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On Intelligence | [Jeff Hawkins, Sandra Blakeslee]

On Intelligence

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

The same man who created the Palm Pilot and other handheld devices criticizes contemporary technology for not learning more lessons from the greatest computer of all -- the human brain. Not stopping there, Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee go on to tackle the head-scratching subject of how our brains really work, and if artificial intelligence can ever truly catch up. But what really sets this listen apart is the passion with which the authors address the big questions about our brains.

After a solid intro from Hawkins, Stefan Rudnicki takes over the narrating reins. The effect is an audio program with a compelling ability to anticipate the question taking form in your own brain as you listen, then answer it with clarity and sincerity. That's a feat worthy of admiration.

Publisher's Summary

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.

Download the accompanying booklet of brain function illustrations, examples, and tests.

©2004 Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee; (P)2005 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[Hawkins's] argument is complex but comprehensible, and his curiosity will intrigue anyone interested in the lessons neurobiology may hold for AI." (Booklist)
"[Hawkins] fully anticipates, even welcomes, the controversy he may provoke within the scientific community and admits that he might be wrong, even as he offers a checklist of potential discoveries that could prove him right. His engaging speculations are sure to win fans." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1525 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Glenn A. Miller Pittsburgh 08-18-05
    Glenn A. Miller Pittsburgh 08-18-05 Listener Since 2005

    Programmer/Architect

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    2
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    "Ode to an Ego"

    The first 6 chapters are interesting enough but the last few spend their time reinforcing existing paradigms of computer intelligence.

    Look, Jeff. To create a brain, it will take a brain -- not a bunch of sensors who happen to excel at the mysterious "algorithm" you are so sold on. There is more to intelligence than simple data access through highly stylized pathways. That theory merely posits a better AI.

    To imitate life, a machine would have to conjur a picture out of memory on its own for no particular reason but to ponder.

    5 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Dallas, OR 06-24-05
    Mike Dallas, OR 06-24-05 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredible"

    Hawkins satisfied my deepest curiosity about how the brain actually does its job!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph PA, PA, USA 05-12-05
    Joseph PA, PA, USA 05-12-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    4
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    "What I forgot from college"

    I was a student in both psychology and computer science in AI's heyday of the early to mid 80's. This book is an encapsulation of the "pieces" from the various fields and theories from the world of cognitive science and reminded me of a lot of things that I had forgotten that had originally inspired me.

    Jeff Hawkings introduces a clear and unified way of thinking about how our minds work. The material is presented such that anyone can understand. It is also so clearly presented, that it conjures a lot of ?why didn?t I see this??.

    Not only is this full of examples and explanations (including downloadable figures), but it has enough rigor to the theory to present ways to test these theories. I liked his approach to this topic, explaining why previous ventures in AI didn?t work like they were hyped.

    As someone who worked on expert systems, I?m ready to go back to the drawing board and try to apply this theory.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy San Francisco, CA, USA 03-14-05
    Tracy San Francisco, CA, USA 03-14-05 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is an amazing book!"

    I have spent much of my life trying to understand brains and consciousness.
    The subject has facinated me... and driven my personal and professional
    work - which is releated to building a computer framework capable
    of efficently processing distributed invariant patterns, like those described
    in Jeff's book, "On Intelligence."

    Jeff Hawkins has given humanity a remarkable gift, in my opinion.
    For the first time a realistic brain-theory is available to us.
    His discussion and descriptions "ring true" to my way of thinking.
    The ideas presented are easy to understand by anyone.
    He has solved the problem of understanding exactly how the brain works.

    I really liked the reader of this book as well (Stephan Rudniki).
    As he was the same professional voice for the "Ender's Game" books..
    which I also really enjoyed. It was nice to be able to hear this
    book in a voice I already appreciated. He made the book all the more
    enjoyable. Now I've listened to this twice and purchased a hard-cover version.

    If you see this, Thank you Jeff!
    I will contact you soon. I believe you may be interested in the
    pattern-processing environment I have developed over the past decade.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Nashua, NH USA 03-08-05
    David Nashua, NH USA 03-08-05
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    "Great for anyone interested in how we think"

    Jeff Hawkings introduces a fresh and brilliant way of thinking about our own minds that anyone can understand. Full of examples and clear explinations he walks thru step by step every aspect of his thoughts and theories about intelligence and why we do the things we do. I especialy like that he takes an engineers aproach to this topic, explaining why previouse attempts at AI did not work and will continue not to work and how we can change our way of doing making machines so that we may one day be able to build intelligent machines.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Coto De Caza, CA, USA 07-22-05
    Michael Coto De Caza, CA, USA 07-22-05
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    8
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    "Outstanding."

    Thorough, clear, innovative, and easy to follow. Highly recommended.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blashy Québec, Canada 12-10-09
    Blashy Québec, Canada 12-10-09 Member Since 2015

    Membre since March 2008.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Much too technical"

    He should have taken a lesson from Bill Bryson's book a short history of nearly everything.

    I stopped a little over halfway.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Ammerman 12-10-07 Member Since 2012
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    48
    5
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    "intriguing"

    Interesting subject and good presentation. I gained a whole new understanding of our mind and the quest for AI.

    It has been the topic of many interesting conversations since I read this book.

    It is well read.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful

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