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Shadows of the Mind

de Roger Penrose

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

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786520,894 (3.73)6
A New York Times bestseller when it appeared in 1989, Roger Penrose's The Emperor's New Mind was universally hailed as a marvelous survey of modern physics as well as a brilliant reflection on the human mind, offering a new perspective on the scientific landscape and a visionary glimpse of the possible future of science. Now, in Shadows of the Mind, Penrose offers another exhilarating look at modern science as he mounts an even more powerful attack on artificial intelligence. But perhaps more important, in this volume he points the way to a new science, one that may eventually explain the physical basis of the human mind. Penrose contends that some aspects of the human mind lie beyond computation. This is not a religious argument (that the mind is something other than physical) nor is it based on the brain's vast complexity (the weather is immensely complex, says Penrose, but it is still a computable thing, at least in theory). Instead, he provides powerful arguments to support his conclusion that there is something in the conscious activity of the brain that transcends computation--and will find no explanation in terms of present-day science. To illuminate what he believes this "something" might be, and to suggest where a new physics must proceed so that we may understand it, Penrose cuts a wide swathe through modern science, providing penetrating looks at everything from Turing computability and Godel's incompleteness, via Schrodinger's Cat and the Elitzur-Vaidman bomb-testing problem, to detailed microbiology. Of particular interest is Penrose's extensive examination of quantum mechanics, which introduces some new ideas that differ markedly from those advanced in The Emperor's New Mind, especially concerning the mysterious interface where classical and quantum physics meet. But perhaps the most interesting wrinkle in Shadows of the Mind is Penrose's excursion into microbiology, where he examines cytoskeletons and microtubules, minute substructures lying deep within the brain's neurons. (He argues that microtubules--not neurons--may indeed be the basic units of the brain, which, if nothing else, would dramatically increase the brain's computational power.) Furthermore, he contends that in consciousness some kind of global quantum state must take place across large areas of the brain, and that it within microtubules that these collective quantum effects are most likely to reside. For physics to accommodate something that is as foreign to our current physical picture as is the phenomenon of consciousness, we must expect a profound change--one that alters the very underpinnings of our philosophical viewpoint as to the nature of reality. Shadows of the Mind provides an illuminating look at where these profound changes may take place and what our future understanding of the world may be.… (més)
  1. 00
    The Quantum Brain: The Search for Freedom and the Next Generation of Man de Jeffrey Satinover (P_S_Patrick)
    P_S_Patrick: "A Search for The Missing Science of Consciousness", the title is not misleading, a search is what this book is. A very in depth search into a singular place in which the missing component, (Quantum phenomena), of consciousness may be found. The results of the search are tentative, but profound, for anyone who manages to work their way to the books hard fought conclusion. If Shadows of the Mind can be compared to a 7 day marathon with a very nice cup of tea at the end of it, the Quantum Brain could be compared to having your shoulders massaged for an hour, then having a better cup of tea, with a biscuit. It is instant gratification. The whole of the Quantum Brain is interesting, here you do not have a couple of dozen pages of interest at the end preceded by several hundred torturous ones. Of course, those with an unquenchable thirst for physics and consciousness theories will have to read both, but those with common sense, (alas, something we scientists lack), will just skip to the good stuff, and pick up a copy of the Quantum Brain.… (més)
  2. 00
    The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics de Roger Penrose (P_S_Patrick)
    P_S_Patrick: These two books being from the same author, and on the same subject, consciousness, it is hard not to recommend one one if you have enjoyed the other. While Shadows is the more satisfying book in the end, ENM is the more entertaining, (if maths, physics, logic, and philosophical enquiry can be entertaining). Shadows is a bit harder to get through, and not for the most part as interesting, while ENM has more interesting content, it never really gives any proper answers to the questions discussed, while Shadows does. Shadows is an essential read if you were intrigued with what was laid out in ENM.… (més)
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Es mostren totes 5
Penrose's contribution to the mind-body philosophical question: he speculates that consciousness resides at a quantum level in the brain. ( )
  KirkLowery | Mar 4, 2014 |
Read while doing some research into artificial-intelligence at university. ( )
  simondavies | Sep 30, 2009 |
This book is really really dense.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.
  glowing-fish | Jul 12, 2008 |
I sort of knew what to expect with this book, having read the Emperor's New Mind, of which this is the sequel. That is, there is a lot of maths, physics, and technical detail to get your head around. This book for the most part is even drier than ENM, but makes up for it with a much more satisfying conclusion, which more than hints at how the brain could actually use the laws of quantum physics to solve non computational problems, (such as the stopping problem). I doubt that the mechanisms described are accurate to how things are precisely, but the theory and principles behind them seem sound, and the implications really remarkable. I would recommend this book only to those with the patience to finish it, you have to get through a lot of difficult stuff before you get to the interesting bits at the end. I thought it was worth it, but I don't imagine that a high proportion of poeple will, due to the heavy nature of the subject matter. ( )
3 vota P_S_Patrick | Jun 5, 2008 |
Recommended by Mike King
  richardsgreenwood | Aug 3, 2006 |
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Wikipedia en anglès (3)

A New York Times bestseller when it appeared in 1989, Roger Penrose's The Emperor's New Mind was universally hailed as a marvelous survey of modern physics as well as a brilliant reflection on the human mind, offering a new perspective on the scientific landscape and a visionary glimpse of the possible future of science. Now, in Shadows of the Mind, Penrose offers another exhilarating look at modern science as he mounts an even more powerful attack on artificial intelligence. But perhaps more important, in this volume he points the way to a new science, one that may eventually explain the physical basis of the human mind. Penrose contends that some aspects of the human mind lie beyond computation. This is not a religious argument (that the mind is something other than physical) nor is it based on the brain's vast complexity (the weather is immensely complex, says Penrose, but it is still a computable thing, at least in theory). Instead, he provides powerful arguments to support his conclusion that there is something in the conscious activity of the brain that transcends computation--and will find no explanation in terms of present-day science. To illuminate what he believes this "something" might be, and to suggest where a new physics must proceed so that we may understand it, Penrose cuts a wide swathe through modern science, providing penetrating looks at everything from Turing computability and Godel's incompleteness, via Schrodinger's Cat and the Elitzur-Vaidman bomb-testing problem, to detailed microbiology. Of particular interest is Penrose's extensive examination of quantum mechanics, which introduces some new ideas that differ markedly from those advanced in The Emperor's New Mind, especially concerning the mysterious interface where classical and quantum physics meet. But perhaps the most interesting wrinkle in Shadows of the Mind is Penrose's excursion into microbiology, where he examines cytoskeletons and microtubules, minute substructures lying deep within the brain's neurons. (He argues that microtubules--not neurons--may indeed be the basic units of the brain, which, if nothing else, would dramatically increase the brain's computational power.) Furthermore, he contends that in consciousness some kind of global quantum state must take place across large areas of the brain, and that it within microtubules that these collective quantum effects are most likely to reside. For physics to accommodate something that is as foreign to our current physical picture as is the phenomenon of consciousness, we must expect a profound change--one that alters the very underpinnings of our philosophical viewpoint as to the nature of reality. Shadows of the Mind provides an illuminating look at where these profound changes may take place and what our future understanding of the world may be.

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