Discovery Institute Evolution News | The brain remains an evolutionary mystery
October 17, 2012
Discovery Institute Evolution News — October 17, 2012
Futurist Ray Kurzweil, currently promoting his new book How to Create a Mind, believes that someday we will be able to reverse-engineer the brain, uncovering its secrets. Kurzweil acknowledges the evolutionary gap between humans and all other animals, but rather than trying to piece together the past, he thinks we should strive to understand our brain’s unique complexity in hopes of producing the next evolutionary leap in human brain capacity. PC Magazine reports on his recent speech to the Demo technology conference:
Improvements in technology such as MRI spatial resolution have led to a better understanding of how the brain works. [Kurzweil] espoused a thesis about the uniform structure of the neocortex, saying it is made up of 300 million undifferentiated “pattern recognizers” in a hierarchical structure. The difference in the amount of pattern recognizers compared with other animals is exponential, giving humans enough capability to create art, science, and literature…Techniques that evolved in the biological brain are the same that are used for things such as speech and character recognition, and they will be used to expand our brain power.
These notions remind you somewhat of the research methods of biomimicry, a discipline in which scientists look to nature for engineering ideas. But unlike biomimicry, Kurzweil’s theories are the other side of the coin of evolutionary biologist’s theories. He hopes to understand human evolution so that humans can acquire a superhuman intelligence [...]