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Igor Aleksander

Impossible Minds

Philosophers have argued about the nature of consciousness for many centuries. In Impossible Minds Igor Aleksander looks at the question of whether a machine can be conscious, and more generally, what experiments with machine consciousness might tell us about the human variety. Aleksander describes the work he has been doing in trying to model consciousness, describing the features he thinks a conscious being will have and how he has included these in his neural network Magnus. But the book isn't just a description of the author's work, it also discusses the ideas about consciousness which people have put forward through the centuries. Thus it would suit anyone looking for a general overview of the nature of consciousness and the question of whether a machine can possess it.

Sometimes the book seemed to be a bit vague - it's not really suitable as an introduction to neural nets and robotics, but neither is it particularly persuasive regarding ideas about consciousness - Aleksander seems keen not to argue too much with ideas put forward by others. But this isn't so unreasonable as the real point of the book isn't to promote a particular view of consciousness. Rather, it's to make the point that the best way to understand consciousness isn't through endless arguments, but through experimentation, and especially experiments with neural networks.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 368 pages  
ISBN: 1860940366
Salesrank: 8034664
Weight:1.1 lbs
Published: 1996 World Scientific Pub Co Inc
Marketplace:New from $20.71:Used from $2.40
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 368 pages  
ISBN: 1860940366
Salesrank: 2826725
Weight:1.1 lbs
Published: 1996 Imperial College Press
Amazon price £20.00
Marketplace:New from £14.83:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 368 pages  
ISBN: 1860940366
Salesrank: 1507587
Weight:1.1 lbs
Published: 1996 World Scientific Pub Co Inc
Amazon price CDN$ 37.33
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 37.33:Used from CDN$ 8.93
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Product Description
Impossible Minds: My Neurons, My Consciousness has been written to satisfy the curiosity each and every one of us has about our own consciousness. It takes the view that the neurons in our heads are the source of consciousness and attempts to explain how this happens. Although it talks of neural networks, it explains what they are and what they do, in such a way that anyone may understand.This book is also a story. A story of a land where people think that they are automata without much in the way of consciousness, a story of cormorants and cliffs by the sea, a story of what it might be like to be a conscious machineā€¦