Jeff Hawkins has a track record at predicting the future. The founder of Palm and inventor of the PalmPilot, he spent the 1990s talking of a coming world in which we would all carry powerful computers in our pockets. “No one believed in it back then–people thought I was crazy,” he says. “Of course, I’m thrilled about how successful mobile computing is today.”
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.