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Herb Simon's cognitive psych lectures at Carnegie Mellon always started with this same observation of how slow neurons are. He emphasized how bad we are at reasoning logically and how good we are at associative tasks. His and Allen Newell's work on AI in the early 1960s led to the SOAR project, which models thinking as a big production system that caches effective sequences of inferential steps for later re-use. Simon also used to say that it took about 10 years to accumulate a large enough cache to be considered an expert in something.