IN OUR OWN IMAGE

BUILDING AN ARTIFICIAL PERSON

The Age of the Robots is here, according to neural-networks consultant Caudill, who paints the current state of robotic research in glowing terms—and then warns that our ersatz spawn may prove to be an albatross around our neck. Two technologies are at work in the creation of an android: artificial intelligence, ``the attempt to make computers behave intelligently''; and neural networks, ``information-processing systems...that mimic our current understanding of the brain.'' Both are in fine mettle, as Caudill shows in what amounts to a book- length recipe for robots. Androids must be able to see, move, talk, remember, plan, solve problems, and learn from experience. Even now, the technology of vision is nearly licked. As for mobility, the first robots will tootle around on wheels, but two-legged locomotion is just a two-step behind. A ``human-like robotic finger'' exists, and today's robots can solve problems that no self-respecting human would entertain (``Delilah is a cat...all cats are furry,'' etc.). Soon robots will speak as fluently as Star War's C-3PO. And so on. Having delivered the high-tech goods, Caudill then performs some astounding leaps of logic and erects, on gossamer philosophical underpinnings, a claim that robots will possess what we know as feeling, mind, even life (according to her definitions, computer viruses are alive). This leads to such weighty questions as whether android hookers will be legalized (``might it not be safer from a hygienic perspective'') and, we kid you not, ``Could an android become...a Jewish rabbi?'' An intriguing, albeit clunkily penned (``NETtalk was an attempt to demonstrate neural network speech generation system capabilities''), glimpse into the current state of robotic research and of computer-jock fantasy. (Four halftones and 29 line drawings- -not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-19-507338-X

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1992

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

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more