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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dead Beat's Intellectual Home Territory

Dead Beat has a new best friend. Douglas R. Hofstadter (Didn't Groucho play him in a movie? - Hudson)

Hofstadter is the son of Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Robert Hofstadter. He was instrumental in paving the way for our understanding of Artificial Intelligence and works extensively developing cognitive models of "high level perception". He wrote a series of influential columns for Scientific American in the 80s and out of that grew his book Metamagical Themas which Dead Beat is now reading.

Have a peep over my shoulder: "The diversity of my columns is worth discussing for a moment. On the surface they seem to wander all over the intellectual map - from sexism to music to art to nonsense, from game theory to artificial intelligence to molecular biology to the Cube and more. But there is, I believe, a deep underlying unity to my columns. I felt that gradually as I wrote more and more of them, regular readers would start to see the links between disparate ones, so that after a while the coherence of the web would be quite clear. My image of this was always geometric. I envisioned my intellectual home territory as a rather large region in some conceptual space, a region that most people do not see as a connected unit. Each new column was in a way a new 'random dot' in that conceptual space, and as dots began peppering the space more fully over the months, the shape of my territory would begin to emerge more clearly."

Doug you took the words right out of my mouth. And you all thought Dead Beat was stark raving mad. Instead he turns out to be an intellectual of the highest order. Take that!

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