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The Brain Makers Hardcover – March, 1994

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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An intriguing study of men and women who have tried--and are still trying--to attain one of mankind's oldest goals: the creation of intelligence in something of our own design. The Brain Makers shows how artifical intelligence is being developed for both "Traces the development of Artificial Intelligence through specific historical references. Includes pointed arguments for and against the development of a technology that will change the way computers ""behave"". Explores the premise and the promises of ma". -- Sams Pub.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1st edition (March 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672304120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672304125
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Having been involved in the technology business for way too many years, I found Newquist's book to be a pretty accurate account of what went on in the AI world. It's not a book about technology or programming, so if you're looking for technical data, try a textbook. But if you want to know why artifical intelligence died a slow and ugly death, you'll have all your questions answered here.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book both interesting and limited. Having encountered AI technologies and personalities at various points in my career, it was interesting to get from the author a more comprehensive view of what was going at the personal and organizational levels during the period covered by the book. The author's view of these matters was culled primarily from his experience as editor of a newsletter called AI Trends during that period. I visualize the author writing this book by pulling from stacks of old newsletters, article clippings, corporate brochures, and notes from interviews and discussions he had as a journalist on the beat. I see this book's value mainly in that it summarizes a lot of information about AI people and organizations in one place, organizing it into thematic chapters.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book when it first came out, and found it compelling. Meticulously researched but with plenty of human interest, it's hard to imagine a better book on such a subject. As someone who has carried out AI research (in neural computing), I also found the author's account of what went wrong with the previous AI revolution (in expert systems) very valuable in highlighting the dangers of hype. AI has since become mainstream, and I hope the author might consider a followup. In short, highly recommended, though today perhaps in need of an update.
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Format: Hardcover
This book provides a history of the Artifical Intelligence field. Personalities, companies, and even governments roles are described.

The authors writing style is fragmented, making it hard to follow at times.
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