I finally discovered what I want to be when I grow up.
I am going to be an Intelligence Engineer.
The two years of Study in 2005-06 unearthed a deep passion for Engineering Intelligence and suggested some avenues to explore.
There are scores of intellectual giants who have worked on this task and their contributions are both daunting and inadequate. There is an infitesimal chance that I can make a worthwhile contribution, and I probably will not live long enough anyway, but I find the prospect intoxicating none-the-less.
When one goes digging for gold it makes little sense to dig where every-body else is digging because the competition will be intense and the pickings tiny. Neither does it make sense to dig in some random location because the odds will be long. But dig one must.
When I surveyed the field of Artificial Intelligence I was impressed by the ingenuity in the field. At the same time, it appeared to be far to rigid to underpin "real world" intelligence. Search and reasoning play dominant roles in many of the AI techniques but neither appeared promising to me.
I spent rather more time surveying the field of Cognitive Neuroscience. I was stunned by the complexity that abounds at every level in a brain. Evolutionary Neuroscience served only to deepened my realisation that a brain (nay a whole organism) is not a modular device but a intricate conglomeration of "tricks" that just happened to be successful at the time, in Darwin's evolutionary game. There was also another important realisation - the development of a normal brain, in an infant, is profoundly dependent on the information available from the environment during development, rather than just the DNA "blueprint" provided by the parents.
Clearly species that developed brains gained a significant survival advantage. I think, that this initial advantage was the ability to exploit time. The ability to predict the future in terms of resources and dangers, and to act pre-emptively.
It seems to me that traditional Engineering approaches are inadequate for the task and that Self-organising systems will need to be harnessed.
Enough of my dismissive, arrogant and unlikely dreams. To work.......
Check out my Library because that is about all I have to show for my efforts so far.