The Most Human Human

Author: Brian Christian
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 0307476707
Size: 79.70 MB
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Explores how computers are reshaping ideas about what it means to be human profiling the annual Turing Test to assess a computer's capacity for thought while analyzing related philosophical, biological, and moral issues.

The Most Human Human

Author: Brian Christian
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 0385533071
Size: 47.50 MB
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Each year, the AI community convenes to administer the famous (and famously controversial) Turing test, pitting sophisticated software programs against humans to determine if a computer can “think.” The machine that most often fools the judges wins the Most Human Computer Award. But there is also a prize, strange and intriguing, for the “Most Human Human.” Brian Christian—a young poet with degrees in computer science and philosophy—was chosen to participate in a recent competition. This playful, profound book is not only a testament to his efforts to be deemed more human than a computer, but also a rollicking exploration of what it means to be human in the first place.

Algorithms To Live By

Author: Brian Christian
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1627790365
Size: 78.63 MB
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A fascinating exploration of how insights from computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives, helping to solve common decision-making problems and illuminate the workings of the human mind All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such issues for decades. And the solutions they've found have much to teach us. In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, acclaimed author Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths show how the algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one's inbox to understanding the workings of memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.

The Success Of Open Source

Author: Steve WEBER
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674044991
Size: 62.99 MB
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Much of the innovative programming that powers the Internet, creates operating systems, and produces software is the result of "open source" code, that is, code that is freely distributed--as opposed to being kept secret--by those who write it. Leaving source code open has generated some of the most sophisticated developments in computer technology, including, most notably, Linux and Apache, which pose a significant challenge to Microsoft in the marketplace. As Steven Weber discusses, open source's success in a highly competitive industry has subverted many assumptions about how businesses are run, and how intellectual products are created and protected. Traditionally, intellectual property law has allowed companies to control knowledge and has guarded the rights of the innovator, at the expense of industry-wide cooperation. In turn, engineers of new software code are richly rewarded; but, as Weber shows, in spite of the conventional wisdom that innovation is driven by the promise of individual and corporate wealth, ensuring the free distribution of code among computer programmers can empower a more effective process for building intellectual products. In the case of Open Source, independent programmers--sometimes hundreds or thousands of them--make unpaid contributions to software that develops organically, through trial and error. Weber argues that the success of open source is not a freakish exception to economic principles. The open source community is guided by standards, rules, decisionmaking procedures, and sanctioning mechanisms. Weber explains the political and economic dynamics of this mysterious but important market development. Table of Contents: Preface 1. Property and the Problem of Software 2. The Early History of Open Source 3. What Is Open Source and How Does It Work? 4. A Maturing Model of Production 5. Explaining Open Source: Microfoundations 6. Explaining Open Source: Macro-Organization 7. Business Models and the Law 8. The Code That Changed the World? Notes Index Reviews of this book: In the world of open-source software, true believers can be a fervent bunch. Linux, for example, may act as a credo as well as an operating system. But there is much substance beyond zealotry, says Steven Weber, the author of The Success of Open Source...An open-source operating system offers its source code up to be played with, extended, debugged, and otherwise tweaked in an orgy of user collaboration. The author traces the roots of that ethos and process in the early years of computers...He also analyzes the interface between open source and the worlds of business and law, as well as wider issues in the clash between hierarchical structures and networks, a subject with relevance beyond the software industry to the war on terrorism. --Nina C. Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education Reviews of this book: A valuable new account of the [open-source software] movement. --Edward Rothstein, New York Times We can blindly continue to develop, reward, protect, and organize around knowledge assets on the comfortable assumption that their traditional property rights remain inviolate. Or we can listen to Steven Weber and begin to make our peace with the uncomfortable fact that the very foundations of our familiar "knowledge as property" world have irrevocably shifted. --Alan Kantrow, Chief Knowledge Officer, Monitor Group Ever since the invention of agriculture, human beings have had only three social-engineering tools for organizing any large-scale division of labor: markets (and the carrots of material benefits they offer), hierarchies (and the sticks of punishment they impose), and charisma (and the promises of rapture they offer). Now there is the possibility of a fourth mode of effective social organization--one that we perhaps see in embryo in the creation and maintenance of open-source software. My Berkeley colleague Steven Weber's book is a brilliant exploration of this fascinating topic. --J. Bradford DeLong, Department of Economics, University of California at Berkeley Steven Weber has produced a significant, insightful book that is both smart and important. The most impressive achievement of this volume is that Weber has spent the time to learn and think about the technological, sociological, business, and legal perspectives related to open source. The Success of Open Source is timely and more thought provoking than almost anything I've come across in the past several years. It deserves careful reading by a wide audience. --Jonathan Aronson, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California

Sapiens

Author: Yuval Noah Harari
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062316109
Size: 31.23 MB
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New York Times Bestseller A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.

Our Robots Ourselves

Author: David A. Mindell
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0698157664
Size: 27.91 MB
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“[An] essential book… it is required reading as we seriously engage one of the most important debates of our time.”—Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age From drones to Mars rovers—an exploration of the most innovative use of robots today and a provocative argument for the crucial role of humans in our increasingly technological future. In Our Robots, Ourselves, David Mindell offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the cutting edge of robotics today, debunking commonly held myths and exploring the rapidly changing relationships between humans and machines. Drawing on firsthand experience, extensive interviews, and the latest research from MIT and elsewhere, Mindell takes us to extreme environments—high atmosphere, deep ocean, and outer space—to reveal where the most advanced robotics already exist. In these environments, scientists use robots to discover new information about ancient civilizations, to map some of the world’s largest geological features, and even to “commute” to Mars to conduct daily experiments. But these tools of air, sea, and space also forecast the dangers, ethical quandaries, and unintended consequences of a future in which robotics and automation suffuse our everyday lives. Mindell argues that the stark lines we’ve drawn between human and not human, manual and automated, aren’t helpful for understanding our relationship with robotics. Brilliantly researched and accessibly written, Our Robots, Ourselves clarifies misconceptions about the autonomous robot, offering instead a hopeful message about what he calls “rich human presence” at the center of the technological landscape we are now creating. From the Hardcover edition.

What S Alive

Author: Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0064451321
Size: 58.40 MB
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How to tell the difference between living and nonliving things—an essential first skill in scientific sorting and classifying—is explored with hands-on activities and colorful diagrams. Best Children’s Science Book List 1995 (S)

The Singularity Is Near

Author: Ray Kurzweil
Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co
ISBN: 0715640151
Size: 70.92 MB
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Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil examines the next step in the evolutionary process of the union of human and machine. He foresees the dawning of a new civilization where we will be able to transcend our biological skills with the vastly greater capacity, speed and knowledge-sharing abilities of our creations. In practical terms, human aging and illness will be reversed; pollution will be stopped and world hunger and poverty will be solved. There will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. The Singularity is Near offers a view of the coming age that is both a dramatic culmination of centuries of technological ingenuity and a genuinely inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny.

Reclaiming Conversation

Author: Sherry Turkle
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143109790
Size: 64.86 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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Preeminent author and researcher Sherry Turkle has been studying digital culture for over thirty years. Long an enthusiast for its possibilities, here she investigates a troubling consequence: that we have stopped having face-to-face conversation in favour of technological connections such as texts or emails. Based on five years of research and interviews in homes, schools and the workplace, Turkle argues here that we now have a better understanding of this phenomenon, and that going forward, it's time we reclaim conversation, the most human thing that we do.

The Social Animal

Author: David Brooks
Publisher: Random House Incorporated
ISBN: 0812979370
Size: 10.44 MB
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From the influential New York Times columnist and best-selling author of Bobos in Paradise comes a landmark exploration of how human beings and communities succeed. Reprint. A #1 best-seller.