Beyond Zero and One: Machines, Psychedelics, and Consciousness

OR Books
2
Free sample

“Andrew Smart deftly shows why it’s time for us to think deeply about thinking machines before they begin thinking deeply about us.” —Douglas Rushkoff, author, Escaping the Growth Trap,Present Shock, and Program or Be Programmed

“Provocative and cool.” —Cory Doctorow

“Forget the Turing test—will the supersmart AIs that we hear so much about these days pass the acid test? In this playful, informative, and prescient book, Andrew Smart brings psychedelics into dialogue with neuroscience in order to challenge the whiz-bang computational views of human and machine sentience that dominate the headlines. Giving robots LSD sounds like a joke, but Smart is dead serious in his critique of the hidden and sometimes dangerous biases that underlie both popular and scientific fantasies of digital minds.” —Erik Davis, host of “Expanding Mind” and author, Techgnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information

“Philosophy, psychedelics, robots, and the future; consciousness and intelligence, what else do you desire? Here you will see why those machines that reach singularity will be smarter than us and take over the world—and shall need to be conscious…and maybe they can only be conscious if they are human enough. The thesis of the book, and the path shown us by Smart, leads to a great trip, of imagination and philosophy, of maths and neuroscience.” —Dr. Tristan Bekinschtein, Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge



Can we build a robot that trips on acid? This is not a frivolous question, according to neuroscientist Andrew Smart. If we can’t, he argues, we haven’t really created artificial intelligence.

In an exposition reminiscent of crossover works such as Gödel, Escher, Bach and Fermat’s Last Theorem, Andrew Smart weaves together Mangarevan binary numbers, the discovery of LSD, Leibniz, computer programming, and much more to connect the vast but largely forgotten world of psychedelic research with the resurgent field of AI and the attempt to build conscious robots. A book that draws on the history of mathematics, philosophy, and digital technology, Beyond Zero and One challenges fundamental assumptions underlying artificial intelligence. Is the human brain based on computation? Can information alone explain human consciousness and intelligence? Smart convincingly makes the case that true intelligence, and artificial intelligence, requires an appreciation of what is beyond the computational.
Read more

About the author

 Andrew Smart is the author of Autopilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing. A scientist and engineer interested in consciousness, brains and technology, his work traverses the boundaries of neuroscience, philosophy, culture, radical politics and metaphysics. He was raised in the U.S., educated and married in Sweden, lived in New York and Minneapolis and now lives in Switzerland.

Read more
4.0
2 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
OR Books
Read more
Published on
Dec 3, 2015
Read more
Pages
268
Read more
ISBN
9781682190074
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
Computers / Intelligence (AI) & Semantics
Computers / Social Aspects / Human-Computer Interaction
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
Finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction: “Nicholas Carr has written a Silent Spring for the literary mind.”—Michael Agger, Slate “Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?

Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind”—from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer—Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways.

Building on the insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic—a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption—and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection.

Part intellectual history, part popular science, and part cultural criticism, The Shallows sparkles with memorable vignettes—Friedrich Nietzsche wrestling with a typewriter, Sigmund Freud dissecting the brains of sea creatures, Nathaniel Hawthorne contemplating the thunderous approach of a steam locomotive—even as it plumbs profound questions about the state of our modern psyche. This is a book that will forever alter the way we think about media and our minds.
©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.