Tuesday 19 October 2004

Today's Brain Link

And also an addition to the Blogroll, something I do only on alternate leap-years.

This one's from Sound and Fury, a mis-named blog if ever there was one, as it certainly isn't "A tale told by an Idiot....signifying nothing".

Bear with me: some stuff I post is "froth and bubble", designed for amusement and to refresh the intellectual palate between main courses of things of great worth and moment. This one's meat, with truffles and a rich, rich sauce.

It's a critique of Martin Gardner's review of Roger Penrose's new thousand-page Magnum Opus, The Road to Reality.

Sounds exciting - not. But to anyone remotely interested in "Life, the Universe and Everything", the nature of mind and matter, it's heady stuff.

What is it about? I'll quote :
1. Contrary to Gardner's characterization, Roger Penrose didn't simply attack the dubious notion that "...in just a few decades...computers will be able to do everything a human mind can do." He wouldn't have gone to all the trouble of writing two hefty tomes on AI merely for the purpose of arguing against the giddy speculations "of a few artificial intelligence mavens". Anyone can do that. He wrote to argue for the utter impossibility of human-equivalent AI--an entirely different (and vastly more difficult) argument.
Dan Goss, the author, manages to distill the quintescence of many pages of already triple-distilled writing by some truly brilliant minds. I'm not sure I agree with him in all respects, but it's the type of writing that requires really careful perusal, and a lot of contemplation afterwards.

How have I managed not to spot this before? Well, his blog archives only go back 3 weeks. I was able to read every article on it in a few minutes. It will take me many hours though to digest what he's been saying.

Fortunately the author sent me an e-mail (larded with compliments) drawing my attention to it, otherwise I might have missed it, and would have been kicking myself afterwards when I finally did locate it.

I'll be posting later about these issues. But right now, I feel like the traditional Anaconda that's just swallowed an elephant. Whatever intellectual stimulation this blog has provided Dan in the past has been repaid a thousandfold. And there's more to come! Yummmmmmm.

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