Designing Computers That Think Like Humans

The next wave of intelligent devices will think as our brains do — and leave computers in the dust, says device pioneer.

The smartphone in your pocket owes a lot to someone you’ve probably never heard of—a Silicon Valley engineer named Jeff Hawkins. In 1996 he released the PalmPilot, the first commercially successful handheld computing device, then followed it up six years later with the Treo, one of the world’s first smartphones. More recently, Hawkins has focused his talents on an altogether different effort: tracing the architecture of the neocortex, a brain region involved in conscious though...

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