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When behavioural economics meets neo-cortex reverse engineering

Jeff Hawkins, founder of Palm Computing and Handspring has spent his life reverse engineering the neo-cortex.

He wrote a book in 2005 called “On Intelligence“, which I have just finished reading.

Last year I also read Nobel prize winning economist¬†Daniel Kahneman’sThinking, Fast and Slow” published in 2011.

Here is an extract from each:

p.59/60 “Thinking, Fast and Slow”:

” … a sentence that is printed in a clear font ….. will be fluently processed with cognitive ease ..” and ” when you are in a state of cognitive ease , you …. belive what you hear, trust in your intuitions and feel that the current situation is comfortably familiar”

p. 124 “On Intelligence”

“In this way, unusal events quickly rise to your attention…. Often however errors aren’t strong enough to open the alternate pathway. This is why we sometimes don’t notice if a word is mispelled as we read it.”

Sorry these are a bit out of context, but the top one basically says, if you want somebody to believe what you are writing and not think about it too much, then write it in  a nice clear a pleasing font. If you write it in a messy, scratched out way, the reader has to initiate more attention and will therefore be more likely to think about it, and therefore notice errors.

The second quote is about how the neo cortex prediction engine passes analysis through it’s hierarchical memory until something it doesn’t recognise pops up. If all is recognised, it is processed pretty much unconciously, otherwise you are made aware when patterns don’t fit.

What is interesting is that the 2nd quote is from Jeff Hawkin reverse engineering how the neo-cortex works in 2005. The first one is from Daniel Kahnemann observing through behavioural economics how the neo-cortex works in 2011.

Pretty cool !


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