From the inventor of the PalmPilot comes a new and compelling theory of intelligence, brain function, and the future of intelligent machines. This book 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. Previous attempts at replicating human intelligence–through artificial intelligence and neural networks–have not succeeded. Their mistake, Hawkins argues, was in trying to emulate human behavior without first understanding what intelligence is. The brain is not a computer, supplying by rote an output for each input it receives. Instead, it is 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. Intelligence is the capacity of the brain to predict the future by analogy to the past. In an engaging style that will captivate audiences from the merely curious to the professional scientist, On Intelligence explains what intelligence is, how the brain works, and how this knowledge will finally make it possible for us to build intelligent machines, in silicon, that will not simply imitate but exceed our human ability in surprising ways.

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