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The Brain Makers Hardcover – March, 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
The book, as its subtitle suggests, is about "genius, ego, and greed"--the personalites involved in AI. It's not about the importance of neural networks vs the relevance of expert systems. As for the "discot" review that says to take some of the information with a grain of salt, Newquist includes nearly 15 pages of footnotes to back up his research. That should be good enough for most readers.
All in all, I found this book to be an insightful observation and reflection on what AI could have been. I'd recommend it over books by AI participants like Raymond Kurzweil, who obviously have personal motivations to keep selling AI snake oil in their self-promoting books.
The author inserts his own perspective throughout the book, with mixed results. He is attracted to the dirt, the scandal, the quirky personality, and this leads to some interesting reading, interesting in the way you might listen to the town gossip, in spite of yourself. I had to take his gossip with a grain of salt, because some of it was based on questionable interpretations of the author, but enough was substantiated to be interesting. For example, the rise and fall of AI companies is an interesting story that parallels that the recent dot com cycle, and the AI era has lessons to teach us about the business and management of technology. However the author's bias toward airing dirty laundry sometimes comes across as a sneering attitude, or at least over-dramatization, and some of the ugly pictures he paints seem ugly because of his paint, not the events he reports.Read more ›
The authors writing style is fragmented, making it hard to follow at times.