Thursday, April 5, 2018

Motor Learning in the Brain?

Goal Oriented Motor Learning

I have been thinking about writing a couple of articles to explain how the brain learns goal-oriented motor skills, the holy grail of robotics. Motor learning starts with sensory learning. In fact, the two are complementary in the strict Yin-Yang sense of that word. Motor actions are tightly controlled by pattern detection in the cortical columns. In fact, if you are wondering what goals are in the brain, don't look further than the minicolumns that comprise the cortical columns.

Pandora's Box

There is more to motor learning than just goals, however. One must also factor in motivation, prediction and motor conflict resolution. After all, there is a huge cortex with billions of possible goals but only a limited number of motor effectors to play with. Motor behavior is not hard to understand once you understand sensory learning and perception. Needless to say, this is the kind of knowledge that would open the door to all sorts of possibilities, both good and evil.

Supervised Sensorimotor Learning in the Cerebellum

There are two types of sensorimotor learning in the brain, unsupervised and supervised. The former takes place in the neocortex while the latter happens in the cerebellum. The cerebellum is a huge repository of sensorimotor behaviors that can be turned on and off by the neocortex. Its job is to handle routine tasks (e.g., walking, maintaining posture, balancing, etc.) while the cortex is busy thinking about or doing something else. Without it we would not be able to stand, walk, drive or even sit properly upright in a chair while talking or thinking about other stuff. Our future intelligent robots will certainly have an electronic cerebellum.

Stay Tuned

Let me come right out and say that I know the secret of unsupervised goal-oriented motor learning in the cortex and supervised motor learning in the cerebellum. I found this knowledge in the same place where I found all of my other knowledge about the brain. Those of you who follow this blog regularly know what I'm referring to. I will eventually explain it all but now is not the time. Have patience.

1 comment:

Louis Savain said...

Here are a couple of verses for believers only. Walking is a metaphor for motor output.

If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Zechariah 2:7

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. Revelation 3:4

Here we see the metaphors of fornication and idolatry. Fornication symbolizes motor conflict and idolatry means that a motor action accomplished the wrong goal. Jezebel is the motor learning mechanism.

Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. Revelation 2:20