The Wikipedia entry on Jeff Hawkins says that "After graduating from Cornell in June 1979, he read a special issue of Scientific American on the brain in which Francis Crick lamented the lack of a grand theory explaining how the brain functions." When that September 1979 Scientific American came out, I had just worked out my Theory of Mind and I had written a paper about it. After three scientific journals rejected my paper, I decided to send it to Dr. David Hubel at Harvard because I noticed that he had written two of the brain articles in the special Scientific American. About eight months later, Dr. Hubel wrote back to me that neuronal modelling was not his specialty, and so I should send the paper to either Tomaso Poggio or David Marr. I selected David Marr, and from his deathbed Marr wrote back that I should send the paper to Marvin Minsky, who Marr correctly predicted would probably not answer. I also sent it to the other (than Hubel) Nobelist Sir John Carew Eccles, who wrote back after about eight months that I had made a serious contribution and I should send it to someone in New York, but I did not.
I am reading around here on the Numenta site and I notice that the work here is very much focussed on the neurons and their Laminae. My own AI work has always been very much of a top-down nature, dealing with the software analog of nerve fibers holding concepts and motor initiation triggers. I actually addressed sensorimotor problems before I developed the broader theory of mind.
Recently in my AI software I have taken pains to have the free-will Volition module call first the stubbed-in Emotion module and then the Think module before calling the Motorium module, so that Emotion may influence thought, which makes motor decisions. -Arthur