- Taschenbuch: 777 Seiten
- Verlag: Basic Books; Auflage: 20th Anniversary ed. (5. Februar 1999)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0465026567
- ISBN-13: 978-0465026562
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,5 x 5,4 x 23,5 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 88 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 3.450 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
- Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen
Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 5. Februar 1999
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Twenty years after it topped the bestseller charts, Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid is still something of a marvel. Besides being a profound and entertaining meditation on human thought and creativity, this book looks at the surprising points of contact between the music of Bach, the artwork of Escher, and the mathematics of Gödel. It also looks at the prospects for computers and artificial intelligence (AI) for mimicking human thought. For the general reader and the computer techie alike, this book still sets a standard for thinking about the future of computers and their relation to the way we think.
Hofstadter's great achievement in Gödel, Escher, Bach was making abstruse mathematical topics (like undecidability, recursion, and 'strange loops') accessible and remarkably entertaining. Borrowing a page from Lewis Carroll (who might well have been a fan of this book), each chapter presents dialogue between the Tortoise and Achilles, as well as other characters who dramatize concepts discussed later in more detail. Allusions to Bach's music (centering on his Musical Offering) and Escher's continually paradoxical artwork are plentiful here. This more approachable material lets the author delve into serious number theory (concentrating on the ramifications of Gödel's Theorem of Incompleteness) while stopping along the way to ponder the work of a host of other mathematicians, artists, and thinkers.
The world has moved on since 1979, of course. The book predicted that computers probably won't ever beat humans in chess, though Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in 1997. And the vinyl record, which serves for some of Hofstadter's best analogies, is now left to collectors. Sections on recursion and the graphs of certain functions from physics look tantalizing, like the fractals of recent chaos theory. And AI has moved on, of course, with mixed results. Yet Gödel, Escher, Bach remains a remarkable achievement. Its intellectual range and ability to let us visualize difficult mathematical concepts help make it one of this century's best for anyone who's interested in computers and their potential for real intelligence. --Richard Dragan
Topics Covered: J.S. Bach, M.C. Escher, Kurt Gödel: biographical information and work, artificial intelligence (AI) history and theories, strange loops and tangled hierarchies, formal and informal systems, number theory, form in mathematics, figure and ground, consistency, completeness, Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, recursive structures, theories of meaning, propositional calculus, typographical number theory, Zen and mathematics, levels of description and computers; theory of mind: neurons, minds and thoughts; undecidability; self-reference and self-representation; Turing test for machine intelligence.
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Readers today echo the same sentiments. They're all right, in their own way- but none of these views really get at what Hofsteader was trying to do. Yes, GEB is a tuorial on Godel, Bach, ants, recursion and a dozen other esoteric topics, and it's a heck of an intellectual entertainment, but Hofsteader didn't just write GEB to show prove what a clever book he could write. At the core, GEB is, first and formost, a theory of Artifical Intelligence; all the bits on Godel, recursion and combinations are just a tutorial to bring the reader up to speed for what's about to follow.
When GEB was first published, the dominant paradigm in AI was top-down; you built inference engines, programmed them with high-level knowledge about systems, and tried to get them to generalize from their. To a small minority- including Hofstader- this begged the really important questions: Where did the ability to make inferences come from in the first place? How was knowledge represented?
A few pioneers then- people like John Holland- were looking at bottom-up models in which one posited the simplest levels of an organization- the individual elements and the rules of interconnection and communication. They reasoned that that's what the brain was, so if you couldn't derive AI from a model that echoed the brain, you weren't really proving anything. It was from this perspective that GEB was written, and given the state of AI at the time, it's not surprising that most readers- even the most enthusiastic among them- totally missed the point.
Today, the bottom-up, or connectionist paradigm is gaining new respectability, and the work over the last few decades in complexity theory has given us more insight into the mechanisms of connectionism. Reading GEB in that context, not only is Hofstader's thesis much clearer, but the book appears that much more brilliant and prescient, given when it was first written.
If you've never read GEB, read it it now, and then read George Dyson's "Darwin Among the Machines", Waldrop's "Complexity", Resnick's "Turtles, Termites and Traffic James", and John Holland's "Hidden Order". If you've read GEB before, take a look at those same books and then go back and reread GEB. You'll see it in an entirely new light.
Reading Godel, Escher, Bach is like joining a club. People who see you reading it will open spontaneous conversations and often gift you with unexpected insights. (I had a fascinating conversation with a total stranger about Godel's theorem.)
Wish I could give more than five stars.
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