cover image Machinery of Mind

Machinery of Mind

Johnson, George Johnson. Crown Publishers, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8129-1229-6

Readers interested in artificial intelligence, or AI, should find this full-scale update of the field indispensable. The book takes its place with such notable works on the subject as Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach and Pamela McCorduck's The Universal Machine. In detail, consecutively but with a keen awareness of the interdisciplinary nature of AI, Johnson traces the history of the burgeoning science from its earliest practitioners to today's corporation-funded engineers and experts: Roger Schank, Terry Winograd, Doug Lenat and others who are struggling to create machines that can actually think independently, going beyond man-made programs and ""games.'' Johnson presents the counterarguments of some theoriststhat intelligence is less than soul and that the ``new science'' moves arrogantly into dangerous territory. Necessarily inconclusive, this hefty study is clear, comprehensive and provocative. Illustrations. (September 26)