That’s really interesting, I haven’t thought about this much, but it seems very plausible and big if true (though I am likely biased as a Cognitive Science student). Do you think this might be turned into a concrete question to forecast for the Metaculus crowd, i.e. “Reverse-engineering neocortex algorithms will be the first way we get AGI”? The resolution might get messy if an org like DeepMind, with their fair share of computational neuroscientists, will be the ones who get there first, right?
Yeah I think it would be hard to pin down. Obviously AGI will resemble neocortical algorithms in some respects, and obviously it will be different in some respects. For example, the neocortex uses distributed representations, deep neural nets use distributed representations, and the latter was historically inspired by the former, I think. And conversely, no way AGI will have synaptic vesicles! In my mind this probabilistic programming system with no neurons—https://youtu.be/yeDB2SQxCEs—is “more like the neocortex” than a ConvNet, but that’s obviously just a particular thing I have in mind, it’s not an objective assessment of how brain-like something is. Maybe a concrete question would be “Will AGI programmers look back on the 2010s work of people like Dileep George, Randall O’Reilly, etc. as being an important part of their intellectual heritage, or just 2 more of the countless thousands of CS researchers?” But I dunno, and I’m not sure if that’s a good fit for Metaculus anyway.