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The Road to Conscious Machines: The Story of AI

Michael Wooldridge



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17 March 2020
Social forecasting, future studies; Impact of science & technology on society; Popular science; Inventions & inventors; Artificial intelligence
Series: Pelican Books
In the past twenty years, AI has transformed from a niche field with questionable reputation to the most speculated-about pursuit in contemporary culture. But how much of our perception of AI as self-aware, conscious and autonomous beings is a pipe dream cooked up by the charlatans and snake-oil salesmen of science?

In The Road to Conscious Machines, Michael Wooldridge tells the story of AI, from its origins in the first Turing computers to DeepMind and newer innovations that will shape the next few decades. Mythbyusting AI's capabilities as logical, rational, intelligent, independent actors, Wooldridge makes a convincing case that most AI engineers are - like everyone -- just figuring things out as they go along.

In this deft and detailed survey of AI's booms and busts, Wooldridge brings a healthy injection of humility to an overhyped field. AI appeals to fundamental questions about what it means to be human; so too do the failures and limitations of its past.
By:   Michael Wooldridge
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 222mm,  Width: 144mm,  Spine: 37mm
Weight:   527g
ISBN:   9780241396742
ISBN 10:   0241396743
Series:   Pelican Books
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   17 March 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Michael Wooldridge is a professor of Computer Science and Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford, where he is a Fellow of Hertford College. He has been an AI researcher since 1989, and has published more than 350 scientific articles on the subject. From 2014 to 2016, he was President of the European Association for AI, and from 2015 to 2017 he was President of the International Joint Conference on AI (IJCAI). He lives in Oxford with his wife and two children.

Reviews for The Road to Conscious Machines: The Story of AI

In an age when AI is promoted as either the greatest threat or best hope for humanity, Wooldridge gives us a text that is accessible and authoritative. A balanced and informed view of the decades-long history of AI, its methods and techniques, achievements and shortfalls. -- Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Professorial Research Fellow in Computer Science and Principal of Jesus College, Oxford The buzz around AI has unearthed many questions and in The Road to Conscious Machines you get answers. -- Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX and Chair of the UK Government's AI Council In the long and often frustrating quest for artificial intelligence, something spectacular has happened in the past decade. Nobody understands the past, the present, the promise and the peril of this new technology better than Michael Wooldridge. He has written the definitive account of the new AI. -- Lord Matt Ridley, author of 'The Rational Optimist' and 'The Evolution of Everything' Calm, informative and refreshingly free of hype, Wooldridge's effortlessly readable book is the perfect guide to the history and future of AI. -- Tom Chivers, science writer and author of 'The AI Does Not Hate You' Takes us expertly by the hand through the labyrinth of Artificial Intelligence. A penetrating and lucid contribution to our digital understanding, which dispels many of the myths surrounding AI. Authoritative but accessible and highly readable. * Lord Clement-Jones CBE, Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence 2017-2018 * A terrific book - essential reading for everyone seeking to make sense of Artificial Intelligence. Wooldridge provides a clear-sighted and entertaining account of both the technical development of AI and the social and ethical issues arising from its increasing deployment. -- Professor Sir Adrian Smith, Director and Chief Executive of The Alan Turing Institute

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