Brainmakers: How Scientists Moving Beyond Computers Create Rival to Humn Brain

Overview

Join David Freedman as he takes you on a fascinating tour behind the scenes at laboratories around the world as top researchers race to create revolutionary "thinking machines" that may one day lead to a new form of intelligence.

The subject of fantasy and skepticism for centuries-- from William James's mechanical bride to 2001's Hal to Star Wars' R2D2-- artificial intelligence has been limited to number-crunching computers that are"smart" only in highly specific domains like ...

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Brainmakers: How Scientists Moving Beyond Computers Create Rival to Humn Brain

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Overview

Join David Freedman as he takes you on a fascinating tour behind the scenes at laboratories around the world as top researchers race to create revolutionary "thinking machines" that may one day lead to a new form of intelligence.

The subject of fantasy and skepticism for centuries-- from William James's mechanical bride to 2001's Hal to Star Wars' R2D2-- artificial intelligence has been limited to number-crunching computers that are"smart" only in highly specific domains like chess-- until now. "Brainmakers" is an eye-opening, mind-expanding, and mind-blowing journey through laboratories engaged in cutting-edge research into neuro-science and robotics. Inside, you'll discover:

MIT's Attila, a 3.6-pound, six-legged robot that learns as it interacts with its surroundings.

Japan's efforts to grow brain cells on chips and construct a "wiring diagram" of the human brain

UCLA's "robot farm", where robots will be "bred" for intelligence.

In exciting yet accessible detail, Freedman shows how this research has moved into a new realm that transcends computer science, combining neuroscience, mircobiology, evolutionary biology, and zoology. Modeled after natural rather than artificial intelligence, thinking machines may soon develop powers that rival-- or exceed-- those of the human brain.

In exciting and accessible detail, this book shows how groundbreaking research into the innermost workings of the human brain has moved into a new realm that transcends computer science. Modelled after natural rather than artifical intelligence, thinking machines may soon develop powers that rival--or exceed--those of the human brain.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Freelance science writer Freedman's compelling state-of-the-art report on the quest to build human-like thinking machines explores how the field of artificial intelligence is being reinvigorated through AI researchers' interface with neuroscience, biology and robotics. At MIT, Attila, a six-legged robot, crawls around, learning new skills by interacting with its environment. In Japan, scientists are making movies of the neuron-to-neuron flow of signals inside the brains of live rats; their ultimate goal is a ``wiring diagram'' illustrating how the human brain works. At UCLA, computer scientists have designed a ``robot farm'' where robots will ``mate'' by merging their programs; an occasional mutation will be added to imitate biological evolution. Even more science fiction-like are biophysicists' and AI experts' efforts to harness the self-organizing and memory capabilities of biomolecules (e.g., bacterial protein or RNA) which may one day replace transistors on microchips or even serve as the basis for ``biomolecular computers.'' (Apr.)
From Barnes & Noble
From robot farms to a jarful of chemicals that can recognize patterns, and from a "brainwave" machine to a computer chip fashioned out of living brain cells, these new approaches to artificial intelligence go beyond computers to create a rival to the human brain. A "hard-hitting survey by one of America's top science writers."--Martin Gardner.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671510558
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 4/6/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 0.49 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

David H. Freedman is a contributing editor for Inc. Magazine, and has written on science, business, and technology for The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Science, Wired, and many other publications. His newest book, Wrong, about why experts keep failing us, came out in June, 2010. His last book (coauthored) was A Perfect Mess, about the useful role of disorder in daily life, business, and science. He is also the author of books about the US Marines, computer crime, and artificial intelligence. Freedman's blog, “Making Sense of Medicine,” takes a close, critical look at medical findings making current headlines with an eye to separating out the frequent hype. He lives near Boston.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 11
1 Bug Brains 15
2 Foundering Fathers 33
3 The Art of Thought 62
4 Brainware 97
5 Molecular Intelligence 124
6 Nature's Bootstrap 148
7 Seeds of Cognition 177
Conclusion 191
Notes on Sources 193
Suggested Further Reading 195
Index 205
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