L'economia vista dal cervello

CAMBRIDGE – Nel suo pionieristico libro intitolato On Intelligence, scritto nel 2005, Jeff Hawkins propone un paradigma alternativo del funzionamento del cervello umano. Secondo Hawkins, il cervello non è una macchina di Turing che manipola i simboli secondo un insieme prefissato di regole – che è il modello su cui si basano i computer e l'intelligenza artificiale – bensì una gigantesca memoria strutturata gerarchicamente che registra tutto ciò che percepisce e prevede ciò che avverrà in seguito.

Il cervello formula previsioni stabilendo analogie tra modelli estrapolati da input sensoriali recenti ed esperienze precedenti immagazzinate nella sua vasta memoria. Esso collega suoni frammentari dispersi in un mare di rumore a una canzone nota, o il volto di una persona mascherata a quello di vostro figlio. Il procedimento ricorda la funzione di completamento automatico di cui è dotata la casella di ricerca di Google, che cerca d’indovinare quale sarà la prossima parola che l'utente digiterà in base a quelle che ha digitato in precedenza.

Per cogliere la gerarchia in questo meccanismo, basta riflettere sul fatto che, percependo solo poche lettere, si riesce ad anticipare la parola, e che da poche parole, si può indovinare il significato della frase, o anche del paragrafo. Di fatto, in questo momento anche voi starete cercando d’indovinare dove voglio andare a parare con queste osservazioni. La gerarchia consente di comprendere il significato, a prescindere se l’input sia arrivato al cervello tramite la lettura o l’ascolto. Il cervello è, quindi, una macchina induttiva che predice il futuro cogliendo analogie, a vari livelli, tra il presente e il passato.

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