The machine-like functioning of the brain dissected
“If a machine can prove indistinguishable from a human, we should award it the respect we would to a human — we should accept that it has a mind”
The following is a review of the book How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil.
In How to Create a Mind, Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, exposes his theory of the functioning of the brain, based on the existence of hierarchical pattern recognisers, from which we project reality from its lowest level of abstraction to its highest dimension. You have probably noticed that I have used the term “his theory”.
This is because even tough in the last decade there have been some amazing achievements in the fields of neurology and neuroscience, there is still a lot of fog around our knowledge of the brain, and for this reason what is described in this text is no more than that; a theory.
Throughout the book we can find many analogies between the underlying processes that are carried out inside our brains, and the fundamental processes that sustain a wide variety of technologies, mainly machine learning based, like virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri, or self driving cars for example.
There are a lot more similarities between the approximately 350 gram mass that we have inside our heads, and the computer from where this article has been written than we know of.
Kurzweil also exposes the improvement of human capabilities over the centuries with the use of technology: from the first axe that was used to cut a tree to the smartphone that we all carry around nowadays, and that are basically an extension of our own body. Who knows, maybe in a couple of decades we will use devices similar to these but that are directly integrated into our biology.
Lastly, to end the book, there are a couple of chapters dedicated to the philosophical and metaphysical aspects of the mind like consciousness, free will, or the concept of identity.
Although being oriented towards a reader with a technical background or interest, this book can definitely be enjoyed by anybody who wishes to wonder into how the brain could work, and to enter the mind of one of the greatest technological thinkers of our time.
“Because important things come in a case, you’ve got a skull for your brain, a plastic sleeve for your comb, and a wallet for your money”
Have a good read and enjoy Artificial Intelligence!
How to Create a mind, by Ray Kurzweil.
- Penguin Books
- Kurzweil, Ray (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 352 Pages - 08/27/2013 (Publication Date) - Penguin Books (Publisher)
If you are interested in more Artificial Intelligence books like this one, take a look at our books section!
Thank you for reading How to Learn Machine Learning, and have a fantastic day!