[ExI] asim roy brain theory

Richard Loosemore rpwl at lightlink.com
Thu Nov 20 16:03:50 UTC 2008

spike wrote:
> Is anyone here up to speed on Asim Roy?  This connectionist theory of the
> brain seems cool, but I lack the background to judge it.
> http://www.physorg.com/news146319784.html

I got a draft version of the paper earlier this year, and after a quick 
scan I filed it under 'junk'.

I just read it through again, and the filing stays the same.

His basic premise is that connectionists argued from the very beginning 
that they wanted to do things in a way that did not involve a central 
executive.  They wanted to see how much could be done by having large 
numbers of autonomous units do things independently.  Turns out, quite a 
lot can be achieved that way.

But it seems that Asim Roy has fundamentally misunderstood the force and 
the intent of that initial declaration by the connectionists.  There was 
a reason they said what they said:  they wanted to get away from the old 
symbol processing paradigm in which one thing happened at a time and 
symbols were separated from the mechanisms that modified or used 
symbols.  The connectionists were not being dogmatic about "No 
Controllers!", they just wanted to stop all power being vested in the 
hands of a central executive ... and their motivation was from cognitive 
science, not engineering or control theory.

Roy seems to be completely obsessed with the idea that they are wrong, 
while at the same time not really understanding why they said it, and 
not really having a concrete proposal (or account of empirical data) to 
substitute for the connectionist ideas.

To tell the truth, I don't think there are many connectionists who are 
so hell-bent on the idea of not having a central controller, that they 
would not be open to an architecture that did have one (or several). 
They just don't think it would be good to have central controllers in 
charge of ALL the heavy lifting.

Roy's paper has the additional disadvantage of being utterly filled with 
underlines and boldface.  He shouts.  Not good in something that is 
supposed to be a scientific paper.

Sorry, but this is just junk.

Richard Loosemore

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