Richard Dawkins,Jeff Hawkins

A Thousand Brains

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318 printed pages



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    George Kopilashvilihas quoted2 days ago
    Much of the volume of our brain is wiring, the axons and dendrites that connect neurons to each other. These are costly in terms of energy and space. To conserve energy, the brain is forced to limit the wiring and therefore limit what can be readily learned. When we are born, our neocortex has an overabundance of wiring. This is pared down significantly during the first few years of life. Presumably the brain is learning which connections are useful and which are not based on the early life experiences of the child. The removal of unused wiring has a downside, though; it makes it difficult to learn new types of knowledge later in life. For example, if a child is not exposed to multiple languages early in life, then the ability to become fluent in multiple languages is diminished. Similarly, a child whose eyes do not function early in life will permanently lose the ability to see, even if the eyes are later repaired. This is probably because some of the connections that are needed for being multilingual and for seeing were lost because they weren’t being used.
    George Kopilashvilihas quotedlast month
    I recently attended a panel discussion titled “Being Human in the Age of Intelligent Machines.” At one point during the evening, a philosophy professor from Yale said that if a machine ever became conscious, then we would probably be morally obligated to not turn it off. The implication was that if something is conscious, even a machine, then it has moral rights, so turning it off is equivalent to murder. Wow! Imagine being sent to prison for unplugging a computer. Should we be concerned about this?
    George Kopilashvilihas quotedlast month
    The extreme flexibility of human intelligence requires the attributes I described in this chapter: continuous learning, learning through movement, learning many models, and using general-purpose reference frames for storing knowledge and generating goal-oriented behaviors.
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