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Ambient Findability by Peter Morville

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Graffiti Theory

We're starting to understand the pathology of information consumption and its long-term effects on decisions, thanks to novel insights flowing once again from AI. Our guide to this part of the maze is Jeff Hawkins, founder of Palm Computing and Handspring, architect of the Palm Pilot and Treo, and inventor of an alphabet called Graffiti, shown in Figure 7-5.

Graffiti by Jeff Hawkins

Figure 7-5. Graffiti by Jeff Hawkins

He has made great contributions to mobile computing, yet our interest lies not in Jeff's past but in his passion, which he confesses in his book On Intelligence:

I am crazy about brains. I want to understand how the brain works, not just from a philosophical perspective...but in a detailed nuts and bolts engineering way. My desire is not only to understand what intelligence is and how the brain works, but how to build machines that work the same way. I want to build truly intelligent machines.[*]

Jeff argues that "AI suffers from a fundamental flaw in that it fails to adequately address what intelligence is or what it means to understand something."[] His quest for understanding has led him, through the fields of computer science, biophysics, linguistics, and neurophysiology, to an intense focus on the neocortex:

A thin sheet of neural tissue that envelops most of the older parts of the brain...Almost everything we think of as intelligence—perception, language, imagination, mathematics, ...

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