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Friday, March 23, 2007

Strange Loops of Inspiration

Back in 1979 I eagerly acquired Douglas Hofstadter's book: Godel, Escher, Bach. Heard about it in a Scientific American article. Although I had studied Godel's work in mathematics, this was the first time I had seen it placed in the context of computation, which was my world at the time. I remember reading it on a cross Canada flight, losing a bit of sleep. I thought it would have applications in my day-to-day work. That was not the case. Yet still it gave me a new introduction into how philosophy and computation could be married and linked to intelligence. It led me to a time doing artificial intelligence applications in business. Ultimately the AI hype curve descended, and although we had several very useful applications, some still running today, lack of management patience broke our group up.

I just acquired Hofstadter's new book: I am a Strange Loop. Based on the flyleaf, its about consciousness and its emergence from brains. Look forward to reading it. I am not sure it will create the excitement of the 1979 book, but I am willing to be inspired once again.

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