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How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed Hardcover – Nov 13 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st Edition edition (Nov. 13 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670025291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670025299
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.5 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By James Aung Thin on March 12 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A breath-taking read for anyone interested in AI. Now for the analytical dissection of the content's claims.This may take a long time
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By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 19 2013
Format: Hardcover
Ever since I read “Singularity is Near” I’ve been fascinated by Ray Kurzweil – his wirings, ideas, a predictions. He’s not been afraid to go on the limb and make some brave and seemingly outlandish forecasts about the upcoming technological advances and their oversize impact on people and society. One of the main reasons why I always found his predictions credible is that they can, in a nutshell, be reduced to just a couple of seemingly simple observations: 1. Information-technological advances are happening exponentially, and 2. Information technology in particular is driving all the other technological and societal changes. The rest, to put it rather crudely, are the details.

In “How to Create a Mind” Kurzweil zeroes in on just one scientific/technological project – creating a functioning replica of the human mind. He uses certain insights from information technology and neurology to propose his own idea of what human mind (and by extension human intelligence) are all about, and to propose how to go about emulating it “in silico.” Here too Kurzweil reduces a seemingly intractable problem that the humanity has grappled with for millennia to just a couple of overarching insights. In his view the essence of virtually all cognitive processes can be reduced to the scientific paradigm of “pattern recognition” – an ability of computational agent to identify and classify patterns. And the information theoretical and engineering tool for emulating the kind of pattern recognition that goes on in a mind is the mathematical technique called “hierarchical hidden Markov chains” (HHMS). What gives Kurzweil confidence about this insight and this kind of approach are the successes that he has had in starting and marketing companies which used HHMS for speech and character recognition.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Nov. 17 2012
Format: Hardcover
The title of my review is based on this passage in the Introduction, one in which Ray Kurzweil discusses recent neuroscience research that will, eventually, reveal the secret of human thought: "In this book, I present a thesis I call the pattern recognition theory of mind (PRTM), which, I argue, describes the basic algorithm of the neocortex (the region of the brain responsible for perception, memory, and critical thinking)...I describe how recent neuroscience research, as well as our own thought experiments, leads to the inescapable conclusion that this method is used consistently across the neocortex. The implication of the PRTM combined with the LOAR [i.e. the law of accelerating returns] is that we will be able to engineer these principles to vastly extend the powers of our own intelligence."

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye:

o Riding on a Light Beam (Pages 18-24)
o A Hierarchy of Patterns (35-41)
o The Language of Thought (66-69)
o The Sensory Pathway (94-101)
o Creativity (113-117)
o Neural Nets (131-135)
o Evolutionary (Genetic) Algorithms (147-153)
o A Strategy for Creating a Mind (172-178)
o You Gotta Have Faith (209-215)
o Paul Allen's objections to Kurtzweil's PRTM theory (266-270)

Kurtzweil is convinced -- and, in my opinion, explains convincingly -- that "there are no images, videos, or sound recordings stored in the brain. Our memories are stored as sequences of patterns. Memories that are not accessed [and activated] time over time." Moreover, We can recognize a pattern even if only part of it is perceived (seen heard, felt) and even if it contains alterations.
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