution and Language.

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