“How to Create a Mind” by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil's new book

Ray Kurzweil’s new book “How to Create a Mind: The Secrets of Human Thought Revealed”

Can you reverse engineer the human brain? When will we have computers that replicates or ventures beyond human intelligence? Will computers ever become conscious beings? What is “intelligence”? What is “consciousness”? Are we humans installed with a free will, and if this is so, how does this apply to computers?

These are indeed deep questions that are tough to answer. But in his book “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed”, Ray Kurzweil comes up with intriguingly simple and intuitive answers though admittedly through complex analysis of areas such physics, chemistry, neuro- and computerscience where many – me included – will struggle to assess whether his is right or wrong.

What strikes me as truly different about Kurzweil’s analysis and conclusions are that they are made by a person who has extensive technical and indeed commercial experience with creating artificial intelligence (AI). As opposed to most other treaties on the subject that are made by 100% theoreticians that find their empiri in the vacuum of a laboratory. Kurzweil has succesfully applied his research and work to create voice recognition software based on AI. His inventions partly form the basis of a lot of widely used speech recognition applications such as Apple’s Siri.

Kurzweil’s core thesis is that the type of intelligence that distinguishes humans from other mammals is to be found in the workings of the neocortex. The neocortex is the outer layer of the cerebral hemispheres. The human neocortex is vastly larger than that of other mammals. All other animals than mammals do simply not have a neocortex. The neocortex holds neurons. A neuron is an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information through electrical and chemical signals. Kurzweil argues that these neurons serve as pattern recognizing modules linked together through dendrites and are exchanging information through electrical and chemical signals (“firing”).

The pattern recognizers are organized hierarchically. Lower level pattern recognizing modules hold information about “simple” things such a curves and edges and other shapes. The higher the level of hierarchy the more abstract the patterns. The many different pattern recognizers are organized in a hierarchy – explains Kurzweil – by algorithms based on Hidden Markov models (a mathematical concept that I do not fathom). When we perceive and try to make sense, our brains process information by these pattern hierarchies through a process of massive parallel computing. However, Kurzweil’s comparison to computer science and architecture does not end there. He also draw on the concept of redundancy and Shannon’s theorem on information, the works of Turing and von Neumann and much more.

As a layman I cannot assess whether Kurzweil has solved one of the great mystery of life: How does the brain work? Intuitively, however, I find his ideas to be an important step in the right direction. His very pragmatic approach makes his case even more plausible. As a believer in science, an optimistic rationalist and a big fan of Darwin, this book has had me subscribe to Kurzweil’s Pattern Recognition Theory of the Mind (PRTM).

If you have read other Kurzweil books and writing on the Singularity and his Law of Accelerating Returns, you will not find “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed” a difficult read. For non-technical newbies it might be too complicated. That being said, I have no training with the natural science, including mathematics, and to me the book was a very enjoyable reading experience. I highly recommend “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed” to everybody interested in our brains.

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JustEat raises another 64 million USD

Just-Eat, final fantasy 14 gil an European online food delivery service, asics tiger uomo with Danish origins announced 30 April 2012 that it had raised additional $64 million round of funding. Asics Gel Quantum 360 Femme Just-Eat acts as the middleman for restaurants and helps them take orders online. New Balance 373 homme Its third round of financing is led by the private equity group Vitruvian Partners (OpenBet, Asics Gel Lyte 5 Femme Rouge Unicom) , Nike Air Max Thea Homme Bleu along with follow-ons from existing investors including Index, Greylock and Redpoint. Adidas Zx Flux Homme Grise Danish CEO, Klaus Nyengaard, Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 homme has stated in a blog post that the new money will be used to expand its business in new market: “But there are so many growth opportunities out there in terms of new countries, consolidation/M&A opportunities, new technologies etc.

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Danish EG acquires Norwegian NaviCom

EG-NaviCom logo

EG-NaviCom logo

The Danish EG group owned by venture capital firm Nordic Capital has through its ownership of Danish IT service company, adidas stan smith homme bleu EG AS, adidas zx 750 femme acquired the Norwegian IT company, New Balance 530 homme NaviCom AS. Asics Gel Lyte 3 Femme Grise This was announced on 5 January 2012. New Balance ct suede gum homme EG is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of business solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics which expands its Norwegian activities with the acquisition of NaviCom AS. Adidas Superstar Femme Fleur NaviCom supplies a sector-specific solution also based on Microsoft Dynamics AX and NAV. nike air max thea donna In the last quarter of 2011 EG acquired Thy Data A/S.

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Danish TRAEN acquired by Swedish Formpipe

  7 May 2012 it was announced that Formpipe, ugg bailey bling uk a listed Swedish company, cheap jordans uk for sale signed a binding agreement with DKA Capital to acquire TRAEN, ugg boots for cheap a Danish IT businesses developing and implementing digitalisation solutions for the public sector According to the firms’ announcement, new balance 580 the transaction makes Formpipe a leading Nordic player in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) segment. womens air jordan Formpipe plans to use TRAEN’s expertise and standard systems in a major Nordic expansion drive, while also growing its position in the Danish market. Air Jordan 12 Baskets Founded in 1998, cheap adidas TRAEN provides digital solutions to more than 20 Danish ministries and government agencies as well as 40 municipalities and regional authorities. buty nike TRAEN’s solutions are used by about 50,000 employees in the public sector and by 500,000 citizens and businesses using digital self-service and are also used to process around DKK 20 billion in public grants annually. nike soldes running The parties have agreed on a price for TRAEN of DKK 252 million, ugg boots sale reflecting an EBITDA in 2011 of DKK 38.7 million. The selling price gives DKA Capital about a 5x return on investment over a period of a little more than three years since acquiring TRAEN in early 2009.

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