A bold and rigorous contribution to the literature on an increasingly important scientific subject.

READ REVIEW

WILL COMPUTERS REVOLT?

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

A writer offers an optimistic assessment of the future of artificial intelligence. 

The prospect of artificial intelligence is routinely made the subject of popular sci-fi, usually presented as a dystopian nightmare. Just as machines achieve self-awareness, they violently mutiny against their human oppressors. But Simon (Computer Aided Design of Printed Circuits, 1987) argues that while these scenarios are typically more cynical than warranted, they do capture what he believes is an inevitability: the creation of “super-intelligent thinking machines” endowed with free will and self-aware consciousnesses that are vastly superior in mental capacity to human beings. Because a “biological neuron is an electrochemical device, we could theoretically manufacture one with identical functionality from non-biological components such as transistors and capacitors.” Further, there is relentless consumer pressure to accomplish precisely this. The author articulates a general theory of intelligence that includes the eight essential capabilities a machine would have to demonstrate to be properly considered engaged in thought and ultimately capable of self-aware consciousness and free will. Simon doesn’t shy away from making boldly specific predictions: Computer intelligence will exceed human intelligence in 5 to 20 years, and in 30 years, there will be machines 1 million times as smart. He also considers the societal implications of such a development, including the nature of the technology that will be produced as well as the various doomsday scenarios so often treated in literature and cinema. The author has degrees in computer science and electrical engineering but also displays an impressive grasp of the relevant evolutionary, neuroscientific, and philosophical theories. At the heart of his provocative discussion is not only a consideration of what is technologically feasible, but also what it means for a being to be intelligent. Simon astutely understands that simply beating a person in chess doesn’t justify a meaningful attribution of consciousness, and his articulation of the conditions necessary for the replication of human cognition is penetrating. In addition, he manages to tackle conceptually complex problems in consistently accessible prose. 

A bold and rigorous contribution to the literature on an increasingly important scientific subject. 

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73268-721-9

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Future AI

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

more