Machinery of the Mind

Machinery of the Mind

By: George Johnson

Type: Non-fiction survey of AI

Setting: N/A

Description:

During a year of intensive study, George Johnson travelled around the country to conventions, interviewed prominent researchers in the field of cognitive science and read just about everything there is to read on the use of machines to model human intelligence. 

Comments:

Although a few years out of date, Johnson’s book is still a fresh, easy to understand look at the advances in the new science of artificial intelligence (or cognitive science, as some researchers prefer to call it.) Johnson is a good writer, and is obviously an intelligent man. He understands the concepts presented in his book, even though the knowledge comes from many different fields, all of which meet at the center of cognitive science. MotM makes a valient effort to present different sides of the artificial intelligence issue, devoting time to the “engineers,” the people concerned with presenting a working product that doesn’t necessarily have to model human intelligence, and the “scientists,” the heavy-hitters in the AI world who are trying to accurately model the workings of the human mind, whether it is practical or not. I got the impression that Johnson favors the pure research side more than the commercial aspects. 

Recommendations:

This is a great introductory text to artificial intelligence research. I wish I had had it when I started reading Gödel, Escher, Bach many years ago!.

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