Publisher description for The emperor's new mind : concerning computers, minds, and the laws of physics / Roger Penrose ; foreword by Martin Gardner.
Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog
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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. Although the book ranges widely
over relativity theory, quantum mechanics and cosmology, its central concern is what philosophers call the "mind-body problem." 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. In particular, he argues that there is an important gap in our knowledge at the place where classical and quantum physics meet. 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. Penrose's illuminating (and sometimes amusing) drawings highlight his discussions throughout.
As Martin Gardner states in his foreword to the book, "Penrose's achievement in mathematics and physics spring from a lifelong sense of wonder toward the mystery and beauty of being. His little finger tells him that the human mind is more than just a collection of tiny wires and switches."
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.
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Thought and thinking.
Physics -- Philosophy.
Science -- Philosophy.