HAL'S LEGACY

2001'S COMPUTER AS DREAM AND REALITY

Tributes to Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke's classic film, and discussions concerning how close we are to computers that are as intelligent, as devious, and even as emotional as the infamous HAL. All 16 contributions collected by Stork (chief scientist of the Ricoh California Research Center) remark upon the fact that Clarke and Kubrick took extraordinary care to base the predictions embodied in 2001 on the best possible scientific knowledge of 1968. HAL, who was supposedly ``born'' in 1997 in Urbana, Ill., will not be possible by 2001, if ever, and Kubrick and Clarke were not prescient enough to predict the most significant advance since the film's release: miniaturization. However, they were fanatically concerned with getting small details right, such as the chess game between HAL and Frank; Murray S. Campbell, a chess player himself, entertainingly discusses how HAL's game is a real game, suggesting IBM's challenge to Gary Kasparov in 1995 to play its computer Deep Blue. Marvin Minsky, the ``father'' of artificial intelligence (AI), discusses HAL's abilities in terms of what might one day be possible, while Daniel Dennett weighs in on the ethics of HAL's murders of the crew and on Frank's decision to disconnect HAL. David Wilkins speaks to the impossibility of trying to program computers to account for every eventuality, and how no plan is ever sufficient. The most fascinating discussions here concern language, however, and the difficulties of designing computers that can both speak and understand speech. Raymond Kurzweil argues that by 2001 we will be able to speak to computers and expect them to do what we say. But both Joseph Olive and Roger Schank point to the almost insurmountable difficulties involved in teaching natural language to computers and ensuring that they understand what they are saying. The cutting edge of AI, and not bad as film criticism either. (color photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-262-19378-7

Page Count: 376

Publisher: MIT Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1996

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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