Re: "Boy with Incredible Brain"

From: Dani Eder (
Date: Wed Mar 22 2006 - 05:44:11 MST

> This kind of thing isn't sl4 to me. Interesting, but
> not I think holding
> great promise for AI research.

Testing of savants like Kim Peek has revealed that
they lack a "relevance filter" that attaches a most
probable meaning to things. For example the phrase

Paris in the
the spring

is often read by normal people as "Paris in the
while savants are more likely to catch the double

Filtering the wealth of data our senses present for
the most probable/relevant items may have evolved
to deal with an environment that didn't change much,
and could eat you if you aren't paying attention
to important clues.

In our modern civilization, seeing things the way
they really are rather than the way we think they
should be might be a better strategy, so lowering
the filters could be useful.

If the difference between savants and the rest of
us is how their brains are wired, not much could be
done in the near term to emulate their abilities.
If, however the difference is biochemical, it might
be amenable to drugs or other things we can make
use of in the near term.

The other question is whether Kim Peek's ability
to remember everything he has ever read is
superceded by Google. i.e. if savant abilities
can be effectively implemented by computers, then
us normals can effectively gain those abilities
by using the computers.


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