My short answer to this thread is I believe the universal encoder for perceived structure/“meaning” in the world to be causality. As Jordan summarized it some weeks back, (Did Jordan not make the jump to this platform, I don’t see a handle?)
It may not be the only kind of cognitive processing we do. But I think it is the interesting one from the point of view of “intelligence”, and our experiential perception of the world.
I believe this happens in the telencephalon or cognates, which is thus the universal encoder for this perceptual structure, or “meaning”.
Other things like response to motion may happen elsewhere. They are not what I am seeking as “meaning”.
I think the structure produced by this common, though separately differentiated causality plotting structure (telencephalon, neocortex) will be of the same form as the structure observed in the connectivity matrix of Shanahan et al’s. analysis.
As Felix and Fergal have both pointed out, the structure that Shanahan etc. abstract is very coarse and high level. Their analysis suggests its connectivity breaks the world down into functions. I don’t know if this breakdown can be interpreted in terms of causal relations at all. Maybe back in evolution, with connections becoming reified by evolution. But lower down I think the connections will be causal. As they are posited to be in Jeff’s HTM.
Either way, we can extract the same, hierarchical structure from a causal network. This hierarchical structure is my candidate for the perceptual hierarchy HTM theory is looking for.
You can say the “true” hierarchical structure is elsewhere, yet to be found. But I’m suggesting it is there. Let’s test that hypothesis.
A quick way to do this would be to perform some of their “recursive modularity analysis” on connection matricies extracted from current implementations of the CLA. We could look at the hierarchical breakdown such a connectivity analysis produces and see if it corresponds in any way with meaningful groupings. Or groupings it would suit us to identify as “meaningful” in order to perceptually structure our world, and make better predictions.
Note, these groupings would change more slowly over time, thus concording with the current HTM conception of a “temporal pooling”.