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How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed | [Ray Kurzweil]

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed

Ray Kurzweil, the bold futurist and author of the New York Times best seller The Singularity Is Near, is arguably today’s most influential technological visionary. A pioneering inventor and theorist, he has explored for decades how artificial intelligence can enrich and expand human capabilities. Now, in his much-anticipated How to Create a Mind, he takes this exploration to the next step: reverse-engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works, then applying that knowledge to create vastly intelligent machines.
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Publisher's Summary

Ray Kurzweil, the bold futurist and author of the New York Times best seller The Singularity Is Near, is arguably today’s most influential technological visionary. A pioneering inventor and theorist, he has explored for decades how artificial intelligence can enrich and expand human capabilities. Now, in his much-anticipated How to Create a Mind, he takes this exploration to the next step: reverse-engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works, then applying that knowledge to create vastly intelligent machines.

Drawing on the most recent neuroscience research, his own research and inventions in artificial intelligence, and compelling thought experiments, he describes his new theory of how the neocortex (the thinking part of the brain) works: as a self-organizing hierarchical system of pattern recognizers. Kurzweil shows how these insights will enable us to greatly extend the powers of our own mind and provides a road map for the creation of super-intelligence - humankind’s most exciting next venture. We are now at the dawn of an era of radical possibilities in which merging with our technology will enable us to effectively address the world’s grand challenges.

How to Create a Mind is certain to be one of the most widely discussed and debated science books in many years - a touchstone for any consideration of the path of human progress.

©2012 Ray Kurzweil (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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  •  
    Patrick J. Leonard Denver, CO USA 03-06-15
    Patrick J. Leonard Denver, CO USA 03-06-15
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    "Another great Kurzweil book"

    I've been looking forward to the successor to singularity. This really inspired me to think bigger about strong AI applications

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luke Stewart Birmingham, AL 07-15-14
    Luke Stewart Birmingham, AL 07-15-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Highly Insightful and Engaging"
    What made the experience of listening to How to Create a Mind the most enjoyable?

    I work in a research lab which studies rodent models of human brain disorders.Many of the themes and people in the book I have heard of and read some of their work. It was good to hear about this work from RK who approaches the brain and mind from a computer based understanding as opposed to my biologically driven perspective.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The most compelling aspect of this book for me was the creative analogies that RK uses to describe the processes that govern neural computation, many of which serve as the basis for modern computers. Similarly, modern computer engineering and design has helped us reverse engineer some of the complexities of the brain. Simply fascinating.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Not sure if it's a 'scene' but the description of the cortical column and the consolidation and allocation of memories in the brain was my favorite part.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    TW Ervin II Ohio, USA 06-30-14
    TW Ervin II Ohio, USA 06-30-14 Member Since 2012
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    "An interesting listen"
    Any additional comments?

    I found this book to be interesting, but it was one that I had to pay close attention or I'd have to skip back, as the author builds upon his ideas discussed.

    Not a good book for listening to while multi-tasking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Tony san diego, ca 08-25-13
    Tony san diego, ca 08-25-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Monumental, transparent, translucent, transcendent"
    What did you love best about How to Create a Mind?

    Kurzweil tackles one of the biggest scientific mysteries our our ages: How to build a synthetic mind. Instead of descending into mumbo jumbo, touchy feely nonsense, he sets forth a vision that makes a lot of sense, even to sophisticated practitioners. Sure, I think he over simplified the solution, but he gives enough specific hypothesis that one could spend decades fleshing out, refuting, refining his ideas.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Create a Mind?

    All of it


    What about Christopher Lane’s performance did you like?

    Excellent, extremely pleasant to listen to his voice. Slightly arrogant which suits the material in the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Well, the only downside is that Lane mispronounced a few words... especially "von Neumann" repeatedly (saying "von New--man" which is simply not correct. This really bugged me. Clearly Kurzweil did not review the entire performance before giving his ok.

    Otherwise his performance was great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth LEESBURG, VA, United States 06-29-13
    Kenneth LEESBURG, VA, United States 06-29-13 Member Since 2010

    Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.

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    "Almost Brilliant, Almost Antiquated, Not Anything"

    I’m a fan of Kurtzweil. I find his book The Singularity is Near to be an essential part of any modern education. He is also the most financially successful Artificial Inelegance (AI) researcher to date. So he’s a great philosopher, a great researcher, and a great businessmen, but apparently he’s not infallible, because this book missed the mark.

    In a nutshell his answer to the question, “How do you/we make a mind” is “The same way we’ve been trying for the last 30 years”. This answer is so close to brilliant it’s spooky. I think there have been profound changes in AI over the last 5 or 6 years. Big data is suddenly revealing (or at least strongly suggesting) that we in fact may have been making pretty good synthetic minds for decades and just didn’t know it. The problem has been that having made a good synthetic mind we don’t know how to educate it. At the same time (because of advances in AI) we may be on the cusp of discovering that we don’t know how to educate biological minds either (and have been making nearly the same mistakes as the AI community has been making). In this book Kurzweil presents much of the data in support of this argument, and then walks away from what to me seemed the logical conclusion.

    To make matters worse his overview of 30 years of AI is quite narrow. One might get the impression that he believes that Multi-Layer Hidden Markov Models are all that is needed. Perhaps in some since any of a dozen AI methods are sufficient, in the same since that Truing Machines are sufficient, but the field of synthetic mind creation is much richness than presented here, as the author must have known.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Ottawa, ON, Canada 03-26-13
    Matthew Ottawa, ON, Canada 03-26-13 Member Since 2014

    Avid audiobook addict!

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    "Extremely dry."

    I'm interested in the concept of Artificial Intelligence and thought this book might be interesting because of the author having a name that I'd heard many times in reference to AI, predictions of the future, etc. Instead, it was incredibly boring as the author drones on and on about computer history and inserts a whole bunch of plugs for his various companies.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer Fallon, NV, United States 03-25-13
    Amazon Customer Fallon, NV, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2010
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    "A very sick mind"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The author lives in a fantasy land. He thinks that he will be able to transfer his mind into a machine.


    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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