May 11, 2021 • 1HR 26M

#58: Jeff Hawkins on Tackling the Big Problems

Cognitive Revolution | How Jeff revolutionized mobile computing technology, then pursued his true love—discovering the nature of the brain

 
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Welcome to Against Habit. My name is Cody Kommers, and in this show I talk to experts, authors, and scientists about the ways we can rethink the habits, ideas, and assumptions we take with us through daily life. Mainstream productivity culture tells us that optimal habits are the best way to solve any behavioral problem. But I think in our veneration of habits, we've overlooked something crucial. Many of our deepest experiences of creativity, connection, and meaning come from breaking out of our habitual rug and engaging in life in a new way. Exploring that idea is what this show is all about. (Note: This show was previously "Cognitive Revolution")

This is Cognitive Revolution, my show about the personal side of the intellectual journey. Each week, I interview an eminent scientist, writer, or academic about the experiences that shaped their ideas. The show is available wherever you listen to podcasts.


Jeff Hawkins is one of my favorite neuroscientists ever. He does the kind of big, ambitious projects I love to see people going after. The driving question of his research is no less than "How does the neocortex work?" He wants to solve intelligence, and he wants to do it the way the brain does. Jeff is an innovative in mobile computing and is widely known as the founder of Palm and the creator of the Palm Pilot. He saw the big picture in that space before anyone else did, and the smart money says that the same goes for his theory of the brain. I read Jeff's 2004 book, "On Intelligence," and it made a big impact on me. His latest book, "A Thousand Brains: A new theory of intelligence" is out now, and details his latest progress on figuring out how the brain really works. In this conversation, we talk about Jeff's early experience, particularly balancing his success in business with his love for neuroscience, as well as the origin of the ideas he lays out in A Thousand Brains. Our conversation gets a bit heated toward the end. But I think it's a healthy difference of opinion, as I am a great admirer of Jeff and his team's work.

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Like this episode? Here’s another one to check out:

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Listen now (64 min) | This is Cognitive Revolution, my show about the personal side of the intellectual journey. Each week, I interview an eminent scientist, writer, or academic about the experiences that shaped their ideas. The show is available wherever you listen to podcasts…
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