Machines Who Think: A Personal Inquiry into the History and Prospects of Artificial Intelligence / Edition 2

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Pamela McCorduck first went among the artificial intelligentsia when the field was fresh and new, and asked the scientists engaged in it what they were doing and why. She saw artificial intelligence as the scientific apotheosis of one of the most enduring, glorious, often amusing, and sometimes alarming, traditions of human culture: the endless fascination with artifacts that think. Machines Who Think was translated into many languages, became an international cult classic, and stayed in print for nearly twenty years. Now, Machines Who Think is back, along with an extended addition that brings the field up to date in the last quarter century, including its scientific and its public faces. McCorduck shows how, from a slightly dubious fringe science, artificial intelligence has moved slowly (though not always steadily) to a central place in our everyday lives, and how it will be even more crucial as the World Wide Web moves into its next generation.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Twenty-five years ago, Pamela McCorduck’s passionate, impressionistic introduction to artificial intelligence helped accelerate the AI revolution. Her book still fascinates. Recently, AI Magazine wrote, “it is a tribute to her powers of observation and her conversational style” that no AI book for a general audience has ever proven more successful.

Now, Machines Who Think is back. McCorduck’s appended a new, 100-page afterword covering what’s happened since 1980. Her timing’s perfect. AI’s had its fits and starts, but -- from Tim Berners-Lee’s Semantic Web to Neiman Marcus’s Christmas catalog -- it’s rolling forward again.

Even without the last 25 years, this is an amazing story with roots that go back to ancient Greece. It’s full of unforgettable personalities (think Marvin Minsky). And we agree with AI: McCorduck has told it brilliantly. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2003 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

From the Publisher
" my money, Machines Who Think continues to be the most reliable source on the first couple of decades."" -Herbert A. Simon, March 2004

""If you are interested in how the pioneers of AI approached the problem of getting a machine to think like a human—a story told here with verve, wit, intelligence and perception—there is no better place to go than this book."" -John Casti, NATURE, April 2004

""The enormous, if stealthy, influence of AI bears out many of the wonders foretold 25 years ago in Machines Who Think, Pamela McCorduck's groundbreaking survey of the history and prospects of the field…. [T]aken together, the original and the afterword form a rich and fascinating history."" -Scientific American, May 2004"

From The Critics
"Taken together, the original and the afterword form a rich and fascinating history. Along the way, McCorduck introduces us to some interesting characters, not the least of whom are the naysayers."
-- Scientific American

"If you are interested in how the pioneers of AI approached the problem of getting a machine to think like a human--a story told here with verve, wit, intelligence, and perception--there is no better place to go than this book."
-- Nature

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568812052
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Table of Contents

Time Line: The Mechanization of Thinking
Pt. I Beginnings
1 Brass for Brain 3
2 From Energy to Information 37
3 The Machinery of Wisdom 59
4 Meat Machines 85
Pt. II The Turning Point
5 The Dartmouth Conference 111
6 The Information-Processing Model 137
7 Fun and Games 171
Pt. III Resistance
8 Us and Them 195
9 L'Affaire Dreyfus 211
Pt. IV Realizations
10 Robotics and General Intelligence 243
11 Language, Scenes, Symbols, and Understanding 277
12 Applied Artificial Intelligence 317
Pt. V The Tensions of Choice
13 Can a Made-Up Mind Be Moral? 353
14 Forging the Gods 381
Pt. V Afterword: The Following Quarter-Century of Artificial Intelligence 417
Timeline: The Evolution of Intelligence 523
Bibliography 535
Index 547
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