Book review: How to Create a Mind by Ray Kurzweil

November 23, 2012

In the compelling introduction, we are told the story of evolution in a most entertaining fashion: that the world is based on information. Physics evolved and became chemistry, chemistry evolved into biology, biology to neurology. “Brains were now the cutting edge of storing and manipulating information. Thus we went from atoms to molecules to DNA to brains. The next step was uniquely human.”

Evolutionary development in mammals has been different from that of every other animal. In humans, the neocortex processes thinking on a hierarchical level: Understanding the many parts that make a whole; creating a symbol to represent that structure; and then creating even more complicated constructs using those symbols. Kurzweil states, “Only homo sapiens have a knowledge base that itself evolves, grows exponentially, and is passed down from one generation to another.” […]