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Hofstadter’s Law

May 29, 2007

I read Douglas Hofstadter’s new book I am a Strange Loop, which argues that consciousness happens spontaneously after a system of dynamic patterns is sufficiently complex.  Strange loops of self-awareness  existing on multiple levels (as in Godel’s famous proof) create hallucinations of a hallucination, and so an “I” forms.  Anyway, as I often do when reading nonfiction, I read a little bit more about the author, and was struck by Hofstadter’s law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s law (note this is recursive and paradoxical, which is Hofstader’s specialty). This turns out to be pretty well known among programmers where everyone has read Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher, Bach.

Via Overcoming Bias.

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