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How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealedby Ray Kurzweil
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of How to Create a Mind comes startling discoveries in the areas of genomics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology occur practically every day. The rewards of this research, some of it as spectacular as science fiction, are practically in our grasp. Fantastic Voyage shows us how we can use these new technologies to live longer than previously imaginable.
The authors take the reader on a journey to undreamed-of vitality with a comprehensive investigation into the cutting-edge science regarding diet, supplementation, genetics, detoxification, and the hormones involved with aging and youth. By following their program, which includes such simple recommendations as eating a balanced, low-glycemic-index diet, and taking powerful anti-aging nutritional supplements, anyone will be able to add years of healthy, active life.
"This visionary book provides a state-of-the-art synthesis of the latest evidence on aging." (Dean Ornish, M.D., developer of the Opening Your Heart program)
"A concise yet comprehensive journey that accurately recounts the past and present state of our collective knowledge." (Dean Kamen, physicist and inventor of the IBOT Mobility System and Segway Human Transporter, and recipient of the National Medal of Technology)
"Fantastic Voyage boldly challenges conventional wisdom about aging and illness and offers groundbreaking solutions to remain young and healthy indefinitely. (John Gray, Ph.D., author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus)
"Anyone can find it easy to implement action that will enhance their health. (George King, M.D., professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School)
"Bringing together contemporary theories and research in cognitive neuroscience and artificial intelligence, Kurzweil (The Singularity is Near) provides insight into how the human brain functions, while speculating on the possibilities and philosophical implications of creating a nonbiological mind. Underlying this analysis is the Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind, a process in the neocortex, the seat of higher brain functions such as perception, memory, and language and, by extension, consciousness. Kurzweil underscores that any meaningful progress in artificial intelligence is indebted to an understanding of these processes and re-engineering them in nonbiological artificial forms such as Watson, the computer that defeated two of Jeopardy's best players. Like Watson, he says, our brain contains no hidden secrets — it functions by hierarchical statistical analysis, that is, computing. While his descriptions of the human cognitive apparatus and current frontiers of creating a non-biological brain are illuminating, Kurzweil's speculations that eventually 'most of our thinking will be in the cloud' and 'we will merge with the intelligent technology we are creating,' seem so uncritically optimistic about the possibilities of our technologies, as to become mystifying. Agent: Loretta Barrett, Loretta Barrett Books. (Nov.)." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
This New York Times bestseller is an exciting and fearless investigation of language
Bestselling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude and verbal eloquence that enables him to provide lucid explanations of deep and powerful ideas. His previous books?including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Blank Slate?have catapulted him into the limelight as one of today?s most important popular science writers. In The Stuff of Thought, Pinker presents a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. Considering scientific questions with examples from everyday life, The Stuff of Thought is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable work that will appeal to fans of everything from The Selfish Gene and Blink to Eats, Shoots and Leaves.
In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading experts on language and the mind, explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts. Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.
About the Author
Ray Kurzweil is a prize-winning author and scientist. Recipient of the MIT-Lemelson Prize (the world’s largest for innovation), and inducted into the Inventor’s Hall of Fame, he received the 1999 National Medal of Technology. His books include The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Age of Intelligent Machines.
Visit Ray Kurzweil on the web:
Table of Contents
A Note to the Reader
Prologue: An Inexorable Emergence
Before the next century is over, human beings will no longer be the most intelligent or capable type of entity on the planet. Actually, let me take that back. The truth of that last statement depends on how we define human.
Part One: Probing the Past
Chapter One: The Law of Time and Chaos
For the past forty years, in accordance with Moore's Law, the power of transistor-based computing has been growing exponentially. But by the year 2020, transistor features will be just a few atoms thick, and Moore's Law will have run its course. What then? To answer this critical question, we need to understand the exponential nature of time.
Chapter Two: The Intelligence of Evolution
Can an intelligence create another intelligence more intelligent than itself? Are we more intelligent than the evolutionary process that created us? In turn, will the intelligence that we are creating come to exceed that of its creator?
Chapter Three: Of Mind and Machines
"I am lonely and bored, please keep me company." If your computer displayed this message on its screen, would that convince you that it is conscious and has feelings? Before you say no too quickly, we need to consider how such a plaintive message originated.
Chapter Four: A New Form of Intelligence on Earth
Intelligence rapidly creates satisfying, sometimes surprising plans that meet an array of constraints. Clearly, no simple formula can emulate this most powerful of phenomena. Actually, that's wrong. All that is needed to solve a surprisingly wide range of intelligent problems is exactly this: simple methods combined with heavy doses of computation, itself a simple process.
Chapter Five: Context and Knowledge
It is sensible to remember today's insights for tomorrow's challenges. It is not fruitful to rethink every problem that comes along. This is particularly true for humans, due to the extremely slow speed of our computing circuitry.
Part Two: Preparing the Present
Chapter Six: Building New Brains...
Evolution has found a way around the computational limitations of neural circuitry. Cleverly, it has created organisms who in turn invented a computational technology a million times faster than carbon-based neurons. Ultimately, the computing conducted on extremely slow mammalian neural circuits will be ported to a far more versatile and speedier electronic (and photonic) equivalent.
Chapter Seven: ...And Bodies
A disembodied mind will quickly get depressed. So what kind of bodies will be provide for our twenty-first-century machines? Later on, the question will become: What sort of bodies will they provide for themselves?
Chapter Eight: 1999
If all the computers in 1960 stopped functioning, few people would have noticed. Circa 1999 is another matter. Although computers still lack a sense of humor, a gift for small talk, and other endearing qualities of human thought, they are nonetheless mastering an increasingly diverse array of tasks that previously required human intelligence.
Part Three: To Face the Future
Chapter Nine: 2009
It is now 2009. A $1,000 personal computer can perform about a trillion calculations per second. Computers are imbedded in clothing and jewelry. Most routine business transactions take place between a human and a virtual personality. Translating telephones are commonly used. Human musicians routinely jam with cybernetic musicians. The neo-Luddite movement is growing.
Chapter Ten: 2019
A $1,000 computing device is now approximately equal to the computational ability of the human brain. Computers are now largely invisible and are embedded everywhere. Three-dimensional virtual-reality displays, embedded in glasses and contact lenses, provide the primary interface for communication with other persons, the Web, and virtual reality. Most interaction with computing is through gestures and two-way natural-language spoken communication. Realistic all-encompassing visual, auditory, and tactile environments enable people to do virtually anything with anybody, regardless of physical proximity. People are beginning to have relationships with automated personalities as companions, teachers, caretakers, and lovers.
Chapter Eleven: 2029
A $1,000 unit of computation has the computing capacity of approximately one thousand human brains. Direct neural pathways have been perfected for high-bandwidth connection to the human brain. A range of neural implants is becoming available to enhance visual and auditory perception and interpretation, memory, and reasoning. Computers have read all available human- and machine-generated literature and multimedia material. There is growing discussion about the legal rights of computers and what constitutes being human. Machines claim to be conscious and these claims are largely accepted.
Chapter Twelve: 2099
There is a strong trend toward a merger of human thinking with the world of machine intelligence that the human species initially created. There is no longer any clear distinction between humans and computers. Most conscious entities do not have a permanent physical presence. Machine-based intelligences derived from extended models of human intelligence claim to be human. Most of these intelligences are not tied to a specific computational processing unit. The number of software-based humans vastly exceeds those still using native neuron-cell-based computation. Even among those human intelligences still using carbon-based neurons, there is ubiqutous use of neural-implant technology that provides enormous augmentation of human perceptual and cognitive abilities. Humans who do not utilize such implants are unable to meaningfully participate in dialogues with those who do. Life expectancy is no longer a viable term in relation to intelligent beings.
Epilogue: The Rest of the Universe Revisited
Intelligent beings consider the fate of the universe.
How to Build an Intelligent Machine in Three Easy Paradigms
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