Monday, May 28, 2018

"I Will Spew Thee Out of My Mouth" or Why the Cerebellum Cannot Speak


I changed my mind about writing an article on the purpose of cortical columns. Too risky in my opinion. Instead, I decided to write about the cerebellum, an important but a much less disruptive part of the brain. In this article, I argue against the hypothesis promoted by some in the neuroscience community that the cerebellum contributes to speech generation. Caveat: This article is for believers only.

The Zombie in the Back of Our Head

The cerebellum means little brain in Latin. It is smaller than the neocortex but don't let this fool you. It contains more neurons than the rest of the brain. It is an unconscious supervised neural network that handles a large number of routine but important sensorimotor tasks while the conscious cortex is busy with other matters. Examples are walking, running, balancing, maintaining posture, etc. The cerebellum makes it possible for the brain to multitask.

It is probably best to think of the cerebellum as an automaton, a robotic assistant to the cerebrum, the conscious or volitional part of the brain. The cerebellum can neither learn nor initiate a task on its own. It is entirely subservient to the neocortex and fully dependent on it for its training. It is a mindless zombie in that it does what it is told to do without question. It will make mistakes because it cannot handle new situations that it was not programmed to handle. This is why it's not a good idea to drive or even walk while texting.

No Speech For You

Mainstream neuroscientists incorrectly attribute speech production capability to the cerebellum. They do so for two reasons. First, they do not understand the purpose and function of the cerebellum. Second, they misinterpret clinical data showing speech impairments in patients with cerebellar lesions. The truth is that speech production is a fully conscious phenomenon that requires no input from the cerebellum. Speech difficulties arise only because the conscious cortex cannot focus on more than one thing at a time and must attend to important tasks that it would normally rely on the cerebellum to handle automatically.

People with cerebellar disorders must find ways to compensate for the deficiency. Depending on the severity of the problem, some stop talking altogether (a condition called mutism) because they are forced to focus their attention almost exclusively on sensorimotor tasks (e.g, walking, maintaining posture and balance, etc.) Others learn to speak in a staccato voice (often accompanied by a trembling posture) during which they rapidly switch their attention between speech generation and sensorimotor tasks. It is a form of imperfect multitasking.

Interestingly enough (and this supports my claim that the cerebellum does not produce speech), people with speech impairment caused by cerebellar disorders can sometimes speak normally. Their voices can return to normal if they lie down in a relaxed position which relieves them of the necessity to attend to other tasks.

I Will Spew Thee Out of My Mouth

I initially became interested in the cerebellum after deciphering the occult message to the Church in Laodicea in the Book of Revelation.
14 “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: ‘These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, “I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing,” and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable, and poor and blind and naked,
18 I counsel thee to buy from Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed and that the shame of thy nakedness may not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.
21 To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with Me on My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father on His throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches!’”
It did not take me long to figure out that the Laodicea message was a description of the cerebellum and that verses 15 and 16 obviously meant that the cerebellum was not involved in activating muscles used by the mouth and tongue. But why? We are told that it is because the Church of Laodicea is "neither cold nor hot." What does this mean? It means that the cerebellum is not controlled by emotions. It has neither likes nor dislikes, i.e., no motivation or goals. It is a zombie. Speech production must always be a volitional and conscious process because it requires intent.

Coming Soon

The cerebellum is a fascinating neural network consisting of many highly specialized sub-networks. As always, the occult texts can pack a lot of amazing information in just a few short verses. This is the power of metaphors. The Book of Revelation gives a detailed description of its organization and function. I'm a little busy right now but I plan to write an article to explain how the cerebellum is organized, what type of sensory signals it receives, how it learns directly from the motor cortex and how sensorimotor programs are activated. Stay tuned.

See Also:

The Yin-Yang Brain: Even Faster Learning Using Spike Timing

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Yin-Yang Brain: Even Faster Learning Using Spike Timing

The First and the Last

In September of last year, I wrote an article to describe a fast method used by the brain to learn elementary patterns using spike timing. I just want to show in this quick post that pattern learning can be much faster if we take advantage of the Yin-Yang or complementary nature of the brain. The reason is that, if everything in the brain comes in complementary-opposite pairs, learning one component of a pair automatically learns its complement. The trick is to always create and connect everything in pairs. Thus every sensor or pattern detector belongs to a dual entity. For example, a sensor that detects the onset (first signal) of a stimulus is paired with another that detects the offset (last signal) of the same stimulus. Likewise, a pattern neuron that detects the movement of an edge in one direction is paired with another pattern neuron that detects the opposite movement.

He Who Overcomes Will Not Be Hurt by the Second Death

The title of this paragraph comes from the occult book of Revelation where I get a huge part of my understanding of intelligence. It is a good idea to think of paired entities as a single object or complementary unit (CU). This way, instead of connecting a sensor to a pattern neuron, we can connect a sensory CU to a pattern CU, thereby killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. This is where it gets interesting. During learning, both connections can fail the concurrency test but if one of them passes, there is no need to continue testing the other connection. One successful test is enough to certify both connections. In other words, two failures (two deaths) are needed to disconnect the CU but a single success is not nullified by the failure of the other connection. I could be wrong but this is my current interpretation of the metaphorical message to the Church in Smyrna.

A similar approach is used in the cortex where all columns are organized in complementary pairs. The end result is that, since not all connections have to be tested, pattern learning in both the thalamus and the cortical columns is much faster than it would be otherwise.
Complementary organization of cortical columns in the visual cortex
Note: I have been thinking of writing an article to explain the true purpose of the cortex and its 100 million cortical columns. I am currently weighing the pros and cons. Hang in there.

See Also:

Fast Unsupervised Pattern Learning Using Spike Timing
Message to The Church in Smyrna
Solving the Mysteries of Reciprocal Corticothalamic Feedback and Cortical Learning
Fast Cortical Learning Using Spike Timing
The Yin-Yang Brain Revisited: Stephen Grossberg's Work

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Yin-Yang Brain Revisited: Stephen Grossberg's Work

A Funny Thing Happened this Morning

In December of last year, I wrote a two-part article on how I came to understand the Yin-Yang organization of the brain. I have known for a long time that the Yin-Yang principle was the basis of reality and I came to understand that complementarity was absolutely essential to the organization of the brain. Thanks to my research in deciphering the meaning of certain occult texts, I discovered that each hemisphere of the brain consists of two separate but complementary hierarchies. These are symbolized by two olive trees.

I had assumed (wrongly, as it turned out) that I was the only person to have arrived at this understanding. This morning, one of my readers (Spent Death) left a comment on my blog to recommend the work of cognitive neuroscientist Stephen Grossberg. After a quick search on Google, I was blown away by what I found. In 2000, Grossberg published a paper titled, THE COMPLEMENTARY BRAIN Unifying Brain Dynamics and Modularity (pdf) in which he describes a revolutionary model of the brain based on complementarity. This post is not intended to be a review or a critique of Grossberg's work. I merely wish to point out the commonality between his views and mine. Here is what he wrote in the paper's abstract (emphasis added):
How are our brains functionally organized to achieve adaptive behavior in a changing world? This article presents one alternative to the computer metaphor suggesting that brains are organized into independent modules. Evidence is reviewed that brains are organized into parallel processing streams with complementary properties. Hierarchical interactions within each stream and parallel interactions between streams create coherent behavioral representations that overcome the complementary deficiencies of each stream and support unitary conscious experiences. This perspective suggests how brain design reflects the organization of the physical world with which brains interact. Examples from perception, learning, cognition, and action are described, and theoretical concepts and mechanisms by which complementarity is accomplished are presented.
In the same paper, Grossberg offers a hypothesis to explain how the brain handles sensory uncertainty using parallel streams and multiple stages or levels in the hierarchy. I propose a somewhat similar solution which also uses multiple levels and parallel streams but is implemented via feedback pathways in the cortex and the thalamus. If you have any interest in how the brain works, I heartily recommend that you read Grossberg's work on complementarity.

Needless to say, nobody in mainstream AI is thinking along these lines even though some of them claim to base their research on neuroscience. They are lost in a lost world. AGI will not come from the mainstream.

See Also:

Solving the Mysteries of Reciprocal Corticothalamic Feedback and Cortical Learning
Fast Cortical Learning Using Spike Timing
The Two Olive Trees and the Yin-Yang Brain: How My Understanding of the Cortex Evolved Over the Years