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A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence

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Don’t read this book at bedtime. Not that it’s frightening. It won’t give you nightmares. But it is so exhilarating, so stimulating, it’ll turn your mind into a whirling maelstrom of excitingly provocative ideas—you’ll want to rush out and tell someone rather than go to sleep. It is a victim of this maelstrom who writes the foreword, and I expect it’ll show.

Charles Darwin was unusual among scientists in having the means to work outside universities and without government research grants. Jeff Hawkins might not relish being called the Silicon Valley equivalent of a gentleman scientist but—well, you get the parallel. Darwin’s powerful idea was too revolutionary to catch on when expressed as a brief article, and the Darwin-Wallace joint papers of 1858 were all but ignored. As Darwin himself said, the idea needed to be expressed at book length. Sure enough, it was his great book that shook Victorian foundations, a year later. Book-length treatment, too, is needed for Jeff Hawkins’s Thousand Brains Theory. And for his notion of reference frames—“The very act of thinking is a form of movement”—bull’s-eye! These two ideas are each profound enough to fill a book. But that’s not all.
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