Book Review: “On Intelligence” By Jeff Hawkins With Sandra Blakeslee (2004, 284 Pages)
A smart book on intelligence.
Jeff Hawkins is the founder of Palm Computing and now works full-time on neuroscience. Sandra Blakeslee is a science writer for the New York Times.
Their book details Hawkins’ memory-prediction framework theory of the brain. In short, it asserts that the brain is a memory system that stores experiences and makes predictions based on those memories. It is this memory-prediction system that forms the basis of intelligence, perception, creativity, and even consciousness.
Hawkins’ theory is sometimes too deterministic. For example, I agree with his idea that “to know something means that you can make predictions about it.” But I am skeptical when he writes that “intelligence is the capacity of the brain to predict the future by analogy to the past.” This statement seems too restrictive to me and notably leaves out the analytical and creative capacity of geniuses.
“On Intelligence” isn’t the best book I have read about the brain but it is extremely interesting due to its unconventionality.