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I loathed this book. The moment I saw the title I bought the book and made it my next read. I love books on or about thinking machines and intelligence. I've listened to three of the other series of essays edited by Brockman, and in general I found them satisfying much as I find a good Las Vegas buffet, while I'm doing it I think it's the greatest thing in the world, but after I'm done I'm not sure it was the right thing to do.
There's no way they should have compiled these random thoughts about thinking machines into a book form. I'm not against non-experts opining on topic matters outside of their field of expertise, but at least they should give a little bit of thought on the topic before they submit an essay. I was insulted by the simplistic nature and the lack of thoughts that were put into most of the essays (and I'm really not easily insulted!).
I would have been better served by taking the money I paid for this "book" and going to a bar and buying a picture of beer and talking about thinking machines with three random strangers than I was by these essays.
My only real guess about this travesty of a book is that it was written by a computer program to prove that machines can't think, because this book gave me nothing (with very few exceptions, Sean Carroll, Nick Bostrom, and a couple of others had things to say).
By the way, have I mentioned how I really didn't like this book and really, really, really would not recommend it? Buy at your own risk.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
This collection of essays and blurbs has the usual mix of relevant, knowledgeable content along with a large proportion of the pointless, irrelevant, silly, or soap-boxing STUFF that should be trimmed by any good editor.
However, without the STUFF there would be, maybe, five or ten entries instead of the advertised & touted 150-odd.
But this ratio of 10 out of 150 makes this particular book that much better than the usual example of the genre.
Certainly: I am growing to despise these "what do 'important' Scientists think" books, because they all contain the disappointing revelation that many of the supposed "Important Scientists" can't or don't.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful