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Brainchildren Essays on Designing Minds
by Daniel C. Dennet

In this collection of essays, most of which have been published in scientific journals throughout the 80s and 90s, Daniel Dennet explores three major themes: the philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence, and cognitive ethology, all of which converge to form a lucid picture of the current state of the thinking we do about thinking. Dennet ponders such questions as how does the mind sort the relevant from the irrelevant; how perception of sights, sounds or smells turns into opinions and beliefs, actually resulting in a change to the structure of the mind; how a robot can associate memories with qualia such as the color red, and more. Dennet puts forth the practical requirements for making a conscious robot, explores anew the frame problem of artificial intelligence, and reverts to the Turing Test as the only method we presently have for assessing intelligence. The chapter dedicated to the exploration of animal intelligence includes some surprising observations, applicable to the study of human and machine intelligence.


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