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Jeff Hawkins Is Finally Ready to Explain His Brain Research

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — In the global race to build artificial intelligence, it was a missed opportunity.Jeff Hawkins, a Silicon Valley veteran who spent the last decade exploring the mysteries of the human brain, arranged a meeting with DeepMind, the world’s leading A.I. lab.Scientists at DeepMind, which is owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, want to build machines that can do anything the brain can do. Mr. Hawkins runs a little company with one goal: figure out how the brain works and then reverse engineer it.The meeting, set for April at DeepMind’s offices in London, never happened. DeepMind employs hundreds of A.I. researchers along with a team…

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Trilobites: In Virtual Reality, How Much Body Do You Need?

How connected are your body and your consciousness? When Michiteru Kitazaki, a professor of engineering at Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan, recently posed this question in an email, he evoked an idea from Japanese culture known as tamashii, or the soul without a body. Will it soon be possible, he wondered, to simulate the feeling of a spirit not attached to any particular physical form using virtual or augmented reality?If so, a good place to start would be to figure out the minimal amount of body we need to feel a sense of self, especially in digital environments where more and more people may find themselves…

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