My chief concern is Numenta’s direction/strategy of attack.
I have worked extensively as a maths tutor. Sometimes a student is unable to solve a difficult problem. By presenting them with a sequence of simpler problems of increasing complexity, they are able to solve the puzzle.
This is my own experience as well. If I wish to understand Rachmaninov, I must start with the harmonies of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, etc.
An experiment was done with owls and distorting glasses. The adult owls were unable to navigate. However by starting them off with 25% distortion, then 50% then 75% then 100%, they were able to adapt.
A simpler organism such as a spider or lizard is able to process location / orientation data effectively.
Would it not make more sense to work with these more basic brains until we arrive at a healthy understanding?
Then we may be able to see our own brains as some kind of superposition / adaptation of more basic components.
Also, simply figuring out the mechanism of information-processing for an adult brain is only one piece of the puzzle. There is also the challenge of figuring out how the brain gates plasticity as the organism matures, and also the challenge of wiring in a reward system.
If we could arrive at a basic biologically plausible simulated organism interacting with its environment, learning to survive, coupled with a genetic algorithm that breeds successful organisms, then we would have something to iterate upon.