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!

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/11/ray-kurzweils-dubious-new-theory-of-mind.html#ixzz2G65UW4ut

About Massimiliano Versace

Massimiliano Versace is the director of the Boston University Neuromorphics Lab. The lab focuses on the study of biological intelligence with the goal of embedding the derived fundamental principles in bio-inspired computers and robots. His research interests are focused on neural networks – in particular applied to spiking-based neural models of learning and memory in the cerebral cortex. With a few colleagues, he founded Neurala LLC in 2006 to commercialize brain-based software. For more info, visit his website

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?
    http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/ibm_predictions_for_future/ideas/index.html

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