“How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed” is a non-fiction book about brains, both human and artificial, by the inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil. First published in hardcover on November 13, 2012, “How to Create a Mind” became a New York Times Best Seller.
Kurzweil describes a series of thought experiments which suggest to him that the brain contains a hierarchy of pattern recognizers. Based on this he introduces his Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind. He says the neocortex contains 300 million very general pattern recognition circuits and argues that they are responsible for most aspects of human thought. He also suggests that the brain is a “recursive probabilistic fractal” whose line of code is represented within the 30-100 million bytes of compressed code in the genome.
Kurzweil then explains that a computer version of this design could be used to create an artificial intelligence more capable than the human brain. It would employ techniques such as hidden Markov models and genetic algorithms, strategies Kurzweil used successfully in his years as a commercial developer of speech recognition software. Artificial brains will require massive computational power, so Kurzweil reviews his law of accelerating returns which explains how the compounding effects of exponential growth will deliver the necessary hardware in only a few decades.
Critics felt the subtitle of the book, The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, overpromises. Some protested that pattern recognition does not explain the “depth and nuance” of mind including elements like emotion and imagination. Others felt Kurzweil’s ideas might be right, but they are not original, pointing to existing work as far back as the 1980s. Yet critics admire Kurzweil’s “impressive track record” and say that his writing is “refreshingly clear”,containing “lucid discussions” of computing history. (wikipedia)
Raymond “Ray” Kurzweil is an American author, computer scientist, inventor and futurist. Aside from futurism, he is involved in fields such as optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments. He has written books on health, artificial intelligence (AI), transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism. Kurzweil is a public advocate for the futurist and transhumanist movements, and gives public talks to share his optimistic outlook on life extension technologies and the future of nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology.