A senseless shape recognition model

Commentary — In a CNET News story on research from Charles Peck and James Kozloski of IBM’s Biometaphorical Computing team, in which the two demonstrate a computing algorithm that thinks like an animal, I bumped into the following statement:

Ideally, the algorithm could one day help scientists more fully understand the underlying processing that takes place when people see things. In a nutshell, an image is received, decomposed into color, shape, texture and other attributes and then reassembled, prompting the animal to change its behavior.

The above model is widely accepted in cognitive science and computer science, yet it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever — to me at least. To understand what bugs me, assume for a moment that you were seeing your environment by identifying colors, shapes and so on: How do you know a shape is a shape in the first place? Absurd.