Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter

Score: 6/5

A Pulitzer Prize winner, It combines math, art, music, and AI seamlessly to answer the question: “Do words and thoughts follow formal rules, or do they not?”

My words fail me. It’s like entering the mind of a genius. I cannot absorb all the information getting thrown at me. So I will just mention a few key points

  • There is a discrepancy between the low level hardware and the high level intelligence. The former is like any physical object. It does not appear to have free will of any kind. But the intelligence is apparently made up of the former. Some level in the middle, something miraculous happened which gives rise to self-awareness and intelligence.
  • Intelligence as we know it involves some kind of self-awareness. That by definition requires some self-referencing. Recursion is beautiful and powerful. It leads to infinity.
  • It is impossible to become completely self-aware, at least in the form that we know today. Because if you are aware of every neuron firing, then what is recording those information? So unless the underlying “hardware” can be self-referencing, complete self-awareness is impossible.
  • The author’s life’s purpose is to “make music”, or to pursue beauty, which in this book is embodied in three things: music, painting, and life.
    • Me: intelligence and self-awareness is not exactly the same, but to have AGI, we need self-aware AI, which requires embodiment.