I have been following Dileep George's new blog, and he made a couple of responses to posts by myself and Dave (perhaps the same Dave who occasionally posts here).
In my post, I asked Dileep how the traditional tree-shaped hierarchy can explain the vast number of qualities that can come into play when we recognise, for instance, a shoe. For example, when we see a shoe, we recognize that it is a certain color, a certain texture, has a certain design on it, and many other features. In other words, recognizing one object requires the brain to have connections to a number of other invariant representations of different types of objects and concepts. In my mind, I couldn't see how a simple tree structured hierarchy could represent this complexity, and Dileep confirmed that I was correct, stating that the brain likely has a number of different hierarchies that communicate with one another. Since that time, I will say that I think that I was mixing up how we recognize a particular instantiation of a shoe with how we recognize the invariant representation of "shoe" that is stored in the brain. The simple tree-shaped hierarchy might be sufficient to store the invariant "shoe" concept while not working to recognize a particular shoe.
Dave's question to Dileep focused on whether a single HTM network could recognize both an object (such as a shoe) and an action (like running or walking). Surprisingly to me, Dileep answered that you would need two separate HTM networks to handle two separate types of knowledge. My conclusion how is that the simple traditional tree shaped hierarchy is not sufficient even to represent all invariant concepts known by the brain, much less the particular instantiations of those representations that we learn (i.e. particular faces of persons as opposed to the general idea of "face").
This goes to show that even if Numenta's new algorithms have licked the problem of how the brain learns within a region and does inference, figuring out how the brain as a whole learns many types of objects and concepts, both invariantly and specifically, and how it ties all of this knowledge together in the amazing way that our brain works, is still something that we are only beginning to figure out.