The Theory of a Thousand Brains
In this episode, we talk with Jeff Hawkins—an entrepreneur and scientist, known for inventing some of the earliest handheld computers, the Palm and the Treo, who then turned his career to neuroscience and founded the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience in 2002 and Numenta in 2005—about a new theory about how the cells in our brain work to create intelligence. What exactly is happening in the neocortex as our brains process and interpret information and sensory input—like sight, smell, touch, or language, or math—to create a perception of and to navigate through the world around us?
a16z General Partner Vijay Pande and I talk to Jeff about the basic principles in this new idea of the brain’s learning methodology for creating not just human intelligence, but animal intelligence, artificial intelligence, even alien intelligence, which he lays out in his newly just released book, A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence. The conversation covers how the neocortex builds models of the world around us, and what this could mean for how we design the next generation of truly intelligent machines. This episode goes all the way from tiny neurons and how they speak to each other to what’s happening in optical illusions to the future of humanity and beyond.