How to Build a Mind: Toward Machines with Imagination

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Columbia University Press, 2001 - Computers - 205 pages
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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.


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How to Build a Mind (Maps of the Mind)

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

One of the earliest proponents of neural engineering to build artificially intelligent systems, Aleksander (Imperial Coll. of Science, Technology, and Medicine, London) has more than 30 years of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fpagan - LibraryThing

Written by an AI man, but often lacking in organization, clarity, and meatiness. Read full review


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About the author (2001)

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.

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