(These are more snippets of thought, rather than a guideline for design, or philosophy to shape construction of my project.)
We must assume that physical evolution does not have an intellectual intent. If we assume physics - micro, macro, nuclear, cosmic, quantum, others - will naturally dictate that
1 - matter will organize, and
2 - energy will dissipate, and
3 - all will have varying degrees of casual, reactive, probabilistic and 'random' influences,


given enough time, matter, energy and space: organizations of matter *must* occur that will take any and every possible form.
This will include (our definition of) sentient, organic beings that resemble - us!
And this *must* happen multiple times.

2013 - At this time, scientists are coming to an agreement that our universe has more than what we ever thought it had, and that most of *that* isn't even the universe that we thought we had been living and interacting with for the last 20,0001  years. With dark matter and dark energy accounting for over 95% of our galaxy, we have learned only that we have a lot to learn. Even competing theories that are approaching more and more credibility (at least, their model has a 5-fold reduction in measured error to the dark energy theories at this time) still indicate that there is far more unknown than known about our universe. So, my conclusion: lots and lots of 'thingies' out there to be moving around and organizing in ways that we can't begin to predict. There should be no surprise that we are here. The surprise (to me) is to think that there is any possibility that we are unique.
Humans try to associate anything to everything from before birth. Survival: especially in a social world. Your life depends on pleasing someone for at least 2 years, even if you had abundant accessible food immediately available at your grasp. So, we associate. Crying (or not crying): when hungry, when soiled, when challenged, threatened, exposed, surprised – anything. The interpretation by the care giver is – social. Taught and trained by each in the society, each (baby and care giver) is raised and trained within.
Any stimulus, any need, anything is an opportunity to try to discover or invent a relationship between
that ITEM and … any item in the past, any need perceived, any desire or goal in the future.
We do this automatically, without thought. If it does not happen while conscious, it will happen when unconscious. It will happen when awake or sleeping.
Even when there is no relationship in fact: we will try to form a relationship. The less that a true relationship exists, and valid information on the topic exists - the more variety of relationship may be formed in opinion. And, typically, the more fervently the opinion will be defended. This is a belief.
Normally, the more information collected about a topic, the more the relationship is molded toward the reality of the relationship. Frequently, this will lead to gaps in belief sets.
Over time, two things happen:
1 – a person develops behavior that is successful enough that he does not need to learn more
2 – beliefs are developed that reconcile knowledge, behavior and observation

Under case 1:
Maslow's hierarchy of needs and other needs systems == some people stop learning early, some never stop
Under case 2:
Typically, people continue to modify their belief set as they learn. This is a social world. This may mean that a person may approach a more 'correct' view of his universe. Or not. Progress may mean stability – or instability. Or it may mean present prosperity, at the cost of examination of the truth of current beliefs. If it is unsafe to express diverging opinions in the present culture, then the older generation will be reluctant to share their corrected views with the younger generation. Things will stagnate. As the gap in perceived reality and overt cultural teaching widens, unrest will increase. Young people DO think, after all. You go to sleep, and your mind still wants everything to be in agreement.

Everything happens within context. If it is out of context, then we don't know enough about it.
Even when we do not have prior knowledge of an item or event, then the delivery is the minimum context surrounding that item.
A context will be created between any two items or events when more than one item or event exists. The human intellect and drive to survive insists on this. Even when there is no common context between two items, a context will be created.
This would be a true random context. The human intellect cannot accept a random context. If the valid relationship cannot be accepted by a person because of prior beliefs, a new one will be invented. This will be a new belief. If conflicts exist within current beliefs, doubts will arise.
Usually, simple pattern recognition yields a satisfactory belief set. Satisfactory means that needs are met. This is as true for crying when hungry as it is to not arguing with the boss, going to school to get a better job, or quitting to become an artist. Needs can vary from person to person, society to society, epoch to epoch, young age to old age.
A large, older population means that more diverse patterns can be successfully held within the current belief set. More leisure means that less time and energy must be devoted to simple survival needs. More education means that less time and energy must be devoted to learning basic survival skills. Result: more 'absolutes' will be uncovered. If presented to a next generation, the 'floor' of the starting point for learning expands. Imperfect teaching/learning, along with gaps in knowledge and imperfections in societies' use of knowledge, will ensure that someone will NOT be content with a present day understanding of how it all works.
Someone will want to know more. Someone will not believe his teacher.


We learn by association. That simple. An association exists or it does not. Unfortunately for people, one will be created even when one does not really exist. This is how we bridge gaps in our knowledge.

But usually, we have some reason for the association. Even if it is coincidence in time. Even if we don't know why, we can learn that it seems to happen the same time every day. From there, we can postulate, experiment, observe, test, or imagine why an association exists.
When the item/event is perceived to be associated with survival, learning is rapid. Motivation. The survival relationship may be physical, social, imaginary.
Higher intelligence is the ability to more quickly arrive at an association that yields a more successful behavior, and additionally, discard previous associations that were less successful.

   1Mostly my opinion and observations: Whatever 'human' might be defined as, really, it is culture that any of us care about. No one will re-observe his world in learning how close we are to a snail, and few will alter their behavior at learning how many million years ago our family diverged from the tree of the chimpanzees. The peak of the last glacial period was about 26,000 years ago. All 'humans' were forced into refugee areas (climatically speaking) where they could find sustenance. Whatever culture they may have had, several things were true: lower sea levels, much smaller north-to-south travel distances possible, and it had been that way for over 5,000 years. We are finding today that the oldest  evidence of organized 'culture' reaches a little over 20,000 years. While there may have been teachings at that time (20,000 years ago) that extended from beyond that glaciation period, likelyhood that any has survived as a basis for any teachings today (meaning, last 5000 years) are slight.

2You will not often get external references. Don't look for them. If you doubt, go look it up yourself and form your own opinion.
If you simply believe, you are foolish.

More likely, you don't care. That's OK, too. My thought, ultimately, about general AI: We will achieve general AI: a machine will 'think.' My expectation: an machine with IQ around 65 will probably outperform a human in a short time. Less interference in relearning the correct method to an answer. Not lazy in letting assumptions force a too speedy answer.