I think you just alluded to the concern that I had why I started this
"Much of the neocortex could be purely perceptive, especially certain
layers. For example, layers 5 and 6 might use the pure perceptive
processing from other layers to try to optimize pain/pleasure."
I think HTM is based on this premise too that the brain learns only online
and it's self trained based on coincidences between sensory input. The only
problem is that these coincidence detectors are also inside the brain. It's
like someone believing in it own delusion which he can also choose to
change at random. I think you will end up with just a memory but nothing
close to intelligence.
On the other hand pain detectors are outside of the brain and
are pre-trained by evolution i.e. their parameters does not depend on the
incoming sensory data. We should think about where the real learning will
take place here: with self propagated truth or with confirmed truth by an
external teacher (which cannot be corrupted by self propagated believe)?.
The link below shares some thoughts on why evolution has preserved pain
through many generation of developments. Learning is one of the key reasons.
What I'm trying to say is learning is inherently directed by pain detectors
since these detectors are not subject to the delusion of the brain.
So I don't think there's a concept of pure perception. I believe the brain
processes perception based on it's own biases which are pre-determined by
evolution and I'm thinking are encoded in these external detectors.
Also you mentioned "It is probably still capable of understanding the world
without reward-focused mechanisms. So intelligence can be
reverse-engineered independently of behavior"
This is exactly what it seems on the surface, that the brain is mostly
trying to understand the world for the purpose of understanding it.
However, it's not difficult to see that the underlying motivation
for intelligence is to avoid pain and attract pleasure. So in trying to
avoid and minimize pain it learns as much as possible about its environment
that might be inflicting pain on it now or in the future and it directs the
body of the organism to act to prevent the ongoing and the predicted future
pain. So it acquires right memories, pays attention to right things,
maneuver its body parts correctly, and develop good language to communicate
in an effort to avoid and minimize pain. Unfortunately, while it tries to
avoid and minimize one form of pain, it gets into another and the vicious
Also, it seems the concept of pleasure is only in the brain itself and
therefore cannot help in learning. In fact, I think pleasure is a just a
negative magnitude of pain (conjured by the brain to control the body or
implement/reinforce learning) and is not directly observable like pain. The
concept of pain on the other hand is not defined by the brain but is well
understood by it using other sensory modality information.
Oluwatobi Olabiyi, PhD
email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com