Jeff Hawkins: Why can't a computer be more like a brain?

Jeff Hawkins, 2009 J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Lecture

Jeff Hawkins Jeff Hawkins, author of On Intelligence with Sandra Blakeslee, presented the Oppenheimer lecture in Los Alamos, NM, on July 27, 2009. Watch the clips above, or you can read an edited transcripted here. Visit the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee's website, and Jeff Hawkins' site.

Some of the key points, as noted on A View About Ourselves, include:

  • The relatively-large neocortex is the primary characteristic that makes humans unique from other species.
  • Neurons, or nerve cells, form and structure spatial and temporal (sequenced, ordered) patterns that results in your sensory experiences. These experiences are based on your "model of the world" that your brain has created.
  • Your brain: 1) discovers causes in the world; 2) infers from new or unfamiliar patterns; 3) predicts the future in terms of expectations; 4) creates or initiates motor behavior.
  • The firing of neurons in all their complexity of connections and networks, structured in spatial and temporal patterns, represents the "currency" of the brain. Hawkins: "Your perception of the world is really a fabrication of your model of the world. You don't really see light or sound. You perceive it because your model says this is the way the world is, and those patterns invoke the model."

Interested in an excerpted video? Check out the Bib-Vid-liography listings here.


Your perception of the world is ... really a fabrication of your model of the world. —Jeff Hawkins
Conscious perception is, in a sense, a con job of the brain. It suggests there's a stable world out there and there's a very simple relationship between what's out there in the world and what's inside our head but in fact it's a very complicated relationship. It's actively constructed by our brain. We're now beginning to understand that what I see in my head is actually constructed by my head, by my neurons.—Christof Koch
Predictability is the very definition of reality.—Jeff Hawkins

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