Scientific American | On TV, Ray Kurzweil tells me how to build a brain

December 11, 2012

Scientific American — December 11, 2012 | Ingrid Wickelgren

This is a summary. Read original article in full here.

I recently interviewed author and inventor Ray Kurzweil about his new book, How to Create A Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed. The 58-minute segment aired on December 1, 2 and 3 on the C-SPAN2 program After Words. The book’s thesis is that it is essentially possible to reverse-engineer the human brain to create a computer mind that works like yours and mine. The advantages of such a creation, Kurzweil told me, are three-fold.

First, we can gain an improved understanding of the brain so that we are better able to fix problems with it — for example, developing new treatments for psychiatric and neurological disorders. Second, biologically inspired, more intelligent machines can help us solve numerous practical problems. Third, such a brain-replica may help us understand ourselves, and ultimately to help us become more intelligent. “We are a human machine civilization and we create these tools to make ourselves smarter,” he says. (Hear this response at about 13 minutes.) [...]