Monday, 7 November 2011

We Are Baysian Inference Machines


Daniel Wolpert: The real reason for brains,
  • Neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert starts from a surprising premise: the brain evolved, not to think or feel, but to control movement. In this entertaining, data-rich talk he gives us a glimpse into how the brain creates the grace and agility of human motion.
Why do we and other animals have brains, what is the brain for? To perceive the world or to think? No - well not according to Daniel Wolpert. Wolpert claims that we have a brain for one reason - to produce adaptable and complex movements.

Yep, the brain has evolved to control movement.  Movement is the only way we have of affecting the world around us (apart form sweating). Everything else involves a contraction of muscles, from speech and sign language to sensory feedback...they're all due to muscle movement!

Wolpert makes the case that unlike a game of chess where IBM's Big Blue will beat most players by processing a finite set of outcomes for each and every given move, making a robot physically move a chess piece is way more difficult as the movement itself has an almost infinite complexity such that the dexterity of a 5 year old is far superior to that of the latest robot.

Unlike the mental part of a chess game which succumbs to a generalised algorithm, the phyiscal act of manipulating pieces on a chess board cannot be reduced to a simple algorithm controlling movement - roboticists cannot generalise from one task to another.

Movement is medicine.  It's all about the feedback. 

Like!  :)

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