Interdisciplinary Research is Essential
Brooks didnâ€™t â€˜inventâ€™ new AIâ€¦he translated cognitive processes into computation ones, and here is why:
Henry Molaison was a patient who in 1953 had 2/3 of his hippocampi (part of the brain responsible for memory) removed, during an attempt to cure his epilepsy.
He could not form new memories, however he could still develop new skills and had retained a very good spatial memory (he was able to remember the layout of his new house by remembering the movements/ proceduresÂ he did to get from one room to another). This eventually proved that spatial memory and motor skills occur in different neural structures than semantic and episodial memories.
Brooks paper on nodal mapping is a literal translation of this observation. He argues that the way forward in robotics is not to store paths and maps, but to store relationships between sensory events.
Why is Brooks a genius? (by my standards at leastâ€¦). Because he was able to look out of his comfort zone, and explore new fields in order to understand his own. For that, I salute you.