An Architect Of A.I.

The Dish

James Somers profiles Douglas Hofstadter, cognitive scientist and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, “the bible of artificial intelligence.” Though Hofstadter seemed poised to become a leading figure in AI research after the publication of GEB in 1979, Somers observes that “then AI changed, and Hofstadter didn’t change with it, and for that he all but disappeared”:

He would increasingly find himself out of a mainstream that had embraced a new imperative: to make machines perform in any way possible, with little regard for psychological plausibility. “Very few people are interested in how human intelligence works,” Hofstadter says. “That’s what we’re interested in—what is thinking?” Take Deep Blue, the IBM supercomputer that bested the chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov. Deep Blue won by brute force. For each legal move it could make at a given point in the game, it would consider…

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