The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics

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OUP Oxford, Mar 4, 1999 - Computers - 602 pages
9 Reviews
For decades, proponents of artificial intelligence have argued that computers will soon be doing everything that a human mind can do. Admittedly, computers now play chess at the grandmaster level, but do they understand the game as we do? Can a computer eventually do everything a human mind can do?
In this absorbing and frequently contentious book, Roger Penrose--eminent physicist and winner, with Stephen Hawking, of the prestigious Wolf prize--puts forward his view that there are some facets of human thinking that can never be emulated by a machine. Penrose examines what physics and mathematics can tell us about how the mind works, what they can't, and what we need to know to understand the physical processes of consciousness.
He is among a growing number of physicists who think Einstein wasn't being stubborn when he said his "little finger" told him that quantum mechanics is incomplete, and he concludes that laws even deeper than quantum mechanics are essential for the operation of a mind. To support this contention, Penrose takes the reader on a dazzling tour that covers such topics as complex numbers, Turing machines, complexity theory, quantum mechanics, formal systems, Godel undecidability, phase spaces, Hilbert spaces, black holes, white holes, Hawking radiation, entropy, quasicrystals, the structure of the brain, and scores of other subjects.
The Emperor's New Mind will appeal to anyone with a serious interest in modern physics and its relation to philosophical issues, as well as to physicists, mathematicians, philosophers and those on either side of the AI debate.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - antao - www.librarything.com

Penrose certainly has a generous idea of his readers' mathematical ability. It's a kind of running joke among Penrose-fans: he always starts his books by saying you'll find it tough going if you haven ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RandyStafford - LibraryThing

My reactions upon reading this book in 1991. This was a long, grueling read. I won't say I clearly understood (or even dimly understood) all this book. At times my eyes glazed over, and my ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
1 CAN A COMPUTER HAVE A MIND?
3
2 ALGORITHMS AND TURING MACHINES
40
3 MATHEMATICS AND REALITY
98
4 TRUTH PROOF AND INSIGHT
129
5 THE CLASSICAL WORLD
193
6 QUANTUM MAGIC AND QUANTUM MYSTERY
291
7 COSMOLOGY AND THE ARROW OF TIME
391
8 IN SEARCH OF QUANTUM GRAVITY
450
9 REAL BRAINS AND MODEL BRAINS
483
10 WHERE LIES THE PHYSICS OF MIND?
523
Epilogue
583
References
584
Index
596
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Sir Roger Penrose is Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford. He is the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the 1988 Wolf Prize for Physics which he shared with Stephen Hawking for their joint contribution to our understanding of the universe. His other books are Spinors andSpace Time: Vol 1: Two-Spinor Calculus and Relativistic Fields (CUP, 1987); Vol 2: Spinor and Twistor Methods in Space-Time Geometry (both with Wolfgang Rindler, CUP, 1986), Shadows of the Mind (OUP, 1994), The Nature of Space and Time (with Stephen Hawking, Princeton University Press, 1996), andThe Large, the Small and the Human Mind (CUP, 1997).

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