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Publisher's Summary

This program includes an introduction read by the author.

No recent scientific enterprise has proved as alluring, terrifying, and filled with extravagant promise and frustrating setbacks as artificial intelligence. The award-winning author Melanie Mitchell, a leading computer scientist, now reveals its turbulent history and the recent surge of apparent successes, grand hopes, and emerging fears that surround AI.

In Artificial Intelligence, Mitchell turns to the most urgent questions concerning AI today: How intelligent - really - are the best AI programs? How do they work? What can they actually do, and when do they fail? How humanlike do we expect them to become, and how soon do we need to worry about them surpassing us? Along the way, she introduces the dominant methods of modern AI and machine learning, describing cutting-edge AI programs, their human inventors, and the historical lines of thought that led to recent achievements. She meets with fellow experts like Douglas Hofstadter, the cognitive scientist and Pulitzer Prize - winning author of the modern classic Gödel, Escher, Bach, who explains why he is “terrified” about the future of AI. She explores the profound disconnect between the hype and the actual achievements in AI, providing a clear sense of what the field has accomplished and how much farther it has to go.

Interweaving stories about the science and the people behind it, Artificial Intelligence brims with clear-sighted, captivating, and approachable accounts of the most interesting and provocative modern work in AI, flavored with Mitchell’s humor and personal observations. This frank, lively book will prove an indispensable guide to understanding today’s AI, its quest for “human-level” intelligence, and its impacts on all of our futures.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Melanie Mitchell (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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Start understanding AI right here!

As a high school computer science teacher, I have found that this book is doing what no other resource could do for me... make AI comprehendible in a way I can share and discuss with high school students. Mixed with some AI activities that I am getting from a secondary source, I am now on my way to creating an introductory AI unit that will help students understand better the world of AI and what is really happening as all of our appliances, cars, and the general world appear to get smarter around us.

8 people found this helpful

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Excellent perspective on the field

Melanie Mitchell has done a great job summarizing the state of AI research. She touches on the most important advances, ideas and problems in the field. She gives due credit for the amazing progress that has been made while tapering the hype and expectations that has been overblown by some media outlets. She makes a great case for analogy-making as a crucial technique needed for AI systems to advance further towards human-like performance.

WARNING: If you like to listen to audiobooks while otherwise engaged (e.g. while exercising), this book may not be for you. There are over 50 figures in the accompanying PDF of this book and many of these illustrations are crucial to understanding the explanations of AI systems like Conv Nets and reinforcement learning. As someone who was already familiar with these topics, i didn’t lose much from not viewing them, but beware if these ideas are new to you.

1 person found this helpful

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Highly recommended

The author does a great job at explaining the history of AI & where we currently are with machine learning. Great for beginners and computer scientists who want reinforcement.

1 person found this helpful

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Get your popcorn ready

What a great book. But there is a major problem with it. Or put more accurately I have a big problem with it: it's too engaging to listen to before bed. Which. I think. Is not too terrible of a problem for a book to have.

Do you know Melanie Mitchell? I didn't before buying this audiobook. In fairness I'm still very new to the whole Ai space so there are way way WAY more people and things within that space that I know nothing about than things I do know about. Anyway the point is that unlike other times this was not a case of already being a fan so I'm not coming in with a personal bias favoring Melanie. I mean. I have that bias now but I didn't when I made the purchase.

Why the bias? Because she has written one of the best written books I've read on any topic. And this ain't exactly a breezy topic. Yeah it's so wild how well she balances pretty much everything. Tone. Details. Complexities. History. Accessibility. I've noticed that technically oriented people who write books often seem to fall in love with writing writerly prose. They fall in love with their own ideas and words. Yeah I don't get any sense of that when I read Mealanie's book. Well. When I listen to it. Which brings up the next thing. The voice actor.

My goodness. Okay. Like it was with Melanie I had never heard OF Abby Craden. But it turns out I had HEARD her before. You probably have too. Her delivery reminds me of something like a cross between the narrator on "Desperate Housewives" and GLaDOS from Portal. But warmer than either. Yeah as soon as Abby started narrating I was like "Welp. Okay. Sure. Why wouldn't you get the most perfect sounding female voice actor for the most perfectly written book on artificial intelligence? Of course you would. Stack the deck. Why not." And tbh I was already fine with the sections that Melanie herself narrated. But yeah when Abby started reading I knew this book had fully won the game.

If everything is so great then why did I start off saying it's not good bedtime listening material? Well like I mentioned it's just too engaging. It flows too well. It's narrated too well. It's written too well. It's about too interesting of a topic. It's too well-balanced. It's just too good to drift off to ya know? Like it feels like if I do that I'm not holding up my end of the bargain. And don't mistake all the goodness of this book as too polished or harmless or safe. It's not. It's just freaking good. Like if I ever write a book about anything this is how I'd want my book to read. I may still write differently because I'm a different person than Melanie but I'd still want my book to read as well as this book reads.

Blah blah yeah yeah. What about the content itself? It's good too. It's great. But I'm guessing that was the easier part to pull off. Especially since Melanie got her PhD under freaking Douglas Hofstadter and John Holland. Yeah no I think the hard part was making the technical and historical stuff interesting and accessible without dumbing things down or hyping things up. And. Obviously. Melanie did all of that like a champ.

I think one of the main things I get from listening to this book is how careful Melanie was about creating it. And I mean careful more in the literal sense of full of care than I do in the sense of being cautious. The feeling I get is that it was very important to Melanie that her book be a lot of things to a wide range of people and that it do all of those things authentically well.

And don't worry. If I found out tomorrow that Melanie actually used Ai to generate this book as part of some NLP and speech synthesis experiment I would not be mad at all. Good on her if that's what happened because it would just demonstrate how far Ai has advanced since the Perceptron. I'll stan for her and her work in either case.

If you enjoyed this review or found it helpful go ahead and click the "Helpful" button below. When you do it helps people like you and me find out about cool books like this.

1 person found this helpful

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Decent

Decent primer on the past, present and future of AI. Contained too much fluff for me.

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Great

Great book, easy to understand and gives a very prtactical overview of the subject, strongly recommended.

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clear, informative, reasonable, excellent

The reader gets a good overview (although I would assume at a pretty basic level), of where artificial intelligence and machine learning are positioned at present. The book is neither too easy not too hard. On the whole, hers is a sensible and somewhat deflationary (compared to many popular accounts) account of the powers of artificial intelligence and machine learning now and in the foreseeable future.

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Clear, informative and entertaining

this is a wise book. it explains the major endeavours in AI in a clear and accessible way for non experts and non native speakers of English. At the same time the author gives an in depth view of the achievements, challenges and methods used in AI research, warning the reader about the risks involved. As a linguist I personally found this book amazing. The author has a realistic and well grounded view on AI, which is highly appreciated among too many sensational books on this topic.

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Very good!

This is a great overview of artificial intelligence! Was very useful, informative and interesting

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An excellent analysis of modern AI

Mitchell does a fantastic job explaining where AI is and why. The examples on the book illustrate the problems researchers are facing and why these problems are so challenging.

I would strongly recommend this to anyone who is interested in AI and would like to understand how it works. After reading this I am both more optimistic and more concerned about what affects future AI may have on humanity.

Thanks to Sean Carroll for recommending this in his Mindscape podcast.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Paul Masters
  • 08-16-20

Superb

I highly recommend his book. It provides a great overview of AI and the challenges the field faces.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Milan Topalov
  • 01-11-20

Ultimate overview of the state of AI in 2019

This was a pure joy to listen. Great writing, great reading. Clearly explained concepts, lots of examples, engaging, up to date. No word was wasted.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Prof Edward
  • 04-13-22

reader in sample is NOT reader for most of book

The narrator in the sample (the author) is NOT the narrator for the majority of the book.
For the majority of the book it's a woman with a robotic monotone voice. It's laughably ironic and such a shame, it quickly becomes unbearable to listen to. I'm going to just read the paperback instead. Abby Craden is an awful narrator for this book.

TLDR: The content is excellent, narration is robotic and terrible. Avoid.

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  • Lloyd D.
  • 04-06-22

Good content, poor narration.

Felt like the narration was a computer voice - monotone in pitch and staccato in pace. There might be a degree of irony if this is the case given the subject of the book. If it is a human narrator then I apologise for any offence caused, I just didn't warm to the voice at all and found it distracting the whole way through.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-25-22

Excellent content, narration a bit robotic

Puns aside, it's a great introduction and very accessible. Looking forward to reading some of the books the narrator mentioned as being her inspiration

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  • BryanP
  • 01-06-22

Fascinating insight into AI

This book provides an introduction to the ability of human intelligence and compares it with the difficulties AI has to imitate it. As you might expect, much of the content is complex but it left me with a clearer general understanding of the subject. The conclusion of the book that the threat of AI at present is nothing compared to that of the artificial stupidity currently available is revealing.

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  • Benjamin Colchester
  • 12-17-20

A perfect introduction to AI

I cannot recommend this book enough. Melanie Mitchell takes you on a beautifully choreographed journey through the field of AI from its inception to the present day. A must read for anyone with a desire to understand AI and its implications for the future.

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  • Dil
  • 12-17-20

easy read

book was good and informative on general knowledge of AI. You will not learn to program AI programs by reading this book.
narrator was brilliant, pleasant voice

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  • Mr GS Mccreadie
  • 02-18-20

SYMBIOSIS

i wonder if human intelligence plus artificial intelligence will equal a new type of intelligence

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fabien
  • 01-03-22

Excellent book on AI

This book relates many historical accounts on the development of artificial intelligence powered applications, starting with video games. It also details many current flaws such as coding intuition and common sense. Great book!

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  • Ant
  • 08-26-21

A great read

Great book for walking through the basics of this critical but often not well understood space.

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  • Ben Hosken
  • 11-12-19

Brilliant book that goes to just the right depth

This book covers a very wide set of topics within AI, with some of the best examples and explanations of how machine learning and AI work that I have ever heard. The author explains the challenges and issues faced in AI and does so without sounding superior or dismissive.

This is truely the best overview of the current state of AI for people with an interest in the field that I have read.

I highly recommend it if you have some background in AI/ML or if you want more than a newspaper article depth on the topic.

Brilliant.