Episode 600-With Max Bennett

On October 24, 2023, in Podcast, by Patrick Hester

A Brief History of Intelligence: Evolution, AI, and the Five Breakthroughs That Made Our Brains by Max BennettThis week, Patrick and Tracy welcome Max Bennett, author of A Brief History of Intelligence: Evolution, AI, and the Five Breakthroughs That Made Our Brains.

About A Brief History of Intelligence: Evolution, AI, and the Five Breakthroughs That Made Our Brains: In the last decade, capabilities of artificial intelligence that had long been the realm of science fiction have, for the first time, become our reality. AI is now able to produce original art, identify tumors in pictures, and even steer our cars. And yet, large gaps remain in what modern AI systems can achieve—indeed, human brains still easily perform intellectual feats that we can’t replicate in AI systems. How is it possible that AI can beat a grandmaster at chess but can’t effectively load a dishwasher? As AI entrepreneur Max Bennett compellingly argues, finding the answer requires diving into the billion-year history of how the human brain evolved; a history filled with countless half-starts, calamities, and clever innovations. Not only do our brains have a story to tell—the future of AI may depend on it.

Now, in A Brief History of Intelligence, Bennett bridges the gap between neuroscience and AI to tell the brain’s evolutionary story, revealing how understanding that story can help shape the next generation of AI breakthroughs. Deploying a fresh perspective and working with the support of many top minds in neuroscience, Bennett consolidates this immense history into an approachable new framework, identifying the “Five Breakthroughs” that mark the brain’s most important evolutionary leaps forward. Each breakthrough brings new insight into the biggest mysteries of human intelligence. Containing fascinating corollaries to developments in AI, A Brief History of Intelligence shows where current AI systems have matched or surpassed our brains, as well as where AI systems still fall short. Simply put, until AI systems successfully replicate each part of our brain’s long journey, AI systems will fail to exhibit human-like intelligence.

Endorsed and lauded by many of the top neuroscientists in the field today, Bennett’s work synthesizes the most relevant scientific knowledge and cutting-edge research into an easy-to-understand and riveting evolutionary story. With sweeping scope and stunning insights, A Brief History of Intelligence proves that understanding the arc of our brain’s history can unlock the tools for successfully navigating our technological future.

About Max Bennett: Max Bennett is the cofounder & CEO of Alby, an AI company based in New York City. Max was previously the cofounder and Chief Product Officer of Bluecore, a company that uses AI to help some of the largest brands in the world personalize their marketing. Bluecore was recently valued at over $1 billion dollars, ranked numerous times on the Inc 500 fastest growing companies in the US, and won the 2018 Glassdoor best places to work award. Bluecore is used by 25% of the top 100 retailers in the US. Prior to Bluecore, Max was a trader at Goldman Sachs.

Max holds several patents for AI-related technologies, and has published numerous research papers in peer reviewed journals on the topics of evolutionary neuroscience and intelligence.

Max graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, summa cum laude, with a BA in economics and mathematics, where he won the John M. Olin prize for the best economics honors thesis. In 2016, Max was featured in the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Max lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Sydney and their dog, Charlie.

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© 2023 Patrick Hester

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