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Book: How to Create a Mind

I've been reading the futurist Ray Kurzweil's latest book (book's web site).

I find his theories fascinating.  He has quite a record for predicting the future (see ch. 10  The Law of Accelerating Returns - How my predictions are fairing at KurzweilAI.net).

Kurzweil's model of the neocortex described in detail in this book, The Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind, may be sufficient to build a Artificial Intelligence.  This computer mind system may be capable of demonstrating the emergent property of intelligence.  And then by extension the emergent property of consciousness.

The sections on hidden Markov models, hierarchical architecture, and evolutionary genetic algorithms are worth reading if your into software design.  If you wonder why Apple released Siri before it was perfect, this book will give you the reason.  Kurzweil and company are the innovators of speech recognition.

Apple Had No Choice But To Release Siri As An Imperfect Product by Seth Fiegerman (2012)

"The reason I became interested in trying to predict certain aspects of technology is that I realized about thirty years ago that the key to becoming successful as an inventor (a profession I adopted when I was five years old) was timing.  Most inventions and inventors fail not because the gadgets themselves don't work, but because their timing is wrong, appearing either before all of the enabling factors are in place or too late, having missed the window of opportunity.
Being an engineer, about three decades ago I started to gather data on measures of technology in different areas.  When I began this effort, I did not expect that it would present a clear picture, but I did hope that it would provide some guidance and enable me to make educated guesses.  My goal was -- and still is -- to time my own technology efforts so that they will be appropriate for the world that exist when I complete a project -- which I realized would be very different from the world that existed when I started."
  -- Ray Kurzweil 

Kurzweil is now a fellow at Google working on building a mind.  Did he time this project start at Google for the world that will exist in 2020?
Ray Kurzweil Plans to Create a Mind at Google—and Have It Serve You by Will Knight
Ray Kurzweil TED talk on How Technology will Transform Us.
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David's notes on "Drive"

- "The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us" by Dan Pink.

Amazon book order
What I notice first and really like is the subtle implication in the shadow of the "i" in Drive is a person taking one step in a running motion.  This brings to mind the old saying - "there is no I in TEAM".  There is however a ME in TEAM, and there is an I in DRIVE.  And when one talks about motivating a team or an individual - it all starts with - what's in it for me.

Introduction

Pink starts with an early experiment with monkeys on problem solving.  Seems the monkeys were much better problem solver's than the scientist thought they should be.  This 1949 experiment is explained as the early understanding of motivation.  At the time there were two main drivers of motivation:  biological & external influences.  Harry F. Harlow defines the third drive in a novel theory:  "The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward" (p 3).  This is Dan Pink's M…

What is your Engagement Model?

What must an Agile Transformation initiative have to be reasonably assured of success?

We "change agents" or Agilist, or Organizational Development peeps, or Trouble Makers, or Agile Coaches have been at this for nearly two decades now... one would think we have some idea of the prerequisites for one of these Transformations to actually occur.  Wonder if eight Agile Coaches in a group could come up with ONE list of necessary and sufficient conditions - an interesting experiment.  Will that list contain an "engagement model"?  I venture to assert that it will not.  When asked very few Agile Coaches, thought leaders, and change agents mention much about employee engagement in their plans, models, and "frameworks".  Stop and ask yourselves ... why?

Now good Organizational Development peeps know this is crucial, so I purposely omitted them from that list to query.

One, central very important aspect of your Agile Transformation will be your Engagement model.  

Exercise:: Definition of Ready & Done

Assuming you are on a Scrum/Agile software development team, then one of the first 'working agreements' you have created with your team is a 'Definition of Done' - right?



Oh - you don't have a definition of what aspects a user story that is done will exhibit. Well then, you need to create a list of attributes of a done story. One way to do this would be to Google 'definition of done' ... here let me do that for you: http://tinyurl.com/3br9o6n. Then you could just use someone else's definition - there DONE!

But that would be cheating -- right? It is not the artifact - the list of done criteria, that is important for your team - it is the act of doing it for themselves, it is that shared understanding of having a debate over some of the gray areas that create a true working agreement. If some of the team believes that a story being done means that there can be no bugs found in the code - but some believe that there can be some minor issues - well, …

Refactoring - examples from the book

Martin Fowler's book Refactoring:  Improving the Design of Existing Code has a simple example of a movie rental domain model, which he refactors from a less than ideal object-oriented design to a more robust OO design. Included in this Refactoring_FirstExample.zip Zip file are the Java source code files of the Movie, Rental, and Customer classes. Along with a JUnit CustomerTest class. Using these example source files you too can follow along with the refactoring that Fowler presents in the first few chapters of his book.


Metrics for a Scrum Team (examples)

What metrics do you collect to analyze your scrum team?

We live in a world of data and information.  Some people have a mindset that numbers will diagnose all problems – “just show me the data.”  Therefore many directors and senior managers wish to see some list of metrics that should indicate the productivity and efficiency of the Scrum team.  I personally believe this is something that can be felt, that human intuition is much better in this decision realm than the data that can be collected.  However, one would have to actually spend time and carefully observe the team in action to get this powerful connection to the energy in a high-performing team space.  Few leaders are willing to take this time, they delegate this information synthesis task to managers via the typical report/dashboard request.  Therefore we are asked to collect data, to condense this data into information, all while ignoring the intangible obvious signals (read Honest Signals by Sandy Pentland of MIT).
What if …