Tal Cohen's Bookshelf: A Collection of Personal Opinions about Books

Lucia writes:
Asinine
This man -and certainly his work- becomes boring after a very short while. He's set on explaining something very simple with the stupidest words possible and in the slowest possible way. G?del's work is available in formal notation for everyone to see and understand and I find the latter much more enjoyable than reading the inane ramblings that pepper I am a Strange Loop. He goes on and on and on until it hurts on every possible little point. Granted, he's mapping mathematical -formal- issues to natural language but in doing so he only adds complexity to a subject that's intuitive to every person on earth, mathematically inclined or not, if he or she gives it a fair bit of thought. All of it can be explained to anyone able to not poop on himself over the time it takes to have two cups of coffee.

Commenting on the article, there is no need at all to understand a brain before it can be replicated. Hell, are all mothers congnitive scientists able to oversee for their babies' brain construction? Stars, planets, supernovae, life, intelligence and consciousness arise spontaneously in this universe due to blind forces. it will happen again and again provided the preconditions are met. Intelligent machines? definitely will happen. Our present, n-way algorithmic, computers may not cut it, but something will, there's simply too much time and energy available to us. We will have intelligent machines, that's a given. Whether we'll like them or scrape them is a different issue. I wouldn't want the Enterprise computer to be human, go thorugh adolescence, experience love, be angry, have a bad day once in a while, etc. I'd prefer a tool (although a smart one) to drive my car or a spaceship en route to Mars or the Moon but I definitely don't want a *copy* of a human brain doing so.
[310] Posted on Friday, 13 June 2008 at 9:58 GMT [Reply to this] [Permalink]


Jack writes in reply to Lucia:
Asinine
Quote: ''This man -and certainly his work- becomes boring after a very short while.''

Alternatively,

You could be a complete dick with no appreciation of one the finest intellects in the last 100 years...

Mmmm - well it's possible....
[311] Posted on Friday, 13 June 2008 at 12:56 GMT [Reply to this] [Permalink]


Lucia writes in reply to Jack:
Asinine
No, I don't think I am. I didn't mean anything about his intellect, DRH is smart and I'm complaining about this book (that's what I meant here by 'his work') which is just a reenactment of truly groundbreaking work by others, put out like 'Conscience for dummies' in slow, painful, inaccurate metaphores. Nothing he says by himself is revolutionary, the book is a best seller because it presents fascinating subjects like Chaos theory, recursion and G?del's work about undecidability and uncompleteness, all three fields truly revolutionary stuff, in a way that appeals to someone who has never pondered these subjects. English is not my mother tongue so I may not have conveyed exactly what I wanted to say but basically it's quite obvious to me he's not doing any groundbreaking or revolutionary work here. G?del and others are to credit (and indeed he gives credit where credit is due). Lastly, you've got to be kidding me if you think DRH is 'one of the finest intellects of the last 100 years' unless of course your definition of 'one of the finest' is 'anyone who researches something and writes a hefty tome about subjects 40 years old', or your definition of '100 years' could be shorter than mine.
[324] Posted on Friday, 13 June 2008 at 21:47 GMT [Reply to this] [Permalink]


tom123b writes in reply to Lucia:
Asinine
His idea of ''strange loop'' is original. What a lot of readers seem not to have realized is the ''strangeness'' comes from the idea of downward causality, when the apparent cause-and-effect relationship in a system is flipped upside-down. Hofstadter is the first to take this idea from Godel's Incomplete Theorem and apply it to understanding consciousness. (see pg. 169-170 in the book.)
[360] Posted on Saturday, 24 January 2009 at 0:06 GMT [Reply to this] [Permalink]

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