This Pulitzer prize-winning tome was essential reading in the s for emerging geeks like me. To celebrate the anniversary, I am staging a triptych of events at the Barbican in London called Strange Loop s, looking at the impact of technology on what it means to be human. I believe that the ideas in the book are now more relevant than at any point over the past four decades. The strange-loop concept may be the key to understanding when and whether the fast-evolving AIs we are creating might become conscious. A strange loop is a cyclical structure that goes through several layers of a hierarchical system to find itself back at the beginning. One layer is contained inside another to permit a strange crossing of these levels so that the higher one suddenly appears embedded in the lower.
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Casti , Nature. It has a youthful vitality and a wonderful brilliance, and I think that it may become something of a classic. There has been nothing like it in computer science before or since. More from Douglas R. Metamagical Themas Hofstadter's collection of quirky essays is unified by its primary concern: to examine the way people perceive and think. I Am a Strange Loop One of our greatest philosophers and scientists of the mind asks, where does the self come from--and how our selves can exist in the minds….
Gödel, Escher, Bach: When logic flies out of the window
Escher , and composer Johann Sebastian Bach , the book expounds concepts fundamental to mathematics , symmetry , and intelligence. Through illustration and analysis, the book discusses how, through self-reference and formal rules, systems can acquire meaning despite being made of "meaningless" elements. It also discusses what it means to communicate, how knowledge can be represented and stored, the methods and limitations of symbolic representation, and even the fundamental notion of "meaning" itself. One point in the book presents an analogy about how individual neurons in the brain coordinate to create a unified sense of a coherent mind by comparing it to the social organization displayed in a colony of ants.
Godel, Escher, Bach
For the past 30 years, most of them spent in an old house just northwest of the Indiana University campus, he and his graduate students have been picking up the slack: trying to figure out how our thinking works, by writing computer programs that think. Their operating premise is simple: the mind is a very unusual piece of software, and the best way to understand how a piece of software works is to write it yourself. Computers are flexible enough to model the strange evolved convolutions of our thought, and yet responsive only to precise instructions. He was free to think about whatever he wanted; he chose to think about thinking itself.