Some implications of "digital" for academic publishing

Category: book reviews Page 1 of 3

In defence of book reviews





Figure 1 A typical firewalled review of an academic title

What is the point of book reviews – to be specific, books that potentially

have some kind of academic interest? David Beer, in an interesting LSE Impact blog post (which he actually entitles “In …

The Book of Why: the problem of causality

Judea Pearl’s The Book of Why (co-authored with science journalist Dana Mackenzie) (2018) is a tantalising read. For the initial premiss of the book, I am convinced by Pearl’s description of the limitations of current tools, particularly in statistics. He describes three levels of causation:…

Artificial Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction (Margaret Boden, 2016)

I’m a great admirer of the Very Short Introductions: clear, concise outlines of a topic by an expert in the field. Well, this book is certainly very short, but how good is it as an introduction?  Readers hoping for a good exposition of present-day AI …

The Great Schism: Strong v Narrow AI

The perfect robot?

One way to explain the current state of AI is to see it as two (or more) opposing views of the world. Strong AI is the goal of creating consciousness in a machine, as measured in the Turing Test: if you can’t …

Wooldridge, The Road to Conscious Machines

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927): the robot and its creator

I find histories of artificial intelligence very revealing. Computing as an academic discipline is relatively recent, but AI in particular has always been a cross-over subject, something that has been studied by academics for over 75 …

Books of the Year 2018

This is the time of year when the newspapers announce their books of the year. Unfortunately, the reviewers often praise each other’s books, or simply state they couldn’t put it down, without explaining why. Things are a bit different here; every one of the books …

Do baseball stats help you understand climate change?

Nate Silver likes a bet, so much so that he quit his job and became a full-time poker player for some years. So perhaps it is not surprising that this is an author with a passion for probability, whose interpretation of Bayesian reasoning is gambling …

Are there good and bad metaphors?

George Lakoff is famous (according to Wikipedia) for the “conceptual metaphor theory”, which is that people are influenced by the metaphors they use.

Intrigued by this claim, I read the short book Metaphors We Live By (1980), by Lakoff and co-author Mark Johnson.  Sure enough, …

Crossing the Chasm: a classic business title

It’s so sweet to see names such as “Word Perfect”or “VisiCalc” Such names have the magical aura of products remembered from long ago, like “Bovril” or Cod Liver Oil.  Crossing the Chasm is full of such names, even though the author Geoffrey Moore candidly admits …

Algorithms to live by: How they have already changed your life

Tutorials about machine learning are, it seems two a penny. However, guides to machine learning by machine learning experts, however solid they may be as textbooks, frequently seem to lack ways in which the tools can be applied to a particular domain – in my …

Page 1 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén