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Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  577 ratings  ·  28 reviews
subtitle: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought
Published (first published January 1st 1991)
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In this book Douglas Hofstadter and his colleagues from the FARG / Fluid Analogies Research Group give away details of their findings on computer’s ability to make analogies, creativity, and what is called “fluid concepts”. There’s a couple of programs the “FARGonauts” developed over the years. The different chapters had been published before in science magazines but received an overhaul for this book. There are also newly written prefaces to each chapter and a very interesting epilogue called C ...more
Maurizio Codogno
Nov 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scienza, finished
Non è facile commentare un libro di cui sono il traduttore, e nel quale sono citato e ringraziato nella postfazione...
Il libro è "di lavoro", nel senso che è formato da vari capitoli che raccontano i progetti portati avanti dal gruppo di ricerca sulle scienze cognitive guidato da Hofstadter. I lavori si basano sul cercare di vedere come un sistema possa riuscire a trovare delle analogie su ambienti molto specializzati: ad esempio, trovare l'elemento successivo di una serie di numeri, oppure risp
Apr 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, westend
Well below expectations.

This books has a couple of major problems:

First, Hofstadter keeps describing the computer programs he was working on.
"That book is 'required reading' for anyone who really wants to understand [the computer program] Copycat—definitely a worthwhile goal, in my book." pg. 301.

These programs were meant to simulate human cognition. But Hofstadter skips a key step. Instead of discussing his model of human cognition, he keeps discussing his model of the program.

Second, Hofstad
Today I officially cry UNCLE! I read and skimmed 273 of 491 pages. The subject is Artificial Intelligence. The author builds a series of computer programs to solve rigorously defined but not automatic-t-solve logic games. We get to play these games with pencil and paper but do not see the actual code. There is a lot of discussion of the problems other AI researchers have chosen and whether the solutions they have come up with constitute AI to any degree. Some chapters are, verbatim, papers which ...more
Eric Hamen
Aug 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ontologyetc
One of the denser of Hofsteader's books. Ruminations on thought vs program. Not light reading but no more difficult that Godel Esher Bach. Took me a good while to finish but am very glad I did. ...more
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
I picked up FC + CA after being completely blown away by Hofstadter's acclaimed GodelEscherBach. However, I was admittedly a bit disappointed by this book. Though Hofstadter warns in the preface that this book is meant to contain overlap between the chapters, I found the repetitive nature of this book a bit of a roadblock to someone who was determined to read it cover to cover. Though, the nuances found between each research project and how a group of core ideas could be applied in a multitude o ...more
Katherine Green
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How to build a fragment of something that does something quite a bit like actual thinking, at least about analogy puzzles.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nice book!!
Sep 07, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosphers first, AI computer engineers second
Ugh. Note that I started this book in 2006 and am still trying to get through it. Douglas Hofstadter is most famouse for Godel, Escher, and Bach and I haven't gotten through that one fully yet either. However, I am intrigued by his continued search for "I". He has dedicated his life to unraveling how we think and looked at it from the lens of various fields: physics, philosophy, biology, mathematics, and, in this novel, computer science. I appreciate Hofstadter because his breadth is tremendou ...more
Michael Guyer
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought about giving this 3 stars, but because I find Hofstadter's writing so readable I bumped it up to 4. Several interesting projects are detailed and discussed in this collection, and I largely agree with Hofstadter's assessment about what constitutes real decision making in a program designed to carry out some "intelligent" task such as analogy making, but the projects and their underlying architectures are all quite similar and thus grow a bit boring to read about by the end. This does ser ...more
Dave Peticolas
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A collection of papers authored by Hofstadter and the members of his Fluid Analogies Research Group, this book presents the results of many years work in cognitive science research.

Also included are a couple papers pointedly criticizing some other approaches in the field, the main criticism being a failure to model human cognition in a realistic way.

Hofstadter is always worth reading and this collection is no exception to the rule.

Dec 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book examines in some detail an interesting architecture for systems for tackling some problems that might otherwise seem unapproachable.
It goes into sufficient detail that a competent developer could probably reproduce the solutions
However, it is largely a collection of publish papers and hence is very repetitious to a degree that annoyed me.
Philip Chaston
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A long book, a month's read on the morning train after the Economist and a bridge between instantiating puzzles within microdomains and how we are creative. Exploring his programs reminds me of how we should stop, take stock and understand that simple questions, a child's questions, are keys to unlocking the insight of how we use analogy, metaphor and the new. ...more
In depth look at some of Professor Hofstadter's recent and very original research. There is also an essay raising some interesting points about the difficulty in assessing the quality of work in artificial intelligence. (Prof H is too diplomatic to say so, but he obviously questions the promise and usefulness of many standard fields of exploration). ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book if you like to know about some of the structural aspects of artificial intelligence programs. Hofstadter works in domains which are very small, but interesting because of their playful nature.
Nov 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The focus on small hard problems in tiny domains is something I am growing more sympathetic too. Also, his indictment of symbolic cognitive science is a must read for people who do work in the field.
Aug 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most focused and concrete of Hofstadter's books. Also somewhat dryer, but definitely with interesting contents. Particularly for those interested in novel approaches to analogical reasoning in AI. ...more
Oct 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cog-sci-related, own
picked up at a capella books on a lark. GEB was good times; we'll see on this one. ...more
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of a pile of Mind books I grabbed desperately for a first-year philosophy essay. Did not understand it (naturally that didn't stop me citing it). Will have another go some day ...more
Michael Hassin
technical, precise, insightful
Dec 12, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know you want it. All my wonderful AI fascinated friends, you know you want it!
Brian Powell
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Provocative exploration of computer models of human creativity. Given today's strong emphasis on perception within AI, Hofstadter's book is a refreshing departure into the mysteries of mental fluidity and analogy, key bellwethers of human intelligence.

This book is a collection of articles by Hofstadter and his fellow researchers that describe a series of computer programs developed to model the mechanics of analogy-making and creativity. At times I'd lament the level of detail, thinking "I don't
David Jacobson
As in all of his books I've read, Douglas Hofstadter (and co-authors) raise fascinating questions about the nature of human thought as a high-level language of the brain. Here they present a series of (now-outdated) artificial intelligence experiments in which they attempt to model human cognition in drastically restricted domains; e.g., the domain of word-scramble puzzles, the domain of numerical sequences, etc. In doing so, they expose the myriad complexities of modeling creative thought even ...more
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the one hand, I think Hofstadter is probably roundly vindicated by the last few decades of AI research. Having small systems work together stochastically for emergent results seems more line in with the direction we've gone in since then, and his resistance to hand-coding in specific relationships has certainly been borne out to be right. However I imagine he's not terribly satisfied with the progress in deep learning and neural networks, as they are, more than ever, completely mysterious bla ...more
In comparison to AI development, this book is still valid for understanding human ability and mentality in a broader sense. Machine learning has already impacted every day's activities, would be crucial to visit some initial goal of replicating a human mind (including emotion and such), as to review the model we know of, for its depth and representation. ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The three star rating is not a reflection of the book's quality, just that it's highly specialized. This isn't the total tour de force of "Gödel, Escher, Bach", but a series of discussions about the mechanisms of analogy and how that is a cornerstone of what we could call intelligence. Absorbing if again not quite the bolt of lightning "G,E,B" was, but what else could be? ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Nicht annähernd so gut wie die anderen Werke. Anders ausgedrückt: ganz schön öde insgesamt, obwohl da natürlich einige Geistesspritzer zu finden sind.
Adrian Demetrescu
rated it it was amazing
May 19, 2014
Chris Campbell
rated it really liked it
Feb 13, 2016
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Douglas Richard Hofstadter is an American scholar of cognitive science, physics, and comparative literature whose research focuses on consciousness, thinking and creativity. He is best known for his book Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, first published in 1979, for which he was awarded the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction.

Hofstadter is the son of Nobel Prize-winning physici

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