Can a marriage between man and machine solve the world’s problems?

From The Globe and Mail:

HowToCreateAMindHow do you know when your new book is a success? When Google promptly offers you a plum job as soon as the book is on the stands. That's the pleasant turn of events that Ray Kurzweil, 64, is enjoying. His most recent book, his sixth, is How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed. His new job at Google is director of engineering. Google made the announcement in December. Kurzweil has many fans. The Wall Street Journal once described him as “the restless genius” and Fortune said he was “a legendary inventor with a history of mind-blowing ideas.” Time put him on its cover, and Forbes called him “the ultimate thinking machine.”

…The thesis of How to Create a Mind is that the human brain itself is the most powerful thinking machine available today, so it is logical that we look to the brain for guidance on how to make devices smarter. He outlines a theory he calls “the pattern recognition theory of mind (PRTM),” which he says “describes the basic algorithm of the neocortex (the region of the brain responsible for perception, memory and critical thinking).” By reverse-engineering the human brain, we will be able to “to vastly extend the power of our own intelligence.” What will we do with this new intelligence? First, we will better understand the brain itself and develop superior treatments for the brain's ailments, such as psychiatric disorders. Second, we will use our expanded intelligence to solve the many problems that confront mankind. Finally, we will use the intelligence to teach us how to be smarter.

More here.