Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Evolution of Intelligence – From Neural nets to Language

Brain Storms - 9
An Information Processing Approach to the Evolution of Human Language and Intelligence
The aim of this post is to suggest that the way to understand the evolution of language and human intelligence is to start from the assumption that the human brain is no more than an animal brain in which some of the features have been stretched – in a way analogous to the giraffe's neck or the elephant's trunk. It notes how a very simple recursive architecture, demonstrated by an unconventional experimental computer language called CODIL, can actually be used to support a wide range of “intelligent” information processing tasks, and suggests how the approach could be extended to support natural languages. In particular it suggests trigger points where a comparatively small change could lead to an explosive increase in the potential information processing power of the brain.
Chris Reynolds

Monday, 6 February 2012

Trapped by the Ice - at College Lake

College Lake, near Tring
I wonder what the two cygnets are thinking - as they will never have seen anything like this before. Two adult swans - and this year's brood - are swimming round and round in circles in the only remaining small hole in the ice on College Lake marsh. Several other swans are on the ice, together with a number of black headed gulls (which do not have black heads at this time of year).
 The day after this was taken we had about six inches of snow, and there were continuous streams of birds coming to the feeders in my garden, and most of the berries on the bushes round the kitchen window have been consumed. 
If the cold spell continues for long there will be many casualties, and it would be interesting to know how far the ability for individual birds to survive is due to genetically inherited responses - and how far by the ability to adapt behaviour due to innate intelligence.