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Use brain science to make predictions

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Jeff Hawkins is a brilliant engineer who created the Palm and Treo hand-held computers. Now he’s embarking on his third act—brain science—and it’s something leaders can learn from.

Hawkins says that when we’re born, we know nothing, and the way we develop human intelligence is the same way we’ll design artificial intelligence (AI): by learning. As we go along, we remember patterns and predict what will happen next. In other words, prediction is the fruit of intelligence.

As a result, Hawkins has created a computer model that’s not linear but organized in multiple, parallel layers to process information, remember patterns and make predictions. It’s called hierarchical temporal memory, or HTM. Hawkins says it can do what people always have done but computers never have: learn and generalize.

Bottom line: If you think you have to be smart to lead, you’re right. Learning and intelligence lead to accurate predictions. And leaders need those predictions.

—Adapted from “The Thinking Machine,” Evan Ratliff, WIRED magazine.

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