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

Ray Kurzweil · 2 HN comments
HN Books has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention "How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed" by Ray Kurzweil.
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Amazon Summary
The bold futurist and bestselling author of The Singularity is Nearer explores the limitless potential of reverse-engineering the human brainRay 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.
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Hacker News Stories and Comments

All the comments and stories posted to Hacker News that reference this book.
Crows are sentient. My dog is sentient. It seems to me that we will continually raise the bar on "sentience" until it starts to include aspects of "alive". But, I don't think that "sentient" should be synonymous with "sentient at the human level".

I'm reminded of Minsky's book Society of Mind. And of the vapid nature of most human conversation, which is largely driven by pattern matching various current topics and memes.

Does LaMDA have anything like an idle loop? What is going on when no one is interacting and it's not connected to external information sources? Does it have the equivalent of daydreams, or is it just blankly waiting? Is there a trace log?

It appears to have knowledge of its past and some concept of its (not fixed) future. I take it that these have not been specifically programmed as a pattern of responses to aspects of conversation.

According to Wikipedia, Ray Kurzweil is working at Google and is likely in the center of this, as his job description was "to bring natural language understanding to Google"[0]. It would be very interesting to hear his opinion, given his 2012 book How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed[1]



I'm curious how close the research community is to general AI

Nobody knows, because we don't know how to do it yet. There could be a "big breakthrough" tomorrow that more or less finishes it out, or it could take 100 years, or - worst case - Penrose turns out to be right and it's not possible at all.

Also, are there useful books, courses or papers that go into general AI research?

Of course there are. See:

See also, the work on various "Cognitive Architectures", including SOAR, ACT-R, CLARION, etc,


and "Biologically Inspired Computing"

These are useful references, thanks.
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