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Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans (Pelican Books) by [Melanie Mitchell]
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Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans (Pelican Books) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 272 ratings

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Mitchell knows what she's talking about. Even better, she's a clear, cogent and interesting writer . . . Artificial Intelligence has significantly improved my knowledge when it comes to automation technology, [but] the greater benefit is that it has also enhanced my appreciation for the complexity and ineffability of human cognition.--John Warner, Chicago Tribune

Without shying away from technical details, this survey provides an accessible course in neural networks, computer vision, and natural-language processing, and asks whether the quest to produce an abstracted, general intelligence is worrisome . . . Mitchell's view is a reassuring one. --The New Yorker

In Mitchell's telling, artificial intelligence (AI) raises extraordinary issues that have disquieting implications for humanity. AI isn't for the faint of heart, and neither is this book for nonscientists . . . she is a good writer with broad knowledge of the topic . . . and a canny mindfulness of both the merits and problems of AI. --Howard Schneider, Undark

Artificial intelligence can trounce you at chess, but will mistake a school bus for an ostrich or make bizarre connections between birds and hydrants. Mitchell cuts through the hype that the field of A.I. is often prone to and lays out what it does well, where it fails, and how it might do better. --George Musser, author of Spooky Action at a Distance

The recent resurgence of AI has led to predictions of everything from the end of the world to immortality. Melanie Mitchell's very intelligent, clear and sensible book is a welcome corrective to the exaggerated fears and hopes for AI, and the prefect primer to start understanding how the systems actually work. --Alison Gopnik, professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley, and author of The Philosophical Baby

Melanie Mitchell writes about AI with a warm, friendly voice and an unpretentious brilliance that no machine could hope to match...for now. --Steven Strogatz, professor of mathematics, Cornell University, and author of Infinite Powers

Melanie Mitchell's book is a must read for anyone interested in the emerging revolution of AI, machine learning and big data. She provides a remarkably lucid and comprehensive overview not just of their power and potential in shaping life in the 21st century but, perhaps more importantly, of their shortcomings and dangers. Mitchell brings a holistic, integrated perspective for understanding what these terms actually mean and the capabilities they promise in a non-technical language that any of us can appreciate. At the same time, she lays bare the hyperbole and misconceptions that are being propagated in the media. This book can be, and should be, read by the proverbial man or woman-on-the-street, the silicon valley guru, members of congress, or a student of the humanities, as well as by professional scientists and engineers. They will all profit enormously from it. --Geoffrey West, distinguished professor at the Santa Fe Institute, and author of Scale: The Universal Laws of Life, Growth, and Death in Organisms, Cities, and Companies

"If you think you understand AI and all of the related issues, you don't. By the time you finish this exceptionally lucid and riveting book you will breathe more easily and wisely." --Michael S. Gazzaniga, Director of the SAGE Center for the Study of Mind, University of California-Santa Barbara, and author of The Consciousness Instinct

Computers are capable of feats of astonishing intelligence, while at the same time lacking any semblance of common sense. Melanie Mitchell takes us through an enlightening tour of how artificial intelligence currently works, and how it falls short of true human understanding. The challenges and opportunities discussed in this book will be crucial in shaping the future of humanity and technology. --Sean Carroll, author of Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime

"Melanie Mitchell deftly provides the reader with a keen, clear-sighted account of the history of AI and neural networks. She explores refinements of the Turing Test, Ray Kurzweil's Singularity (a little dubiously), deep machine learning, computer vision, translation programs, ethical issues, and many other topics, their history, modern development, and the ebb and flow of the hype surrounding their various incarnations. What is most impressive is that without getting too technical, Mitchell sketches enough details and clever illustrations that one gets a good intuitive understanding of AI, both its special purpose machines and its attempts at developing a more general intelligence. A wonderfully informative book." --John Allen Paulos, Professor of Mathematics, Temple University, and author of Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences

Melanie Mitchell nails it: current AI does all kinds of neat tricks, but there's no real understanding there, and until there is, we will never get to the real promise of AI. --Gary Marcus, Founder and CEO of Robust.AI and co-author of Rebooting AI

--This text refers to the hardcover edition.


A leading computer scientist brings human sense to the AI bubble --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07QPR8W6V
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Pelican (15 October 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 13248 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 423 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 272 ratings

About the author

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Melanie Mitchell is the Davis Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Melanie's book "Complexity: A Guided Tour" won the 2010 Phi Beta Kappa Science Book Award, was named by as one of the ten best science books of 2009, and was longlisted for the Royal Society's 2010 book prize. Her newest book is "Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans".

Melanie originated the Santa Fe Institute's Complexity Explorer project, which offers free online courses related to complex systems. For more information, go to

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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 August 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars A (weak) sceptical account of AI
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 June 2020
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Danilo Poccia
5.0 out of 5 stars Great broad and deep overview of the history and status of AI
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 February 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 October 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and thought provoking book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 June 2021
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