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back to article Why can't a computer be more like a brain?

Why can't a computer be more like a brain? Jeff Hawkins asked at Emerging Technology this week. Hawkins is most familiar as founder of Palm and Handspring and creator of the handwriting recognition system Graffiti. His other long-term interest is neuroscience, and he believes he has the answer to that My Fair Lady question. …

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Anonymous Coward

Thinking's only half the battle.

I'd like to believe this would be the next step in the rise of the machines, but it strikes me that the one thing machines don't do so well is be inventive.

If we want a machine with Einstein-like capability it won't just have to be able to think like him, it'll have to be able to imagine itself sitting on a light-ray and viewing the universe from that perspective like him (this, if you didn't know, is one of the ways he came up with the theory of relativity).

If we want a machine that's able to construct new and useful models that enable accurate and testable predictions to be made and to do that it's going to have to be able to do more than just work through existing problems - it's going to have to come up with new ideas and I suspect that's a much tougher nut to crack.

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to add to Simons commment

To add to Simons comment

Most programming doesn't respond well to the unknown. Code jocks go to great lengths to anticipate most conditions and offer up a default response for those conditions that are out of scope ... a true thinking machine would have to be able to interpret and catagorize and then act on something that it knew nothing of ...

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Bronze badge

Although...

"a true thinking machine would have to be able to interpret and catagorize and then act on something that it knew nothing of ..."

A child* learns by constantly asking "What's that?" and "Why?". I see no reason why "a true thinking machine" should learn any differently. Integrating new data into the hierarchy of "C is sometimes like K and sometimes like S. Add this instance to the group of cases where C is like K," should be possible in the learning stages.

(* Not to mention college students... Perhaps we'll know when the computer is approaching human-level intelligence when it starts asking "Will this be on the exam?")

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People, People who need people...

The ghost in the machine is the person next to you with whom you can talk, share a thought. Coevolution is necessary to thinking. Society informs thought. Thinking it terms of thinking as an isolated set of algorithms that gets it right is wrong. A child raised in an impoverished environment deprived of social skills like speech will fail to recover from such an early disaster.

The goal of AI seems to be the design an evolving society of people as a computer exhibiting the mental characteristics of one person. They haven't got a clue. Culture is an ever present set of conservatively evolving clues that informs intelligible thought. We suffer from the need for super heroes.

Even in science we go on living in the Heroic Age. Newton, Einstein, Planck, the list goes on. Introductory texts spend pages describing how the hero, like Prometheus, brought fire to the people in the form of their brilliant insight. History shows each us the struggle of our heroes to be a struggle to knit together in a new fashion elements of ideas already in play. Thinking is a knitting bee, a social event, coevolutionary.

The seemingly conservative nature of a culture is suggestive of the narrow bandwidth our individual minds can encompass. The general inability of an individual to score big in more than one field is indicative of how bound the mind is to a successful methodology. There likely will never be an Artificial Intelligence unless we first delude ourselves into thinking we've codified all that is knowable. The inbetween time in terms of thinking belongs to us cat herders.

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Emotions Tirggers The Thinking Process

New solutions and possibilities are calculated by brain mostly based on past and context of information at hand.. thought this can be codified... what makes the child learn and Einstein imagine itself sitting on a light-ray and viewing the universe is the chemical.. The Emotions.. these emotions give rise to new situations.. the condition one can feel and generate more data about...This in turn creates new patters of information and then come the AHAA factor..when on comes up with the new idea.. Without emotions (whic includes touch, smell and sensory input) the thinking process is incomplete.

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