How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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The bold futurist and bestselling author of The Singularity Is Nearer explores the limitless potential of reverse-engineering the human brain
Ray Kurzweil is arguably today’s most influential—and often controversial—futurist. In How to Create a Mind, Kurzweil presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization—reverse engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works and using that knowledge to create even more intelligent machines.
Kurzweil discusses how the brain functions, how the mind emerges from the brain, and the implications of vastly increasing the powers of our intelligence in addressing the world’s problems. He thoughtfully examines emotional and moral intelligence and the origins of consciousness and envisions the radical possibilities of our merging with the intelligent technology we are creating.
Certain to be one of the most widely discussed and debated science books of the year, How to Create a Mind is sure to take its place alongside Kurzweil’s previous classics which include Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever and The Age of Spiritual Machines.
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 4 minutes|
|Audible.in Release Date||19 April 2022|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #4,407 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#11 in Future Studies
#32 in Computer Science (Audible Books & Originals)
#77 in Biological Sciences
Top reviews from India
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The book starts on a very interesting description of how human brain has evolved by learning to challenge the obstacles put forward, whether for survival or in the form of age old traditions. It describes the mindset of Einstein as to what lead to the discovery of special theory of relativity and other such inventions by other scholars. It also describes the ideology of Alan Turing and his work to build the first computing machine along with the fundamentals it laid down for today's science of AI and computers as a whole. The writer's vast knowledge about computing, its history, understanding and hold on the subject is highly appreciable and a class apart.
It moves on to describe at length the structure of human brain, the pitched theory of its working in the form of algorithms such as PRTM (pattern recognition theory of mind) and LOAR (Law of Accelerated Return).
Further on, it also projects why unsupervised learning aspects of clustering and reinforced learning in the form of HHMM (hierarchical hidden Markov model) as the central algorithm of brain functioning. Uptill this point the book is gripping, and the reader is submissive of the writer description and knowledge.
However, this is the point when you reach the 180 degree of the sine wave. The writer goes ahead in the direction of answering more complex questions like consciousness of brain and links it to vastly different outlook. This is when the book dips to the lows due to loss of flow and repeated axioms (not proofs but only quoted opinions from other different writers, linguistics and philosophers)
Nonetheless, the articulation on faith and the divide between Western World and Eastern world on the subject of faith is an interesting read, and here is where the sine wave tries to come up again. As expected it dies out towards the end, leaving the reader with quite many unanswered questions and thoughts, which may be a reflection of writer's mind also.
If you are looking for a head start on the subject of brain mapping, it's structure, working and algorithmic functioning, then definitely it is worth the read.
But as the writer himself conveys at different places, the human mind is much more than simple algorithms. Machines of the future have to challenge to surpass for them to be bigger than the greatest evolution of nature.
An important point to be noted is that the writer has taken approximations and statistical hypothesis about the neocortex and its constituent neurons to an all together different level. So much of approximation and hypothetical analysis does make the reader skeptical about the truth value of such axioms.
I got to know a little bit about the structure of the brain itself, so I guess reading this book DID improve my knowledge in some way.
However, towards the end, Kurzweil talks about "damage-inflicting brain imaging" tests on animals, ie. they destroyed the brain of an animal in order to study it. Which is ABSOLUTELY *HEINOUS*!! He writes the sentence in cold blood, as though HIS research is worth more than the life of an innocent being. I find this absolutely Disgusting.
Top reviews from other countries
A very disappointing read, please don't waste your time with it.
Nevertheless, I did manage to gain some – though very shallow – understanding of what those Silicon Valley dreamers are up to. Ray Kurzweil certainly is a dreamer. He ponders the questions of consciousness, free will, and identity, in order to convince us that, whatever shape or form AI takes when it arrives, it is not going to be fundamentally different from what we are now – just smarter, more efficient, and more durable. He seems to be fully convinced that it will be in a kind of symbiosis with us, or an extension of us, and that it is our destiny to infuse the whole universe with our post-biological human intelligence. I was very glad to see those dreams written down by someone else, someone who actually can and does pursue them actively. I share that dream, but I don’t have as much confidence in it. Probably that’s why Kurzweil devoted his life to it, and I’m just a sceptical observer!
As a software engineer working on pattern recognition systems I bought this book as soon as it was available, the book gave me a lot of ideas and I'm very happy I bought it. The central thesis seems to be the same as Jeff Hawkins' On Intelligence - obviously a big influence for Kurzweil - but with a focus on developments since On Intelligence was published.
Kurzweil got employed at Google very shortly after publishing this book so he could lead a team to create the mind that he's described. He's said in interviews that he left some details out of the book because he didn't want to give too much away.
Overall a good read that will provoke a lot of constructive thought, but don't expect for anyone to actually build a mind based on just this book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 3 October 2021