I was born in 1965 and grew up in New England. I now live
with my wife and two kids in a suburb north of Boston,
Massachusetts, in the USA. I work as a computer programmer,
and once wrote a surprisingly accessible, entertaining and very
about Boolean algebra, the logic used inside computer chips.
I have a bachelor's degree in
Computer Science, and no further degree. As an undergraduate, I
became interested in artificial
intelligence. Like many student programmers, with the hubris
often found in undergraduates, I thought that I
should be able to program a computer to think. I no longer think that I
will ever write such a program.
Now I'd settle for a good essay about how
intelligence works or, barring that, an essay about exactly why we
will never know. Some time ago I decided that the problem of consciousness
is a deeper and more interesting problem than that of functionally
realizing artificial intelligence. Further, I now suspect that
we will have to understand consciousness before we have a realistic
shot at AI in the first place.
This site consists primarily of a series of essays pulled together
from a bunch of notes I have written since the summer of 1996. The essays
are all pretty short - it is my hope that they are not so glib or
that they gloss over things that should be explored in more detail.
Each essay has a specific topic or point to make, and is in some
sense self-contained, but they should
still probably be read in order. Naturally, I am eager for any
feedback (johnrgregg <at> comcast.net). If you
agree, disagree - that's great. What I most hope to avoid (and
would be most eager to correct) however, is the situation where
people get hung up on something that I consider a minor sideline,
or an obvious truth, but that is tangential to the point I am
trying to make. By "hung up", I mean a failure to follow the
mechanics of a particular argument as I have constructed it, rather
than a basic disagreement.
If this seems to be the case, please let me know.