Artificial Intelligence: The Very Idea

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"Machines who think―how utterly preposterous," huff beleaguered humanists, defending their dwindling turf. "Artificial Intelligence―it's here and about to surpass our own," crow techno-visionaries, proclaiming dominion. It's so simple and obvious, each side maintains, only a fanatic could disagree.

Deciding where the truth lies between these two extremes is the main purpose of John Haugeland's marvelously lucid and witty book on what artificial intelligence is all about. Although presented entirely in non-technical terms, it neither oversimplifies the science nor evades the fundamental philosophical issues. Far from ducking the really hard questions, it takes them on, one by one.
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