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The Mind’s I

I recently finished reading The Mind’s I by Douglas R. Hofstadter, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, and Daniel C. Dennett, the Santa Claus-like patron saint of the recent publicly resurgent atheism. Sometimes books come into your life at the precise moment when they will have maximal impact. That happened for me with this book.

It is a collection of writings from authors such as Alan Turing, Richard Dawkins, John Searle, StanisÅ‚aw Lem, and Jorge Borges on the subject of mind, consciousness, and artificial intelligence. That’s exactly what I’ve been pondering lately. The authors present conflicting viewpoints (they promise to make everyone think) and then present their responses to the essay. A simple, very effective format.

The authors delivered on their promise. The book caused me to take a long look at what exactly it means to be a conscious, intelligent being. What is the self? Is there a soul? Can consciousness be explained reductively by interactions of neurons? What gives rise to our experience of consciousness? Many were the thought provoking moments that I spent with this book.

By the way, this is the book that I was reading in that Indian bistro a while ago.

An excellent read.

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Oasis Mailbag: Turing Test

I just received this from my contact form.

hie…….i m just a young girl who is an undergraduate in a local university.Actually i would like to tell you that my communication skills are very bad even i am excellent in speaking(excellent speaker)[IT IS TRUE}.No matter who is with me also,at last we will end up as enemies...I really worry because i know i can develop very well at speaking n my strong point is i can speak professionally.Moreover,i can do very well in sales or bee a deejay representative or even as host.May be it is because i can absorb things very fast.But i m sad because deep inside my heart,i feel lonely because i need sumone who is also a girl at my age to share my joy and memories with me.I am the youngest in my family,so all my siblings'age are very far from mine.what should i do?I am lonely actually even people see me as sumone who is an active socialicer.I don't mind if u know bout me.Please reply me at [email address deleted].

i really hope it can be solved and i can live my life like others.



It’s obviously spam. What I find interesting is the question of whether this was written by a human spammer or generated by a computer. The reason I would question it is because it has just enough narrative coherence to be believably written by a human, at least the main structure of it. But it’s just incoherent enough to convince me that it’s a computer. It’s probably a hybrid of both. It’s approaching the Uncanny Valley of writing.

It’s an interesting case study in artificial intelligence. It’s probably as sophisticated as Eliza. :)

And just in case there really is a lonely university student out there and I’ve failed the Turing test, sorry, but you write like a spambot. ;)

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