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Publishers Weekly, 2003-01-27 Can computers think? What does that question mean? What might the answer portend for human values? Georges treats these questions-long mainstays of discussions among mathematicians, computer scientists, cognitive psychologists, ethicists, science fiction writers and philosophers-thoroughly, if derivatively, using illustrations from Star Trek and other popular science fiction books, television shows and movies. The first half of the book examines the idea of machine intelligence, then moves on to consciousness, emotions, neurosis and moral awareness. The conversation draws heavily on popular accounts by computer pioneers Marvin Minsky and Alan Turing, mathematician Roger Penrose and cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter. The second half of the book explores the social implications of computer intelligence, including whether machines will take over the world. Georges, a former research scientist at the National Bureau of Standards and the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences, bases this part on popular works by astronomer Carl Sagan and biologist Richard Dawkins, and several magazine articles. Essentially a summary of generally believed notions regarding the power of machines, illustrated with pop culture references, the book's strength lies in its blend of comprehensive coverage with straightforward prose. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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