On Intelligence: How a New Understanding of the Brain will Lead to the Creation of Truly Intelligent Machines
Sandra Blakeslee, Jeff Hawkins
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From the inventor of the PalmPilot comes a new and compelling theory of intelligence, brain function, and the future of intelligent machines
Jeff Hawkins, the man who created the PalmPilot, Treo smart phone, and other handheld devices, has reshaped our relationship to computers. Now he stands ready to revolutionize both neuroscience and computing in one stroke, with a new understanding of intelligence itself.
Hawkins develops a powerful theory of how the human brain works, explaining why computers are not intelligent and how, based on this new theory, we can finally build intelligent machines.
The brain is not a computer, but a memory system that stores experiences in a way that reflects the true structure of the world, remembering sequences of events and their nested relationships and making predictions based on those memories. It is this memory-prediction system that forms the basis of intelligence, perception, creativity, and even consciousness.
In an engaging style that will captivate audiences from the merely curious to the professional scientist, Hawkins shows how a clear understanding of how the brain works will make it possible for us to build intelligent machines, in silicon, that will exceed our human ability in surprising ways.
Written with acclaimed science writer Sandra Blakeslee, On Intelligence promises to completely transfigure the possibilities of the technology age. It is a landmark book in its scope and clarity.
machines that behave just like humans—that is, to pass the Turing Test in all ways—then you probably would have to recreate much of the other stuff that makes humans what we are. But as we will see later, to build machines that are undoubtedly intelligent but not exactly like humans, we can focus on the part of the brain strictly related to intelligence. To those who may be offended by my singular focus on the neocortex, let me say I agree that other brain structures, such as the brain stem,
sensory information passes into “association areas,” which is the name sometimes used for the regions of the cortex that receive inputs from more than one sense. For example, your cortex has areas that receive input from both vision and touch. It is thanks to association regions that you are able to be aware that the sight of a fly crawling up your arm and the tickling sensation you feel there share the same cause. Most of these areas receive highly processed input from several senses, and their
mobile computing. In the high-tech world of Silicon Valley, I am known for starting two companies, Palm Computing and Handspring, and as the architect of many handheld computers and cell phones such as the PalmPilot and the Treo. But I have a second passion that predates my interest in computers—one I view as more important. I am crazy about brains. I want to understand how the brain works, not just from a philosophical perspective, not just in a general way, but in a detailed nuts and bolts
solve this new equation using the same techniques I used successfully on the old equation.” She is able to solve the problem by analogy to a previously learned problem. It is a creative act. My father had a mysterious blood disorder that his physicians could not diagnose. So how did they know what treatment to offer? One of the things they did was to look at months of data taken from analyses of my father’s blood to see if they could identify patterns. (My father printed a beautiful chart so the
hold the handle bar and push the pedals, but I can’t explain exactly how to do it. How to balance a bicycle has mostly to do with neural activity in the old brain, so it is not a declarative memory. I have a little thought experiment to show how our everyday notion of consciousness is the same as forming declarative memories. Recall that all memory is believed to reside in physical changes to synapses and the neurons they connect to. Therefore, if I had a method to reverse those physical