A Numenta update
At his current firm, Numenta, Hawkins is working on another idea that seems to out of left field: copying the workings of our own brains to build software that makes accurate snap decisions for today's data-deluged businesses. He and his team have been working on their algorithms since 2005 and are finally preparing to release a version that is ready to be used in products. Numenta's technology is aimed at variety of applications, such as judging whether a credit card transaction is fraudulent, anticipating what a Web user will click next, or predicting the likelihood that a particular hospital patient will suffer a relapse.
"What those examples have in common is that they contain complex patterns that evolve over time," says Hawkins. The algorithms can analyze and extrapolate from those patterns because they borrow techniques from parts of the human brain that have evolved to interpret complex data streaming in from our senses and use it to predict what might be coming.