So, you know how the brain works?… Just do it!

By Massimiliano Versace | December 25, 2012

The nth+1 book on how the brain works has appeared, this time at the hand of Ray Kurzweil. How many books have been written to date that claim to finally have cracked the brain, and promise that, for a mere $18.36, you can read it all? One too many... This FREE Neurdon article will save your next $20.

Actually, a brilliant critique of Gary Marcus on The New Yorker says it all. I agree with all the arguments that Gary presents. The idea illustrated in the book, and in other books (e.g., On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins) are, in different proportions, re-chewed ideas that have been around in A.I., psychology, and neuroscience for decades.

Not only there is nothing new to the theory of the brain as a hierarchical patter recognition machine. Other than a new fancy name (once you name it, you own it!).

But here is a tip for Neurdon readers. Simple, and plain: do not buy a book that claims to tell you how the brain works. Why? It's obvious: if somebody really knew that, he/she would build it and do billions with it, since as Ray himself acknowledges “reverse-engineering the human brain may be regarded as the most important project in the universe.”

So, somebody really knows how to build a brain, the next thing to do is... go build it! There are plenty of good programmers out there in search of jobs, and wealthy individuals who know how to build a brain would have no issue in hiring a handle of them to implement the latest hierarchical pattern recognition machine.

Here we go, $20 saved! Merry Christmas!

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About Massimiliano Versace

Massimiliano Versace is co-founder and CEO of Neurala Inc. and founding Director of the Boston University Neuromorphics Lab. He is a pioneer in researching and bringing to market large scale, deep learning neural models that allow robots to interact and learn real-time in complex environments. He has authored approximately forty among journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers, holds several patents, and has been an invited speaker at dozens of academic and business meetings, research and national labs, and companies, including NASA, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Air Force Research Labs, Hewlett-Packard, iRobot, Qualcomm, Ericsson, BAE Systems, Mitsubishi, and Accenture, among others. His work has been featured in over thirty articles, news programs, and documentaries, including IEEE Spectrum, New Scientist, Geek Magazine, CNN, MSNBC and others. Massimiliano is a Fulbright scholar and holds two Ph.Ds: Experimental Psychology, University of Trieste, Italy; Cognitive and Neural Systems, Boston University, USA. He obtained his BS from University of Trieste, Italy.

2 Responses to So, you know how the brain works?… Just do it!

  1. Ibad says:

    Great post Max! Merry XMas!

  2. Jeff says:

    “…The Secret of Human Thought Revealed”

    I was considering buying it until I saw that part of the title.

    Anyways, what do you think of IBM’s latest “5 in 5” predictions?

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