Appréhender l’économie comme le ferait un cerveau humain

CAMBRIDGE – Dans son livre pionnier de 2005, « Intelligence », Jeff Hawkins propose une nouvelle vision de la façon dont fonctionne le cerveau humain. D’après lui, le cerveau n'est pas une machine de Turing qui manipule des symboles selon une table d’instructions internes, le modèle sur lequel sont basés les ordinateurs et l’intelligence artificielle en général. Il montre que le cerveau est au contraire un vaste système de mémoires hiérarchisées qui enregistre constamment ce qu’il perçoit et prédit ce qui doit advenir.

Le cerveau fait des prédictions en établissant des similitudes entre des séquences d’informations sensorielles récentes et des expériences passées stockées dans sa mémoire. Il associe des fragments de sons entendus dans un océan de bruits à une chanson connue, ou le visage d’un gamin déguisé à celui de votre enfant. Le concept est similaire à celui de la fonction de saisie semi-automatique dans, par exemple, la fenêtre de recherche Google – qui devine constamment quelle sera votre prochaine recherche selon ce que vous avez déjà saisi.

Pour visualiser comment fonctionne cette hiérarchie, il faut comprendre qu’en percevant quelques lettres seulement, vous pouvez deviner le mot ; qu’en regardant quelques mots, vous pouvez prédire ce que signifiera la phrase, ou même le paragraphe. En fait, vous devriez pouvoir deviner mon propos à partir de ce qui précède. La hiérarchie nous permet de comprendre le sens, que l’information soit transmise au cerveau par le biais du son ou de la lecture. Le cerveau est donc une machine inductive qui prédit l’avenir en trouvant des similitudes, à différents niveaux, entre le présent et le passé.

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