A Brief History of Intelligence: Why the Evolution of the Brain Holds the Key to the Future of AI: Unabridged edition

By Max Bennett, Read by George Newbern

Bridges the gap between AI and neuroscience by telling the story of how the brain came to be.

‘I found this book amazing’ Daniel Kahneman, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and bestselling author of Thinking Fast & Slow

The entirety of the human brain’s 4-billion-year story can be summarised as the culmination of five evolutionary breakthroughs, starting from the very first brains, all the way to the modern human brains. Each breakthrough emerged from new sets of brain modifications, and equipped animals with a new suite of intellectual faculties.

These five breakthroughs are the organising map to this book, and they make up our itinerary for our adventure back in time. Each breakthrough also has fascinating corollaries to breakthroughs in AI. Indeed, there will be plenty of such surprises along the way. For instance: the innovation that enabled AI to beat humans in the game of Go – temporal difference reinforcement learning – was an innovation discovered by our fish ancestors over 500 million years ago. The solutions to many of the current mysteries in AI – such as ‘common sense’ – can be found in the tiny brain of a mouse. Where do emotions come from? Research suggests that they may have arisen simply as a solution to navigation in ancient worm brains. Unravelling this evolutionary story will reveal the hidden features of human intelligence and with them, just how your mind came to be.

Format: Audio-Book
Release Date: 24 Oct 2023
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-856012-6
Detailed Edition: Unabridged edition
As a pioneering artificial intelligence entrepreneur, Max Bennett is well positioned to bridge the gap between AI and evolutionary neuroscience. He spent the bulk of his career as the Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer of Bluecore, one of the fastest growing AI companies in the world, most recently valued at over $1 billion dollars.Max taught himself neuroscience and has subsequently published numerous scientific papers in peer reviewed scientific journals on the topics of evolutionary neuroscience, intelligence and the neocortex. He has spoken at multiple conferences and groups on the topic of neuroscience and AI, including Numenta, Karl Friston’s group, and AI4.

'I found this book amazing. I read it through quickly because it was so interesting, then turned around and read much of it again' Daniel Kahneman, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and bestselling author of Thinking Fast & Slow -

”'I've been recommending A Brief History of Intelligence to everyone I know. A truly novel, beautifully crafted thesis on what intelligence is and how it has developed since the dawn of life itself” - Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania and bestselling author of Grit

”'Introduces us to an enormous range of concepts in biology, evolution, brain science and AI… there is plenty of food for thought here” - TLS

'Absolutely riveting. A Brief History of Intelligence is a spellbinding and fascinating tour of the origins of the human species, and a reminder that the human story began long before Homo sapiens. An illuminating, revelatory account of who we are and how we got here' Brian Christian, bestselling author of Algorithms to Live By and The Alignment Problem -

'If you are interested in understanding brains or in building human-like general AI, you should read this book. This is a forward-looking book masquerading as history. A mind-boggling amount of details of anatomy, physiology and behavior of a variety of nervous systems are brought together in a coherent evolutionary tale and explained in their computational contexts. It is a joy to read - don’t miss it!' Dileep George, DeepMind, cofounder of Vicarious AI -