Dileep and I discuss his theoretical account of how the thalamus and cortex work together to implement visual inference. We talked previously about his Recursive Cortical Network (RCN) approach to visual inference, which is a probabilistic graph model that can solve hard problems like CAPTCHAs, and more recently we talked about using his RCNs with cloned units to account for cognitive maps related to the hippocampus. On this episode, we walk through how RCNs can map onto thalamo-cortical circuits so a given cortical column can signal whether it believes some concept or feature is present in the world, based on bottom-up incoming sensory evidence, top-down attention, and lateral related features. We also briefly compare this bio-RCN version with Randy O’Reilly’s Deep Predictive Learning account of thalamo-cortical circuitry.
Russ and I discuss cognitive ontologies – the “parts” of the mind and their relations – as an ongoing dilemma of how to map onto each other what we know about brains and what we know about minds. We talk about whether we have the right ontology now, how he uses both top-down and data-driven approaches to analyze and refine current ontologies, and how all this has affected his own thinking about minds. We also discuss some of the current meta-science issues and challenges in neuroscience and AI, and Russ answers guest questions from Kendrick Kay and David Poeppel.
Carsen and I discuss how she uses 2-photon calcium imaging data from over 10,000 neurons to understand the information processing of such large neural population activity. We talk about the tools she makes and uses to analyze the data, and the type of high-dimensional neural activity structure they found, which seems to allow efficient and robust information processing. We also talk about how these findings may help build better deep learning networks, and Carsen’s thoughts on how to improve the diversity, inclusivity, and equality in neuroscience research labs.
Chris and I discuss his Spaun large scale model of the human brain (Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network), as detailed in his book How to Build a Brain. We talk about his philosophical approach, how Spaun compares to Randy O’Reilly’s Leabra networks, the Applied Brain Research Chris co-founded, and I have guest questions from Brad Aimone, Steve Potter, and Randy O’Reilly.
Matt and I discuss how cognition and behavior drifts over the course of minutes and hours, and how global brain activity drifts with it. How does the brain continue to produce steady perception and action in the midst of such drift? We also talk about how to think about variability in neural activity. How much of it is noise and how much of it is hidden important activity? Finally, we discuss the effect of recording more and more neurons simultaneously, collecting bigger and bigger datasets, plus guest questions from Adam Snyder and Patrick Mayo.