How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed

  • January 4, 2014 · 2:00 PM
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Let's start 2014 off right, with a detailed discussion of Kurzweil's book "How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed".

"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."

Pretty big claims, lets see if there's anything really new in the book that gets us closer to real GAI.

Plenty of lead time and a long holiday for most, so please do read the book. The Kindle version is quite cheap.

There will be quality snacks covered by the $3 fee.

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  • Twain

    I'd suggest it's worth watching this Stuart Hameroff interview too:


    For a counter-argument to the Kurzweil and Hawkins' approaches.

    I met Ray Kurzweil at an invitation-only Google-sponsored event for the documentary "The Transcendent Man" in London. This was about a year before he was appointed Director of Engineering at GOOG.

    In the documentary, as in his books, he talks broadly about the challenges of enabling the machines to understand emotions.

    I did have the audacity to approach him at the documentary event and said to him I am focusing on the area of AI to do with emotions.

    So it would have been interesting to hear what everyone makes of his book and work.

    January 3, 2014

    • Anthony K.

      Although I find OrchOR very interesting, and look forward to more experimental evidence on the subject, I can see no necessary connection with artificial intelligence per se. Artificial consciousness is another department. Personally, I have enough on my plate trying to build a clever machine. Questions of qualia seem unlikely to play a role, at least during my working career. Artificial general intelligence is already a reach goal. I would neither deny nor presume that modeling emotions effectively requires qualia, in any case.

      January 5, 2014

  • Sterling

    The meeting was great. I'm looking forward to our next discussion.

    1 · January 4, 2014

  • rna2600

    Interesting discussion, great group.

    January 4, 2014

  • Rob

    That is not to say that if you would like to drive a meeting around Hameroff's (and related) work, it wouldn't make a good discussion. Let me know.

    January 4, 2014

  • rna2600

    Rob where is the address of ether we are meeting today? Thx!

    January 4, 2014

    • Rob

      Did you not get the email from last night?

      January 4, 2014

  • Rob

    I don't think that Hameroff has a strong case. Yes, it would be interesting if the micro-tubules were actually performing computation. However, his Paramecium example is disingenuous, and there seems to be sufficient computational ability of neurons on a macro scale to support cognition, as well as emotions on a whole-brain basis. He's prone to conflating different issues and levels of processing.

    So his argument is basically that micro-tubules are quantum-related and strange, and consciousness is also strange, so the two must be related. But humans do not perform quantum-computer-like operations and there's no reason to require them, so the theory is not compelling. But I just summarized quite a few books on quantum mysticism there.

    This is not to say that I have a solution to the 'hard' problem, or that I can discount his theory entirely.

    January 4, 2014

  • Dale

    Can't make it. One opening :)

    January 4, 2014

  • Siraaj K.

    Sounds very interesting, but, sadly, I won't be able to make it this time. I purchased the book and will try to read in the next 2 months or so. Hopefully there'll be another chance to discuss.

    January 3, 2014

  • Rob

    So I can't actually move people to the Wait List, only 'not attending'. If I move you and you still want to come, contact me even if there is no space. I need to give the people currently on the wait list who have read the book an opportunity to attend. Also, I'm going to kick everyone on the wait list currently to 'No', as the status seems to get strange otherwise.

    December 30, 2013

  • Rob

    My processor only takes Ningis.

    December 30, 2013

  • Anthony K.

    Please consider an option to pay in bitcoin.

    1 · December 30, 2013

  • Rob

    Spots will open up after Tuesday night. Anyone who has not contacted me or paid will be moved to the wait list. If I know that you've read the book I'll try to move you to the attending list.

    December 28, 2013

  • Henri

    Sorry to change so late - i just realized i have a conflict Saturday afternoon. Enjoy.

    December 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi, are more spots opening up? Why are there only 10? I read the book and want to attend.

    December 28, 2013

  • Rob

    Has everyone read the book yet? Only a week to go!

    December 27, 2013

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