Past, Present and Future

Artificial Intelligence Metaphysics Philosophy Science Singularity Technology

For the holidays, I thought that I would share with you three books that are the most meaningful books I have ever read in my life.

I believe that people from all walks of life are essentially seeking the same thing – truth. Truth comes to us in a way that makes sense to us individually. People are so very different because they have unique life experiences that have molded how they see the world and how they think about it. For me, science and logic has been the path that has brought me closer to the truth. Others take journeys that are just as valid for them, and that will lead them to the same destination. I connected with these books instantly the first time that I read them and have continued to read them at different stages in my life, each time gleaning a little something new.

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

"Past". I first read this book 24 years ago in high school. It was recommended to me by an amazingly talented teacher and it single-handedly transformed the way I look at the world.  It won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize in the General Nonfiction category after it was published in 1979. The author, Douglas Hoftstadter is quite simply a genius and is currently the College Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science Distinguished Professor with Indiana University's Cognitive Science Program. I have read it 5 times in my life, each time peeling back more layers of the onion and extracting more of its exquisite meaning. It is the best book I have ever read, hands down, but a challenging read – you may want to save it for last out of the three.

The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self & Soul

"Present". This is an amazing collection of stories and commentary that will really turn your head upside down and challenge what you think about consciousness, the possibility of other forms of consciousness, how you think, and why you think it. I recommend that you read this book first, to whet your appetite for Douglas Hofstadter's writing.

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

"Future". Ray Kurzweil's view of the near future is also my view, and he backs up his theories with facts.  Ray does a great job of laying his fantastic predictions out for the near future. What he is predicting will take place is simply mind blowing and earth shattering. I recommend that you read this book second out of the three. 

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Chris K. Haley, Subscribe Get free RSS or email updates here.