The Dynamic Memory View

Every time you use your memory, you change it. When you read about Bosnia in the newspaper, it helps you learn enough so that you can read tomorrow's Bosnia story too. In the work we did in AI at Yale in the 1970's, we had been trying to avoid working on learning because, as we didn't even know what people knew, it seemed premature to attempt to understand how they changed what they knew. What we discovered was that it was unrealistic to work on static memory structures because such structures really didn't exist in people.

So, instead of viewing memory as a warehouse for static structures, we instead began to see it as a workhouse. The notion of a "dynamic memory" implies that memory structures are not shipped off for use by some outside process, but instead employ internal processes. Each of the structures actively proposes expectations, and then tracks what comes next to see whether the expectations are fulfilled or not. The structures not only provide knowledge, they update that knowledge. They are the nexus of learning. Memory certainly is a place where we store knowledge, but it is much more. It is a place where we process knowledge, dynamically changing what we know by the processing we do.

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