On Intelligence

On Intelligence

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Jeff Hawkins, With Sandra Blakeslee

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  • Publisher: St Martin's Press
  • Format: Paperback | 262 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 210mm x 17mm | 160g
  • Publication date: 1 August 2005
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0805078533
  • ISBN 13: 9780805078534
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 25,956

Product description

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.

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Author information

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.

Customer reviews

By Vlad Tamas 12 Mar 2011 5

Neuroscience is steadily unraveling the inner workings of the brain. However, it doesn't have all the answers on how it actually works. The field has managed to collect a huge amount of testable data on the subject, but provides no usable framework for understanding the how's and the why's of the human brain as a whole.

Jeff Hawkins does an excellent job of explaining the facts that are already out there and presents, in a really easy to follow manner, his view of how to fill in the gaps. Hawkins doesn't claim to have all the correct answers, but his ideas are the kind that make you feel like you've known them the whole time but just weren't able to express them. He uses everyday examples that are easy to relate to and that make understanding difficult concepts effortless. This provides a totally new and ground-breaking way of thinking about natural/human and artificial/computer intelligence that leaves off with the thought that computer systems, as they are currently being designed (as Turing machines), will never become truly intelligent, but could if we redesigned their fundamental concepts based on Hawkins' framework.

This book has changed the way I see the world. In any given situation, I almost feel like I'm aware of the actions my brain undertakes to present me with a coherent picture of my reality, from visual input to sensory stimulation to memory storage and recall.

Really excellent book. I recommend it to anyone!

Review quote

""On Intelligence will have a big impact; everyone should read it. In the same way that Erwin Schrodinger'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