Finished Reading: Article On Douglas Hofstadter From The Atlantic Monthly November, 2013

Cover of "Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal...

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I purchased this month’s The Atlantic and ran across this article about Douglas Hostadter entitled: The Man Who Would Teach Machines To Think by James Somers. I have read (or at least attempted and will attempt again) Godel, Escher, Bach and I have read I Am A Strange Loop. I am thrilled to have run across this article and I must say that Mr. Somers has done an incredible job in a short article to summarize Dr. Hofstadter‘s work. Some of the more interesting quotes and paragraphs from the article include:

“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.”

“Will the approach undergirding AI today—an approach that borrows little from the mind, that’s grounded instead in big data and big engineering—get us where we want to go?”

“‘At every moment,’ Hofstadter writes in Surfaces and Essences, his latest book (written with Emmaneul Sander), ‘we are simultaneously faced with an indefinite number of overlapping and intermingling situations.’ It is our job, as organisms that want to live, to make sense of that chaos. We do it by having the right concepts come to mind. This happens automatically, all the time. Analogy is Hofstadter’s go-to-word. The thesis of his new book, which features a melange of A’s on its cover, is that analogy is ‘the fuel and fire of thinking, the bread and butter of our daily mental lives.”

“I have always felt that the only hope of humans ever coming to fully understand the complexity of their minds,” Hofstadter has written, ‘is by modeling mental processes on computers and learning from the model’s inevitable failures.'”

Hofstadter once summarized the situation by writing, “The entire effort of artificial intelligence is essentially a fight against computers’ rigidity.”

This is overall one of the best magazine articles that I have read this year and I encourage you to read this if you have any interest in this subject and to put in a plug for The Atlantic, I must say that the magazine has improved tremendously in my humble opinion.


4 thoughts on “Finished Reading: Article On Douglas Hofstadter From The Atlantic Monthly November, 2013

  1. Pingback: Currently Reading: I Am A Strange Loop By Douglas Hofstadter | Consilient Interest

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