“Learning How Brains Learn” — Podcast 9: Jeff Hawkins

On Episode 9 of the Connectome podcast, Ben is joined by Jeff Hawkins, a computer engineer and neuroscience geek who’s obsessed with understanding how the brain learns. Jeff is the inventor of the Palm Pilot and the founder of Palm Computing – as well as another computing company called Handspring – but in addition to his computer skills, he’s also been fascinated by neuroscience since the late 70s. Today, his company Numenta designs a range of software known as Grok, which learns and thinks like a living brain. Jeff’s superb book On Intelligence lays out his theory in detail, and … Continue reading “Learning How Brains Learn” — Podcast 9: Jeff Hawkins

“Engineering a Mind (Part 2)” — Podcast 7: David Saintloth and Wai Tsang

On Episode 7 of the Connectome podcast, we rejoin our two-part roundtable discussion on the nature of intelligence, on the differences between biological and artificial intelligence, and on the ways in which the idea of digital intelligence can inform our understanding of how our own minds work. (Here’s the link to Part 1 of this discussion.) Joining us, once again, are David Saintloth, a software engineer who’s working on programs that use a technique he calls “action-oriented workflow” to proactively learn and adapt as they find connections between data patterns; and Wai H. Tsang, a thinker, lecturer, futurist and software … Continue reading “Engineering a Mind (Part 2)” — Podcast 7: David Saintloth and Wai Tsang

Mixed-Up Memories

Just a minute of physical exertion can seriously impair a person’s memory of the threat that triggered it, says a new study. When we undergo a strenuous task, such as a chase or a fight, immediately after witnessing an event, we have much less ability to remember the event’s details than if we’d taken time to process what we’ve seen. This calls the concept of eyewitness testimony into serious question. As I’ve written here and Jonah Lehrer has written here, our memories aren’t nearly as static as we might like to think. In fact, each time we recall a memory, … Continue reading Mixed-Up Memories

Neuroscience Friends!

I’ve just returned from a thrilling weekend at the BIL Conference in Long Beach, California (yes, the pun on “TED” is very intentional) where I met all kinds of smart, fun people – including lots of folks who share my love for braaaiiins! So I thought I’d introduce you guys to some of the friends I made. I think you’ll be as surprised – and as excited – as I am. Backyard Brains Their motto is “neuroscience for everyone” – how cool is that? They sell affordable kits that let you experiment at home with the nervous systems of insects … Continue reading Neuroscience Friends!