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  • Let me tell you a story.

  • It goes back 200 million years.

  • It's a story of the neocortex,

  • which means "new rind."

  • So in these early mammals,

  • because only mammals have a neocortex,

  • rodent-like creatures.

  • It was the size of a postage stamp and just as thin,

  • and was a thin covering around

  • their walnut-sized brain,

  • but it was capable of a new type of thinking.

  • Rather than the fixed behaviors

  • that non-mammalian animals have,

  • it could invent new behaviors.

  • So a mouse is escaping a predator,

  • its path is blocked,

  • it'll try to invent a new solution.

  • That may work, it may not,

  • but if it does, it will remember that

  • and have a new behavior,

  • and that can actually spread virally

  • through the rest of the community.

  • Another mouse watching this could say,

  • "Hey, that was pretty clever, going around that rock,"

  • and it could adopt a new behavior as well.

  • Non-mammalian animals

  • couldn't do any of those things.

  • They had fixed behaviors.

  • Now they could learn a new behavior

  • but not in the course of one lifetime.

  • In the course of maybe a thousand lifetimes,

  • it could evolve a new fixed behavior.

  • That was perfectly okay 200 million years ago.

  • The environment changed very slowly.

  • It could take 10,000 years for there to be

  • a significant environmental change,

  • and during that period of time

  • it would evolve a new behavior.

  • Now that went along fine,

  • but then something happened.

  • Sixty-five million years ago,

  • there was a sudden, violent change to the environment.

  • We call it the Cretaceous extinction event.

  • That's when the dinosaurs went extinct,

  • that's when 75 percent of the

  • animal and plant species went extinct,

  • and that's when mammals

  • overtook their ecological niche,

  • and to anthropomorphize, biological evolution said,

  • "Hmm, this neocortex is pretty good stuff,"

  • and it began to grow it.

  • And mammals got bigger,

  • their brains got bigger at an even faster pace,

  • and the neocortex got bigger even faster than that

  • and developed these distinctive ridges and folds

  • basically to increase its surface area.

  • If you took the human neocortex

  • and stretched it out,

  • it's about the size of a table napkin,

  • and it's still a thin structure.

  • It's about the thickness of a table napkin.

  • But it has so many convolutions and ridges

  • it's now 80 percent of our brain,

  • and that's where we do our thinking,

  • and it's the great sublimator.

  • We still have that old brain

  • that provides our basic drives and motivations,

  • but I may have a drive for conquest,

  • and that'll be sublimated by the neocortex

  • into writing a poem or inventing an app

  • or giving a TED Talk,

  • and it's really the neocortex that's where

  • the action is.

  • Fifty years ago, I wrote a paper

  • describing how I thought the brain worked,

  • and I described it as a series of modules.

  • Each module could do things with a pattern.

  • It could learn a pattern. It could remember a pattern.

  • It could implement a pattern.

  • And these modules were organized in hierarchies,

  • and we created that hierarchy with our own thinking.

  • And there was actually very little to go on

  • 50 years ago.

  • It led me to meet President Johnson.

  • I've been thinking about this for 50 years,

  • and a year and a half ago I came out with the book

  • "How To Create A Mind,"

  • which has the same thesis,

  • but now there's a plethora of evidence.

  • The amount of data we're getting about the brain

  • from neuroscience is doubling every year.

  • Spatial resolution of brainscanning of all types

  • is doubling every year.

  • We can now see inside a living brain

  • and see individual interneural connections

  • connecting in real time, firing in real time.

  • We can see your brain create your thoughts.

  • We can see your thoughts create your brain,

  • which is really key to how it works.

  • So let me describe briefly how it works.

  • I've actually counted these modules.

  • We have about 300 million of them,

  • and we create them in these hierarchies.

  • I'll give you a simple example.

  • I've got a bunch of modules

  • that can recognize the crossbar to a capital A,

  • and that's all they care about.

  • A beautiful song can play,

  • a pretty girl could walk by,

  • they don't care, but they see a crossbar to a capital A,

  • they get very excited and they say "crossbar,"

  • and they put out a high probability

  • on their output axon.

  • That goes to the next level,

  • and these layers are organized in conceptual levels.

  • Each is more abstract than the next one,

  • so the next one might say "capital A."

  • That goes up to a higher level that might say "Apple."

  • Information flows down also.

  • If the apple recognizer has seen A-P-P-L,

  • it'll think to itself, "Hmm, I think an E is probably likely,"

  • and it'll send a signal down to all the E recognizers

  • saying, "Be on the lookout for an E,

  • I think one might be coming."

  • The E recognizers will lower their threshold

  • and they see some sloppy thing, could be an E.

  • Ordinarily you wouldn't think so,

  • but we're expecting an E, it's good enough,

  • and yeah, I've seen an E, and then apple says,

  • "Yeah, I've seen an Apple."

  • Go up another five levels,

  • and you're now at a pretty high level

  • of this hierarchy,

  • and stretch down into the different senses,

  • and you may have a module that sees a certain fabric,

  • hears a certain voice quality, smells a certain perfume,

  • and will say, "My wife has entered the room."

  • Go up another 10 levels, and now you're at

  • a very high level.

  • You're probably in the frontal cortex,

  • and you'll have modules that say, "That was ironic.

  • That's funny. She's pretty."

  • You might think that those are more sophisticated,

  • but actually what's more complicated

  • is the hierarchy beneath them.

  • There was a 16-year-old girl, she had brain surgery,

  • and she was conscious because the surgeons

  • wanted to talk to her.

  • You can do that because there's no pain receptors

  • in the brain.

  • And whenever they stimulated particular,

  • very small points on her neocortex,

  • shown here in red, she would laugh.

  • So at first they thought they were triggering

  • some kind of laugh reflex,

  • but no, they quickly realized they had found

  • the points in her neocortex that detect humor,

  • and she just found everything hilarious

  • whenever they stimulated these points.

  • "You guys are so funny just standing around,"

  • was the typical comment,

  • and they weren't funny,

  • not while doing surgery.

  • So how are we doing today?

  • Well, computers are actually beginning to master

  • human language with techniques

  • that are similar to the neocortex.

  • I actually described the algorithm,

  • which is similar to something called

  • a hierarchical hidden Markov model,

  • something I've worked on since the '90s.

  • "Jeopardy" is a very broad natural language game,

  • and Watson got a higher score

  • than the best two players combined.

  • It got this query correct:

  • "A long, tiresome speech

  • delivered by a frothy pie topping,"

  • and it quickly responded, "What is a meringue harangue?"

  • And Jennings and the other guy didn't get that.

  • It's a pretty sophisticated example of

  • computers actually understanding human language,

  • and it actually got its knowledge by reading

  • Wikipedia and several other encyclopedias.

  • Five to 10 years from now,

  • search engines will actually be based on

  • not just looking for combinations of words and links

  • but actually understanding,

  • reading for understanding the billions of pages

  • on the web and in books.

  • So you'll be walking along, and Google will pop up

  • and say, "You know, Mary, you expressed concern

  • to me a month ago that your glutathione supplement

  • wasn't getting past the blood-brain barrier.

  • Well, new research just came out 13 seconds ago

  • that shows a whole new approach to that

  • and a new way to take glutathione.

  • Let me summarize it for you."

  • Twenty years from now, we'll have nanobots,

  • because another exponential trend

  • is the shrinking of technology.

  • They'll go into our brain

  • through the capillaries

  • and basically connect our neocortex

  • to a synthetic neocortex in the cloud

  • providing an extension of our neocortex.

  • Now today, I mean,

  • you have a computer in your phone,

  • but if you need 10,000 computers for a few seconds

  • to do a complex search,

  • you can access that for a second or two in the cloud.

  • In the 2030s, if you need some extra neocortex,

  • you'll be able to connect to that in the cloud

  • directly from your brain.

  • So I'm walking along and I say,

  • "Oh, there's Chris Anderson.

  • He's coming my way.

  • I'd better think of something clever to say.

  • I've got three seconds.

  • My 300 million modules in my neocortex

  • isn't going to cut it.

  • I need a billion more."

  • I'll be able to access that in the cloud.

  • And our thinking, then, will be a hybrid

  • of biological and non-biological thinking,

  • but the non-biological portion

  • is subject to my law of accelerating returns.

  • It will grow exponentially.

  • And remember what happens

  • the last time we expanded our neocortex?

  • That was two million years ago

  • when we became humanoids

  • and developed these large foreheads.

  • Other primates have a slanted brow.

  • They don't have the frontal cortex.

  • But the frontal cortex is not really qualitatively different.

  • It's a quantitative expansion of neocortex,

  • but that additional quantity of thinking

  • was the enabling factor for us to take

  • a qualitative leap and invent language

  • and art and science and technology

  • and TED conferences.

  • No other species has done that.

  • And so, over the next few decades,

  • we're going to do it again.

  • We're going to again expand our neocortex,

  • only this time we won't be limited

  • by a fixed architecture of enclosure.

  • It'll be expanded without limit.

  • That additional quantity will again

  • be the enabling factor for another qualitative leap

  • in culture and technology.

  • Thank you very much.

  • (Applause)

Let me tell you a story.

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B1 TED neocortex brain thinking biological behavior

【TED】Ray Kurzweil: Get ready for hybrid thinking (Ray Kurzweil: Get ready for hybrid thinking)

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    Max Lin posted on 2016/01/22
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