Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought Paperback – Aug 9 2005
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Douglas Hofstadter, best known for his masterpiece Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, tackles the subject of artificial intelligence and machine learning in his thought-provoking work Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, written in conjunction with the Fluid Analogies Research Group at the University of Michigan. Driven to discover whether computers can be made to "think" like humans, Hofstadter and his colleagues created a variety of computer programs that extrapolate sequences, apply pattern-matching strategies, make analogies, and even act "creative." As always, Hofstadter's work requires devotion on the part of the reader, but rewards him with fascinating insights into the nature of both human and machine intelligence.
About the Author
Douglas R. Hofstadter is College Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. His previous books are the Pulitzer Prizewinning Gödel, Escher, Bach ; Metamagical Themas, The Mind's I, Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, Le Ton Beau de Marot, and Eugene Onegin.
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Top Customer Reviews
So, the book is surely very pleasing for people professionally involved in semantics, but I am not confident in its general interest.
(1) Low-level perception. The best example of this type of work comes obviously from computer vision systems. These systems, given a set of input images, usually extract some important information from this input, generating, well, other images (i.e. depth image, edge contours etc.). But this extracted information is usually on a still very low, meaningless, level, to be used by, for instance, a theorem-proving system. To make it clear to all readers what is meant by "meaning", consider the information-processing that must occur whenever an animal, given its massive sensorial information, perceives danger. Going from a set of images and sounds to a feeling of danger involves extracting meaning from the original input, and this is not what is done by current low-level perception projects. It is almost as if these perceptual processes "delegate" the extraction of meaning to another upcoming process. To get into the meaning of a situation, low-level perceptual processes are not enough; there is a clear need for further perceptual processing.
(2) GOFAI symbolic manipulation. This is the other side of the AI coin, dubbed by philosopher John Haugeland as GOFAI, for "good-old-fashioned artificial intelligence", where programs usually handle (syntactically) a representation that supposedly should have been formed by a perceptual process.Read more ›
His point being that analogy making is the heart of human intelligence.
So I settled down with this 400 page tome and had great expectations of many wonderful evenings ahead of me. FORGET IT. The interesting bits in the books can fill 5 to 10 pages and the rest of the book is filled with talk about their computer program implementations of these ideas. And after the first program is written all the other ones are direct offshoots of it without much new work so it gets pretty monotomous pretty quickly. Oh sure, to sit down with Mr. H and discuss these things one evening over beers would be *amazing*, but to have to slog through this book is not.
If you really want a book that will blow your mind, check out "Consciousness Explained" by Daniel Dennett. That books is powers of 10 greater in intellectual amazement than this book ever hoped to be.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is, as others have commented, different from DH's other more entertaining books.
It is a serious attempt to discuss the real issues and difficulties with AI... Read more
For those who are familiar with Hofstadter's style in Godel Escher Bach, as well as Matamagical Themas, this might be a shock. Read morePublished on July 22 1999
Having really liked Godel, Escher, Bach, I bought this book. I'm amazed I actually read the whole thing. Read morePublished on July 4 1997
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