Every thought, every idea, every memory, every decision, and every action we have to make, arises from the activity of neurons in our brains. The results of some of this activity surround us: household objects, books, technology and art. Of all brain structures, the neocortex, which forms over 80% of the volume of the human brain is, arguably, the most critical structure to what makes us human. This is a paradox, because the local circuits, contained in a cubic millimetre of the neocortex, appears to be very similar in all mammals, from mouse to man, The uniformity of its construction suggests that the neocortex provides ‘canonical’ circuits that are optimized for a class of 'algorithm' that can be implemented for the full range of demands of behaviour, including perception, cognition, and action. Many new results suggest that cognitive operations proceed very rapidly across different cortical areas by feedforward categorization and feedback modulation, with slower refinement by lateral local interactions. These new results also point to a direction of conceptual advance that requires explorations beyond the local cortical circuit. This means we have to take a ‘Google-Brain’ view, where we can zoom in and out, so that we can view our entire cortical ‘sheet’ not, as is currently supposed, as a series of independent modules devoted to specific tasks, like some neural Swiss Army knife, but as a unified dynamic network consisting of stereotyped local processors interlinked by long distance connections. To discover the blueprint of the brain circuits is currently our greatest challenge in neuroscience and it will surely revolutionize our understanding of brain function.