How to Build a Mind: Toward Machines with Imagination / Edition 2001by Igor Aleksander
Pub. Date: 07/10/2001
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Igor Aleksander heads a major British team that has applied engineering principles to the understanding of the human brain and has built several pioneering machines, culminating in MAGNUS, which he calls a machine with imagination. When he asks it (in words) to produce an image of a banana that is blue with red spots, the image appears on the screen in seconds.
The idea of such an apparently imaginative, even conscious machine seems heretical and its advocates are often accused of sensationalism, arrogance, or philosophical ignorance. Part of the problem, according to Aleksander, is that consciousness remains ill-defined.
Interweaving anecdotes from his own life and research with imagined dialogues between historical figuresincluding Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Wittgenstein, Francis Crick, and Steven PinkerAleksander leads readers toward an understanding of consciousness. He shows not only how the latest work with artificial neural systems suggests that an artificial form of consciousness is possible but also that its design would clarify many of the puzzles surrounding the murky concept of consciousness itself. The book also looks at the presentation of "self" in robots, the learning of language, and the nature of emotion, will, instinct, and feelings.
Table of Contents
1. Imagination and Consciousness
2. Miletus: Where the Dreaming Begins
3. Nineteen Fifty-eight: A Voyage Toward Interdisciplinarity
4. The Ghost of Aristotle: An Influence Across Two Millennia
5. Early Artificial Neurons and the Beginnings of Artificial Intelligence
6. Liberating Philosophy: The Empiricists
7. Canterbury: The First Machines
8. Wittgenstein: A Brief Interlude
9. The WISARD Years: Machines with No Mind
10. Starting the Week with Consciousness
11. MAGNUS in South Kensington and Pasadena
12. On Being Conscious: The Ego in the Machine
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