- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (Aug. 1 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805078533
- ISBN-13: 978-0805078534
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #114,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
On Intelligence: How a New Understanding of the Brain Will Lead to the Creation of Truly Intelligent Machines Paperback – Jul 14 2005
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“On Intelligence will have a big impact; everyone should read it. In the same way that Erwin Schrödinger's 1943 classic What is Life? made how molecules store genetic information then the big problem for biology, On Intelligence lays out the framework for understanding the brain.” ―James D. Watson, president, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Nobel laureate in Physiology
“Brilliant and embued with startling clarity. On Intelligence is the most important book in neuroscience, psychology, and artificial intelligence in a generation.” ―Malcolm Young, neurobiologist and provost, University of Newcastle
“Read this book. Burn all the others. It is original, inventive, and thoughtful, from one of the world's foremost thinkers. Jeff Hawkins will change the way the world thinks about intelligence and the prospect of intelligent machines.” ―John Doerr, partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
About the Author
Jeff Hawkins is one of the most successful and highly regarded computer architects and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. He founded Palm Computing and Handspring, and created the Redwood Neuroscience Institute to promote research on memory and cognition. Also a member of the scientific board of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, he lives in northern California.
Sandra Blakeslee has been writing about science and medicine for The New York Times for more than thirty years and is the co-author of Phantoms in the Brain by V. S. Ramachandran and of Judith Wallerstein's bestselling books on psychology and marriage. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.See all Product description
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But I suppose that is not the fault of the author, because we just dont understand the brain.
o Artificial intelligence
o Neural networks
o The structure and functions of the human brain
o A "new framework of intelligence" (more about that later)
o How the cortex works
o Consciousness and creativity
o Hawkins' thoughts about the future of intelligence
As Hawkins explains, his goal "is to explain [his] new theory of intelligence and how the brain works in a way that anybody will understand." However, I hasten to add, this is not a book written for dummies and idiots who wish to "fool" people into thinking they know and understand more than in fact they do.
Early on, Hawkins acknowledges his skepticism about artificial intelligence (AI) for reasons that are best explained within his narrative, in context. However, it can be said now that after extensive research, Hawkins concluded that three separate but related components are essential to understanding the brain: "My first criterion was the inclusion of time in brain function...The second criterion was the inclusion of feedback...The third criterion was that any theory or model of the brain should account for the physical architecture of the brain." AI capabilities, Hawkins notes, are severely limited in terms of (a) creating programs that replicate what the human mind can do, (b) must be perfect to work at all, and (c) AI "might lead to useful products, but it isn't going to build truly intelligence machines."
The material in Chapter 7, "Consciousness and Creativity," is of special interest to me as I continue to read recently published books that offer breakthrough insights on creativity, innovation, and the processes by which to develop them. (The authors of many of those books, to borrow from a 12th century French monk, Bernard of Chartres, are standing on Dawkins' "shoulders." It must be getting crowded up there.) Hawkins asserts that creativity does not require high intelligence and giftedness, and defines creativity as "making predictions by analogy, something that occurs everywhere in cortex and something you do continually while awake. Creativity occurs along a continuum...At a fundamental level, everyday acts of perception are similar to rare flights of brilliance. It's just that the everyday acts are so common we don't notice them." I call this phenomenon "the invisibility of the obvious."
I am among those who are curious to know the answers to questions such as "Why are some people more creative than others?" ""Can you train yourself to be more creative?" "What is consciousness?" and "What is imagination?" Hawkins has formulated answers to these and other questions and shares them in this chapter. He concludes the book with eleven predictions and #8 caught my eye: "Sudden understanding should result in a precise cascading of predictive activity that flows down the cortical hierarchy." In other words, revelations (whatever their nature and scope) help us, not only to connect dots but to connect those that are most important.
Hawkins presents a theory of how the brain makes predictions. Questions that are easily solved are solved at a lower level. If they cannot be solved, they move up to the next level -- something like. I'll let Hawkins explain it. He does a much better job.
"On Intelligence" could easily have been titled "How the Mind Works." In fact, that title is taken by another wonderful scientist and writer, Steven Pinker. The two books have very little in common after that. I highly recommend both.