An energetic, holistic consideration of AI’s potentialities to impact our lives in profound ways.

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A HUMAN ALGORITHM

HOW ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS REDEFINING WHO WE ARE

A writer, human rights attorney, and public speaker explores how our relationship with intelligent technologies will help us reimagine what it means to be human.

In this earnest, meaty investigation of the ideal future of how we work with intelligent technologies, Coleman posits that we are at the end of the last cycle of technological development led entirely by humans. Artificial intelligence will be a partner in defining the next era of our technological future. Right now, she writes, “we are alarmingly unready for the reality of powerful AI that reaches conclusions and decisions independent from human intervention.” We are training machines to teach themselves with AI algorithms that allow computers to learn on their own rather than be incrementally programmed. It is vital, Coleman implores, that we incorporate core human beliefs into AI values. This will open up an encompassing reappraisal of not just the human place in the cosmos; we will need to address the nature of consciousness as it relates to AI and ourselves. Currently, we haven’t locked in “a complete definition of synthetic intelligence, much less shape[d] the regulations, rules, codes, values, and laws needed to guide it.” The author examines a host of relevant concerns—the role of curiosity, what rights will be afforded AI machinery, and the question of whether a self-aware robot has a soul (whatever that is)—and she emphasizes the importance of transparency, inclusive thinking, and the building of compassion, quality of life, and fairness into the machines to construct a moral imagination. Coleman necessarily operates in the realm of conjecture because she grapples with age-old questions and the unframed future. However, AI’s rapidly expanding capacity for autonomy suggests that these are the very questions that must be addressed now. How we choose to develop synthetic intelligence will tell us how we will protect and expand our rights and freedoms in the future.

An energetic, holistic consideration of AI’s potentialities to impact our lives in profound ways.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64009-236-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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