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 reasonably priced book 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 breathless 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.