About This Website
One advantage of my job of building tall buildings was that I had spare time. It took a whole month after pouring concrete for the third floor to cast the fourth floor. In 1989, such time enabled me to evaluate a Prolog AI program for disease recognition. The algorithm it used could identify one out of 8 diseases by answering yes/no questions for 32 related symptoms.
An algorithm is a set procedure, which achieves a dependable result. Could the Prolog algorithm be applied within a Lotus spreadsheet? Curious, I entered the "if yes, then select the disease" formula in it. But, there was an unwitting and fortuitous error in my algorithm. For each question, instead of selecting, my algorithm eliminated diseases. It had reversed the logic. When I clicked "Yes" for one particular symptom, my algorithm diagnosed one disease as the cause of that symptom after eliminating all the 7 other diseases. Surprisingly, the conclusion was logical.
A flash of light from that eerily accurate diagnosis kept me awake for weeks. Science did not know how a doctor could identify one out of 8000 diseases with a glance at a patient. In the split second I had taken to enter "Yes" to just one question, an ordinary spreadsheet had diagnosed a disease. The decisive difference was that its search process had ELIMINATED possibilities!
A programmer wrote the code for my "Expert System." For 225 eye diseases, its algorithm eliminated both irrelevant diseases and their connected questions for each answer. I presented the Expert System to a panel of doctors. "It identified Angular Conjunctivitis, without asking a single stupid question," said a doctor. It was an AI algorithm that could professionally diagnose eye diseases! It took me awhile to figure out how a doctor could diagnose diseases instantly if his nervous system used the same algorithm.
Over 2 Million Page Views - How Did It Happen?
I am not a physician, but an engineer. Way back in 1989, I noticed the unique speed of an AI algorithm for disease recognition and pieced together the implications of that phenomenon. The same algorithm could be applied by the nervous system for the management of its stored knowledge! The axon hillocks of neurons could store and retrieve memories of trillions of links between symptoms and known diseases. Neurons respond to received impulses in 5 milliseconds. The axon hillocks of neurons could use an elimination algorithm to eliminate (inhibit) unrelated relationships. Since its symptoms were not linked in memory to any other known disease, a doctor could locate one disease in milliseconds.
Functional regions could use precise combinatorial codes in feedback and feed forward links with incalculable eloquence. The axon hillocks of the neurons could store and retrieve memories of ancient jungle encounters and herd struggles. They could carry memories of the indications of danger, of strategies for survival and of motor control responses. One region could link sensory signals to potential trouble from people and things. That could cause other neural organs to trigger anger, or fear. In turn, these emotion signals could make a person flee, or fight. An insult could trigger stress in a split second. On the other hand, the self awareness tool could inhibit stress and still the mind.
Not metaphysical theories, but millisecond pattern recognition could explain human brilliance and folly. It could also offer the means for its control. Several years after my fortunate insight, a Nobel Prize acknowledged the astonishing power of combinatorial pattern recognition. Over 30 years, I have assembled much evidence supporting neural pattern recognition and published three books about artificial intelligence and the nervous system.
But, my understanding came up against the view of science that the mind computes its processes. It is impossible for computation to explain the massive subtlety of the mind. Can an adding
machine feel compassion? Imagine a situation, where your mind senses patterns. By evaluating molecules in
the air, your nose senses the fragrance of a flower. From that simple pattern recognition concept, you can proceed to understand why you stand in awe of a
sunset, or weep in anguish at the loss of a loved one. The concept
can lead you to have numerous insights on how the mind works.
- The "Mind Computes" view of
science makes it impossible to explain common sense, or love.
Neither do the current scientific theories explain the subtlety of a
smile. But, if you imagine a mind that recognizes patterns, you will see logical explanations for a million such mysteries.
- Funding limitations compel science to take
small incremental steps rather than attempt an uncertain leap into a new
view of the mind. A focus on pattern recognition by the mind can offer an opportunity for many resounding successes for the scientific establishment.
- The maths approach fails to explain the mind. Yet many dedicated
portions of the nervous system are acknowledged to recognize unique
- Only a prodigious memory and not computation can
explain the subtlety of the mind. The existence of a massive memory has already been uncovered with the recently
discovered principle of combinatorial coding for pattern
- Intuition enables the mind to extract contextual
knowledge from its own galactic database. Intuition remains to
be the elemental discovery of science.
- In presenting this fundamental insight,
this website only mentions the names of scientists, who uncovered the basic foundations of its many arguments. Discover those concepts on Google, correlate the ideas to your own experience and then imagine how that global
view can benefit you!
- By avoiding medical/software
terminology, external references and jargon, this website seeks to
enable an interested reader to grasp the power of a grand concept.
Science does point to the complexity of
the mind. Typically, Karl Friston compared the assembled knowledge in
the nervous system to the accumulated complexity of waves in a pond. He
suggested that those waves carried memories of turbulences created by
all the raindrops, or even pebbles, which ever fell into the pond.
The concept powerfully pictures an unimaginable complexity. But, it
completely fails to explain instant identification of a single memory; or your ability to comprehend the difference between
a smile and a grin.
Sadly, the simple idea that the whole mind
senses patterns is unlikely to be accepted by mainstream science any time soon.
Because, the concept covers too wide a territory and demands too many
explanations. It is as untimely as a round earth theory would have
been 2300 years ago. Those were the times of Aristotle, the founder
of modern science. Gravity was yet to be discovered. If earth was
round, why didn't people fall off? It needed a huge leap of faith to
ignore that issue. There are other reasons, why such a broad concept remains unattractive to science.
At the outset, science
sensibly avoids broad visions. Scientists, who speed read journal
abstracts by the hour, mean no ill. They painfully trudge for years
up varied alleys and peer through, mostly to find they are blind.
Thousands of failed experiments burden their minds. Faced with
constant and tedious toil, they know that beaten paths save valuable
time. In such a world, it is annoying to suggest leaps of faith.
Only small incremental visions are accepted. Not huge insights, like
pattern sensing by the mind.
There are still more problems for this
concept. Science worships maths. According to Richard Feynman, calculus is the language of God. It enables scientists to imagine worlds with ten dimensions and particles that occupy two places at the same time. Large sections of the scientific
community fondly hope to discover a maths formula to explain the
mind. So, the idea that the mind does not compute, but recognizes
patterns can hardly be popular. But, does the mind use recognition,
or maths? Consider the evidence:
With damage to a small
sliver of your cortex, you cannot keep your eyes closed and recognize
a pair of scissors by touch. Medical text books place responsibility
for recognition of objects by touch to that bit of your cortex.
There is another organ, which recognizes the significance of a smell
and still another, dedicated to just recognizing hand movements. Can
you imagine a mathematical formula, which can recognize the anguish
in a colleague's face? Mirror neurons do exactly that. Science
acknowledges that huge sections of your mind just recognize
Recognition can also explain human memory. Actually,
nature's miracles depend on vast coded memories. If the DNA codes in
the human body were written into 500 page books, those tomes will
fill the Grand Canyon 50 times over! Those codes build your eyes and
your finger nails, among other things. You can recognize a pair of
scissors by touch, because you remember how it feels. Which means
your system has a memory for that feel.
Memories are the key
to intelligence. In 2004, a Nobel Prize was awarded for the
discovery that the mind recognizes smells using a combinatorial code.
In theory, such codes can store astronomically large memories. Imagine a design, where the whole mind senses patterns and uses neural patterns to control actions. But such an imagined design demands a huge leap of
Imagine that there could be a simple routine that can enable you to recognize patterns in an astronomically large database within milliseconds. Imagine that intuition is that routine. Every instant, it is
intuition, which enables the machine to process cubic miles of
information to manage your life. When you begin to speak, it
generates a feeling, organizes the concept, chooses words, arranges
the sentence, retains grammar and manipulates your muscles to guide
the tone and tenor of each uttered word. All this is done before you
can even begin to say “But, ...”
But, no one has imagined that intuition could be an algorithm, which is
yet to be discovered and evaluated by science. Professor
Carver Mead of CalTech once predicted that science could discover it
by 2050. If you imagine this possibility, you need not wait that long. All you need is a leap of faith to accept the
possibility that intuition is a simple algorithm.
As against current dogma, imagine that specific regions in the brain
focus on specific functions. Scientists report activity in many
regions, when any function is performed. They reject the concept of
functional independence, viewing the mind to be an integrated
computational network. But these pages build the structure of the
mind on functional regions. The olfactory system distinguishes odors.
The amygdala triggers fear, or anger.
The insula initiates
social emotions. The cerebellum coordinates habitual actions. The
prefrontal regions deliver unemotional judgments. These regions must
be independent, because their damage cause the related functions to
largely disappear. Intuition and combinatorial coding, as explained
in these pages can enable complex teamwork among such regions. This
view of functional separation brings clarity to how the mind
perceives, interprets and responds to the environment. If this is
“over simplification,” then, so be it!
In presenting this fundamental insight, this website only mentions the names of scientists, who uncovered the basic foundations of its many arguments. Discover those concepts on Google, correlate the ideas to your own experience and find out how that global view can benefit you!
The results are presented
on the assumption that human minds are similar and what is applicable
for one will be generally applicable for another. You are bound
evaluate your own experience and decide if the ideas are valid. That
is the best way to recognize the overall pattern of the concepts
It was Glen Kezwer, who advocated using your mind as a
research lab to study experience. "The cost to the government
exchequer and the people is nil, no research grants need be applied
for, no progress reports are necessary and there is no need to be
concerned about the renewal of funding. There is also no pressure to
publish papers, technical reports or books on the experiment."
The objective of this
website is to make the contents readable to a lay person with a a reasonable imagination and nn abiding interest in improving the quality of his life. An
explanation aimed at pure science will contain medical and software
terminology associated with neurology, computers and the mind. That
will make it obscure and inscrutable to the layman. Such jargon has
While trying to retain a level of simplicity, explanations of a few internal
linking mechanisms of the mind have been detailed. How the hippocampus records combinatorial memories. How the claustrum enables the focus of your attention. Everywhere, terminology has been minimized to avoid subtle barriers to
understanding. These pages aim to enable an imaginative person to
genuinely benefit from a new global view of complex neural
This page was last updated on 19-Oct-2015.
JUST THINK... What happens when you begin to talk? Your nervous system has picked an emotion. It has articulated an idea around it, chosen apt words from a vocabulary of thousands of words, arranged them in lexical and grammatical order and adjusted the pitch of your voice. Before you speak you've no consciousness of the words you will use. Who's actually in charge? This question leads to the question "What is consciousness itself?" Is consciousness a spirit living in a human body? Is it a mystical life form that emerges from the nervous system? This is the hard problem of consciousness.