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DesktopWeb FormText   book : on intelligenceThu, 21 Oct 2004 23:40:22 GMT # 

by Jeff Hawkins (the PalmPilot / Treo guy). this was a book about AI ... sort of. its mostly ideas about how Jeff thinks the neocortex of the brain works. if he is correct and we can recreate that model in soon-to-be hardware, then his thought is that we will be able to build truly intelligent machines. when i 1st started reading about neural networks, i went ahead and read a short book about the brain, thinking that might give me some ideas. but it was a waste of time because the brain book did not say anything about how the brain might actually work, and neural networks only slightly related to what we do know about the brain. the same complaint is made in this book. it also complains about how our current neural networks are way too simplistic to ever become intelligent. also attacks the thought in AI that we should be building something that is intelligent in the same way we are considered intelligent.
Jeffs model for the neocortex primarily consists of a heirarchical structure with memory and predictive capabilities using both feedforward and feedback paths. sort of a tree of auto-associative neural networks. with this setup, it would start out knowing nothing, and it would have to be trained. similar to how we are trained as we are growing up, or how the environment trained our ancestors through evolution. after training it would be able to think in abstract terms to predict its way through the world. this is different than alot of AI concepts that are mostly seeing what is in the real world and then reacting to it. e.g. the robot moving a centimer every hour pseudocode : done processing, move forward, oh crap, something moved, stop, begin processing next movement ... (wait an hour repeat). was hoping that SOM neural networks would be mentioned as well ... but they were not.
so this is the book about the brain, that relates to AI, that i assumed already existed. it was a really good book. the only problem is that it does not come with source code (that was a joke). it is one thing to read about these concepts, its an entirely something else for me to try and program something like this. meaning i wont be writing any code based off ideas from the book. it is targeting bigger problems than i am ready to attempt right now. no, i didnt just like the book because it was a mobility guy writing about AI. actually owned a PalmPilot when i was younger and stupider (intended) ... and could not ditch it fast enough for a PPC. color was just too sexy to resist