Thursday, January 19, 2012

Terrence Sejnowski: Nature is More Clever Than We Are

Buried deep in your midbrain there is a small collection of neurons, found in our earliest vertebrate ancestors, that project throughout the cortical mantle and basal ganglia that are important for decision making. These neurons release a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which has a powerful influence on our behavior. Dopamine has been called a "reward" molecule, but more important than reward itself is the ability of these neurons to predict reward: If I had that job, how happy would I be? Dopamine neurons, which are central to motivation, implement TD learning, just like VUMmx1...At the beginning of the cognitive revolution in the 1960s the brightest minds could not imagine that reinforcement learning could underlie intelligent behavior. Minds are not reliable. Nature is more clever than we are. more

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