Are You a Machine?: The Brain, the Mind, and what it Means to be Human
Right now, someone in an artificial intelligence lab is fusing silicon circuitry in an attempt to engineer the human mind. In a hospital, a neurosurgeon is attempting to influence a patient’s emotions by firing electrical impulses into his brain. In a classroom, a teacher is explaining how neurons in the brain interact to generate thoughts, feelings, and decisions.
The question of where consciousness comes from and how it works is likely the greatest mystery we face. Despite progress in our knowledge of the brain, we still don’t know how it allows us to do things like enjoy a sunset, solve a math problem, or use our imagination. For those of us who have ever thought about issues of the mind or free will, these developments pose provocative questions.
What would happen if those mysterious processes could be understood? Would a scientist be able to know everything about our minds just from studying the systems in our brains? Could he predict how we will think and act? After all, the brain is an organ just like the heart or stomach, and scientists can figure out when the heart will beat and when the stomach will release bile. If such a thing could be accomplished, would that make me a machine?
There are those who approach this question from a technological perspective. Someday, an engineer might be able to build a robot with my memories, opinions, and behavior. Would that make me a machine?
This concise, lucid primer on neuroscience and philosophy of mind takes the reader to the very depths of the mystery of consciousness, exploring it through the eyes of key philosophers, neuroscientists, and technologists. Avoiding jargon and oversimplification, author Eliezer J. Sternberg illuminates baffling questions of the brain, mind, and what it means to be human.
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Foreword by Andreas Teuber
The Ghost in the Machine
13 other sections not shown
ability able algorithmic ALICE answer behavior believe Benny binding qualia biological body brain broccoli called cerebrum Chalmers says chess Chinese Room color components computer program concept conscious machines create Crick Cynthia Breazeal David Chalmers Deep Blue demon Dennett Dreyfus says dualism Edelman ELIZA example explain feel Francis Crick functional FURTHER READINGS Gary Kasparov Holmes homunculus human consciousness human mind human reasoning idea imagine intelligence interaction John Searle Kasparov Kismet Kurzweil says look Marvin Minsky mechanical memory Mystery of Consciousness neurons nugget organization pass the Turing person philosophers physical events physical world possible primary consciousness problem property dualism puter question Ray Kurzweil rience robot Rocco rulebook scenario scientist sciousness Searle's separate signals simulate solve someone Spiritual Machines Sternberg structure symbols taste theory things thought experiment tion Turing Test understand Chinese User Watson zimbo Zombie Earth zombie twin