How to Build a Mind: Toward Machines with Imagination

How to Build a Mind: Toward Machines with Imagination

by Igor Aleksander
     
 

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.

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Overview

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 figures—including Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Wittgenstein, Francis Crick, and Steven Pinker—Aleksander 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.

Columbia University Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231120135
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
10/29/2003
Series:
Maps of the Mind Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.99(w) x 8.93(h) x 0.66(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Igor Aleksander is professor of neural engineering systems at the Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine in London. He has studied artificial intelligence for more than thirty years and has published over 200 papers and ten books on the subject, including Reinventing Man, Impossible Minds: My Neurons, My Consciousness and Neurons and Symbols: The Stuff That Mind Is Made Of.

Columbia University Press

Table of Contents

Preface1. Imagination and Consciousness2. Miletus: Where the Dreaming Begins3. Nineteen Fifty-eight: A Voyage Toward Interdisciplinarity4. The Ghost of Aristotle: An Influence Across Two Millennia5. Early Artificial Neurons and the Beginnings of Artificial Intelligence6. Liberating Philosophy: The Empiricists7. Canterbury: The First Machines8. Wittgenstein: A Brief Interlude9. The WISARD Years: Machines with No Mind10. Starting the Week with Consciousness11. MAGNUS in South Kensington and Pasadena12. On Being Conscious: The Ego in the MachineEpilogueFurther Reading

Columbia University Press

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