The first book we will tackle in the monthly Book Club meetings will be the fabulous Pulitzer Prize winning opus by Douglas Hofstadter-- Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid.
Twenty years after it topped the bestseller charts, Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid is still something of a marvel. Besides being a profound and entertaining meditation on human thought and creativity, this book looks at the surprising points of contact between the music of Bach, the artwork of Escher, and the mathematics of Gödel. It also looks at the prospects for computers and artificial intelligence (AI) for mimicking human thought. For the general reader and the computer techie alike, this book still sets a standard for thinking about the future of computers and their relation to the way we think.
Topics Covered: J.S. Bach, M.C. Escher, Kurt Gödel: biographical information and work, artificial intelligence (AI) history and theories, strange loops and tangled hierarchies, formal and informal systems, number theory, form in mathematics, figure and ground, consistency, completeness, Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, recursive structures, theories of meaning, propositional calculus, typographical number theory, Zen and mathematics, levels of description and computers; theory of mind: neurons, minds and thoughts; undecidability; self-reference and self-representation; Turing test for machine intelligence.
We will tackle this 777 page tome over 3 months, to everyone who wishes to time to read it carefully and for the group discussions to plumb as deeply as possible. For this first meeting we will concentrate on the first, approximately, third of the work. For these Book Club meetings, I do request that you do your best to read the material, as opposed to all the other types of meeting where no preparation is required.
We should be able to have lots of fun with this one, and learn alot as well! I think the world would be a better place if everyone had studied this treasure of a book, so I'll do my part to encourage its spread. See you there!