Neuroscience and artificial intelligence work better together. Brain inspired is a celebration and exploration of the ideas driving our progress to understand intelligence. I interview experts about their work at the interface of neuroscience, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, and more: the symbiosis of these overlapping fields, how they inform each other, where they differ, what the past brought us, and what the future brings. Topics include computational neuroscience, supervised machine learning, unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, deep learning, convolutional and recurrent neural networks, decision-making science, AI agents, backpropagation, credit assignment, neuroengineering, neuromorphics, emergence, philosophy of mind, consciousness, general AI, spiking neural networks, data science, and a lot more. The podcast is not produced for a general audience. Instead, it aims to educate, challenge, inspire, and hopefully entertain those interested in learning more about neuroscience and AI.
BI 090 Chris Eliasmith: Building the Human Brain
Chris and I discuss his Spaun large scale model of the human brain (Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network), as detailed in his book How to Build a Brain. We talk about his philosophical approach, how Spaun compares to Randy O'Reilly's Leabra networks, the Applied Brain Research Chris co-founded, and I have guest questions from Brad Aimone, Steve Potter, and Randy O'Reilly.
BI 089 Matt Smith: Drifting Cognition
Matt and I discuss how cognition and behavior drifts over the course of minutes and hours, and how global brain activity drifts with it. How does the brain continue to produce steady perception and action in the midst of such drift? We also talk about how to think about variability in neural activity. How much of it is noise and how much of it is hidden important activity? Finally, we discuss the effect of recording more and more neurons simultaneously, collecting bigger and bigger datasets, plus guest questions from Adam Snyder and Patrick Mayo.
BI 088 Randy O’Reilly: Simulating the Human Brain
Randy and I discuss his LEABRA cognitive architecture that aims to simulate the human brain, plus his current theory about how a loop between cortical regions and the thalamus could implement predictive learning and thus solve how we learn with so few examples. We also discuss what Randy thinks is the next big thing neuroscience can contribute to AI and much more.
BI 087 Dileep George: Cloning for Cognitive Maps
When a waiter hands me the bill, how do I know whether to pay it myself or let my date pay? On this episode, I get a progress update from Dileep on his company, Vicarious, since Dileep's last episode. We also talk broadly about his experience running Vicarious to develop AGI and robotics. Then we turn to his latest brain-inspired AI efforts using cloned structured probabilistic graph models to develop an account of how the hippocampus makes a model of the world represents our cognitive maps in different contexts, so we can simulate possible outcomes to choose how to act.
BI 086 Ken Stanley: Open-Endedness
Ken and I discuss open-endedness, the pursuit of ambitious goals by seeking novelty and interesting products instead of advancing directly toward defined objectives. We talk about evolution as a prime example of an open-ended system that has produced astounding organisms, Ken relates how open-endedness could help advance artificial intelligence and neuroscience, and we discuss a range of topics related to the general concept of open-endedness, and Ken takes a couple questions from Stefan Leijnen and Melanie Mitchell.
BI 085 Ida Momennejad: Learning Representations
Ida and I discuss the current landscape of reinforcement learning in both natural and artificial intelligence, and how the old story of two RL systems in brains - model-free and model-based - is giving way to a more nuanced story of these two systems constantly interacting and additional RL strategies between model-free and model-based to drive the vast repertoire of our habits and goal-directed behaviors. We discuss Ida’s work on one of those “in-between” strategies, the successor representation RL strategy, which maps onto brain activity and accounts for behavior. We also discuss her interesting background and how it affects her outlook and research pursuit, and the role philosophy has played and continues to play in her thought processes.
Depth and breadth
This awesome podcast asks the central questions in computational neuroscience to some of its most reputable proponents, with flair and critical insight.