Computers Smarter than YOU

Hawkins, who will continue to work as chief technical officer of Treo maker palmOne (nasdaq: PLMO - news - people ), already has his own research lab to study the neocortex, a massive part of the brain thought to hold such higher level functions as language, learning, memory and complex thought.

Hawkins believes that the several levels of the neocortex are an organizational hierarchy of sensory inputs. This hierarchy has multiple interconnections among levels that enable us to sort things in space and time and associate them with previously encountered things, be they faces, phone numbers or typing skills--whatever our memory holds. Traveling down from the top of the hierarchy to the base sensations, he figures, the neocortex functions as a prediction machine, anticipating what we will see next, where the ball is headed or how an experiment might turn out. In effect, prediction is akin to "remembering" the future. This is the essence of investing profitably and the heart of technical analysis.

Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky, creators of the Palm and Handspring personal digital assistants and the Treo smartphone, have formed a software company built around a powerful and unorthodox vision of how the human brain works. In its early stages, they hope to create predictive machines useful for things like weather forecasting and oil exploration. Further out--much further, says Hawkins--they plan to lay the basis for cosmologically attuned robots that conceive and reflect on the universe itself.

This company is privately held

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