A summary of How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil

November 27, 2012

When IBM’s Deep Blue defeated humanity’s greatest chess player Gary Kasparov in 1997 it marked a major turning point in the progress of artificial intelligence (AI). A still more impressive turning point in AI was achieved in 2011 when another creation of IBM named Watson defeated Jeopardy! phenoms Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter at their own game.

As time marches on and technology advances we can easily envision still more impressive feats coming out of AI. And yet when it comes to the prospect of a computer ever actually matching human intelligence in all of its complexity and intricacy, we may find ourselves skeptical that this could ever be fully achieved. There seems to be a fundamental difference between the way a human mind works and the way even the most sophisticated machine works — a qualitative difference that could never be breached. Famous inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil begs to differ

To begin with — despite the richness and complexity of human thought — Kurzweil argues that the underlying principles and neuro-networks that are responsible for higher-order thinking are actually relatively simple, and in fact fully replicable. Indeed, for Kurzweil, our most sophisticated AI machines are already beginning to employ the sample principles and are mimicking the same neuro-structures that are present in the human brain. […]