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originally posted in:Secular Sevens
10/28/2013 1:20:13 AM

Gödel, Escher, Bach

Have any of you read this book? I really like Douglas Hofstadter and have been meaning to get into his books but I've been pretty busy. I'm debating between [i]GEB[/i] and[i] I Am A Strange Loop[/i], but am leaning towards GEB and wanted some opinions. For those that have never heard of this author, the article I linked has some good details on him and shows some of his philosophy regarding artificial intelligence. My favorite bit: [quote]Take Deep Blue, the IBM supercomputer that bested the chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov. Deep Blue won by brute force. For each legal move it could make at a given point in the game, it would consider its opponent’s responses, its own responses to those responses, and so on for six or more steps down the line. With a fast evaluation function, it would calculate a score for each possible position, and then make the move that led to the best score. What allowed Deep Blue to beat the world’s best humans was raw computational power. It could evaluate up to 330 million positions a second, while Kasparov could evaluate only a few dozen before having to make a decision. Hofstadter wanted to ask:[u] Why conquer a task if there’s no insight to be had from the victory?[/u] “Okay,” he says, “Deep Blue plays very good chess—so what? Does that tell you something about how we play chess? No. Does it tell you about how Kasparov envisions, understands a chessboard?” A brand of AI that didn’t try to answer such questions—however impressive it might have been—was, in Hofstadter’s mind, a diversion. He distanced himself from the field almost as soon as he became a part of it. “To me, as a fledgling AI person,” he says, “it was self-evident that I did not want to get involved in that trickery. It was obvious: I don’t want to be involved in passing off some fancy program’s behavior for intelligence when I know that it has nothing to do with intelligence. And I don’t know why more people aren’t that way.”[/quote]

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