Re: Scientists locate intelligence ... in brain

Date: Sat Nov 03 2001 - 09:43:54 MST

Scerir forwards:

> Any
> definition of intelligence, they say, cannot ignore a living being's
> environment, including its very own body. In their view, an organism
> is only intelligent relative to how well it solves the problems that its
> surroundings throw at it. This runs counter to many historical ideas,
> including the concept that the mind is separate from the body, or that it
> is possible to build a desktop computer that thinks like a human
> without having the same physical environment or body.

Why was the subject of this posting "Scientists locate intelligence
... in brain", when the claim of the article is that intelligence is
as much a property of the BODY and that the idea of associating it with
just the brain is supposedly obsolete?

> To explore the
> idea of intelligence, the researchers ran computer simulations of
> artificial neural networks called "minibrains." In the simulations, 251
> minibrains each attempted to pick the less popular of two choices, 0
> and 1, analogous to 251 motorists all trying to pick the less congested
> road. This "Minority Game" would be repeated over many successive
> rounds. Each minibrain consisted of three layers of "neurons": "input
> neurons," which dictated how many past rounds it could remember,
> leading to an intermediary layer, which then led into an "output" layer
> that determined what choice was made.

This is the oldest model of neural networks around. These simple 3
layer networks with Hebbian learning models were considered obsolete 30
years ago. I'm amazed that people are still using them and trying to
draw results from them.

> Only when the
> researchers introduced a "rogue" minibrain with more intermediate
> neurons to analyze the past rounds did it attain more than a 50 percent
> success rate. Their simulations suggest that intelligence often hinges
> on how much one can make use of the data in its physical
> environment. (Wakeling and Bak, Physical Review E, November
> 2001)

Gee, let's see, they made a network with more layer-two neurons and it did
better than the ones with fewer. Making a bigger BRAIN made it do better.
Does that surprise anyone? Seem like an earthshaking result?

How exactly does that support their notion that the mind can no longer
be considered separate from the body? They made the BRAIN bigger and
it got more intelligent, unsurprisingly. Seems rather a weak foundation
to draw sweeping philosophical conclusions about the mind-body problem.


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