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



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

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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

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