Tag Archives: jeff hawkins

What Is Consciousness?

In one of my previous essays, I described Jeff Hawkins’ theory of intelligence. This essay relies heavily on that theory–if you’re not familiar with it, I recommend you read my other essay first.

The question of consciousness–of what it means to be “self-aware”–is one of the longest-standing unsolved problems in human history. It has showed up in practically every field from philosophy and theology to literature and the arts to multiple scientific disciplines including psychology, biology, programming, and even mathematics. Like the nature of sleep and dreams, it is one of those tantalizing problems that has resisted all solutions for millennia, despite being a fundamental part of our daily lives. Yet intelligence was also considered such a problem, and Hawkins’ theory tied a neat bow on it. Might the problem of consciousness be similarly solved? Continue reading

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On Intelligence: A Theory of Thinking

On Intelligence is a book written by Jeff Hawkins[1] on the nature of intelligence, both artificial and natural. It’s an expansion of and answer to an age-old question I’ve referred to before: how do we think? What does it mean to be intelligent? What is consciousness? Might it be possible to create an intelligent machine? And if we could–what would that mean for society? In this essay I’ll attempt to describe his theory, its motivations, and how it can be a powerful and useful tool in any field–even if you’re not very interested in AI.
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