Some implications of "digital" for scholarly writing and publishing

Category: book reviews Page 2 of 4

Who reads scholarly book reviews?

Reading Time: 4 minutes
The TLS: around 35 book reviews every week

It is a commonplace that nobody reads any more – the Web has put a stop to all that. I googled “Has the Internet destroyed reading?” and got 378 million hits, including (among …

How to talk about books you haven’t read

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The challenging title of Pierre Bayard’s book – but anything is possible for a Parisian intellectual

Bayard’s book created something of a stir in literary circles when it was published, in 2007. I approached this book because it touches on some …

From Recommendation Engines to self-knowledge

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This is a book that packs a punch – although it’s not quite the punch the reader might expect. Published in the MIT “Essential Knowledge” series, Michael Schrage’s Recommendation Engines moves from ancient Greece to the recommender systems we are familiar …

Scott Galloway, The Four

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I set out to discover just what makes Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google tick, but I abandoned the book once I had discovered what made the author tick.

Finesse is not Scott Galloway’s strong point. The Four (2017) claims to explain …

In defence of book reviews

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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 …

The Book of Why: the problem of causality

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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 …

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

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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 …

The Great Schism: Strong v Narrow AI

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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 …

Wooldridge, The Road to Conscious Machines

Reading Time: 3 minutes
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 …

Books of the Year 2018

Reading Time: 2 minutesThis 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 …

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