Can the strong AI/ Turing picture be extended to a plausible model of
all aspects of mind, such as understanding, creativity,
language, reasoning, learning, and consciousness? I propose 
a candidate realization as follows:

Meaning is the computational exploitation of the compact
underlying structure of the world, and mind is execution of an 
evolved program that is all about meaning. The computational 
learning literature has explained concept learning as stemming
from a formalized Occam's razor: a compact program (Occam explanation)
consistent with enough examples of a concept yields generalization to 
new examples. These results are extrapolated to the conjecture that 
meaning results from finding a compact enough program behaving 
effectively in the world; such a program can only be compact by 
virtue of code reuse, factoring into interacting modules that capture 
real concepts and are reused metaphorically or pleiotropically.
For a variety of reasons, including arguments based on complexity 
theory, developmental biology, evolutionary programming, 
ethology, and simple inspection, this compact Occam program 
is most naturally seen to be in the DNA, rather than the brain. 
The genome is the compact source code, the brain embodies its 
executable. Learning and reasoning are then fast and almost automatic
because they are constrained by the DNA programming to deal only 
with meaningful quantities. Evolution itself is argued to exploit 
meaning in related ways, explaining why it is so computationally 
efficient. Words are labels for meaningful computational modules, 
explaining why they are so rapidly learned. The differences between 
human and ape cognition are naturally viewed as largely due to nurture, 
stemming from massive programming that humans have 
accumulated over millenia on top of the DNA code-- the cumulative
discovery of new meaningful modules being made possible by language. 
The many aspects of consciousness are very naturally and consistently 
understood in this context. For example qualia (the way things 
feel subjectively) have exactly the appropriate nature and meaning 
that evolution coded in the DNA so that the compact program behaves 
effectively. This theory is consistent with vast data from a variety 
of fields and will continue to confront empirical tests as technology
progresses, for example in measuring gene expression, in brain imaging, 
and as new psychophysics experiments are proposed. This talk 
is based on the new, eponymous book (What is Thought? MIT press 2004)
and requires no prior familiarity with computer science.