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Tag Archives: Marginalia

Book of the Week 8: Deep Thinking by Garry Kasparov

Book of the Week 8: Deep Thinking by Garry Kasparov Garry Kasparov’s Deep Thinking (UK) (US) is subtitled “Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins”, although on that particular point it is not especially profound. Nevertheless I’ve found it well worth a second read. The book has two particular strengths. First, the account of account of Kasparov’s battles with IBM’s Deep Blue, which reads like a thriller. Kasparov is clearly very sore about how IBM behaved,...

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Book of the Week 7: To Engineer Is Human by Henry Petroski

Book of the Week 7: To Engineer Is Human by Henry Petroski Henry Petroski is a fascinatingly eclectic writer – a nerd with the soul of a poet. I relied upon his book The Pencil: A History in writing the opening chapter of the forthcoming The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy (coming in May), and turned to Success Through Failure while writing Adapt. I was delighted to receive To Engineer Is Human as a Christmas present – one of those rare surprise presents that...

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Book of the Week 6: What We Need To Do Now

Book of the Week 6: What We Need To Do Now Chris Goodall’s latest book is What We Need To Do Now (For A Zero Carbon Society). I confess a temperamental kinship with Goodall: he’s a nerd, with a calm manner and an underdeveloped sense of outrage. This, I like very much. The book starts from the premise that we need to get carbon dioxide emissions down dramatically, and focuses on the UK: “the purpose of this book is to give an outline of the strategy the UK needs to adopt to...

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Book of the Week 6: What We Need To Do Now

Book of the Week 6: What We Need To Do Now Chris Goodall’s latest book is What We Need To Do Now (For A Zero Carbon Society). I confess a temperamental kinship with Goodall: he’s a nerd, with a calm manner and an underdeveloped sense of outrage. This, I like very much. The book starts from the premise that we need to get carbon dioxide emissions down dramatically, and focuses on the UK: “the purpose of this book is to give an outline of the strategy the UK needs to adopt to...

Read More »

Book of the Week 5: You Look Like A Thing And I Love You

Book of the Week 5: You Look Like A Thing And I Love You What surprised me about You Look Like A Thing And I Love You is that it’s genuinely funny – laugh-out-loud-funny, read-quotes-to-your-family-over-breakfast-funny. Who would not be charmed by an AI that develops My Little Pony names and suggests “Parpy Stink” and “Starsh*tter”? Or the accidental Murderbot that was supposed to be acting as a friendly usher? Or the curiosity-driven AI that plays Pacman by going to watch the...

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Book of the Week 5: You Look Like A Thing And I Love You

Book of the Week 5: You Look Like A Thing And I Love You What surprised me about You Look Like A Thing And I Love You is that it’s genuinely funny – laugh-out-loud-funny, read-quotes-to-your-family-over-breakfast-funny. Who would not be charmed by an AI that develops My Little Pony names and suggests “Parpy Stink” and “Starsh*tter”? Or the accidental Murderbot that was supposed to be acting as a friendly usher? Or the curiosity-driven AI that plays Pacman by going to watch the...

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Book of the Week 4: The Body – A guide for occupants

Book of the Week 4: The Body – A guide for occupants A confession: Bill Bryson came to visit the More or Less studios, gave us a signed copy of his book and was wonderfully charming to all of us. I was well-disposed to him before I even cracked the spine.That said: it’s a wonderful book. I used to read a lot of Bryson books (as a rambler, A Walk In The Woods had particular appeal) but it had been a while since I picked one up, and I’d forgotten just what an effortlessly engaging...

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Book of the Week 4: The Body – A guide for occupants

Book of the Week 4: The Body – A guide for occupants A confession: Bill Bryson came to visit the More or Less studios, gave us a signed copy of his book and was wonderfully charming to all of us. I was well-disposed to him before I even cracked the spine.That said: it’s a wonderful book. I used to read a lot of Bryson books (as a rambler, A Walk In The Woods had particular appeal) but it had been a while since I picked one up, and I’d forgotten just what an effortlessly engaging...

Read More »

Book of the week 3: Rebel Ideas

Book of the week 3: Rebel Ideas I hesitated to read Matthew Syed’s Rebel Ideas, not because I disapproved, but because I wondered whether I would learn anything new. The territory is familiar: cognitive diversity leads to better decisions. Like attracts like, meaning that we fill our organisational toolkits with hammers and neglect to recruit the screwdrivers, hacksaws and wrenches. That’s a bad idea, no matter how good the hammers are.But my hesitancy was a mistake: Rebel Ideas...

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Book of the week 3: Rebel Ideas

Book of the week 3: Rebel Ideas I hesitated to read Matthew Syed’s Rebel Ideas, not because I disapproved, but because I wondered whether I would learn anything new. The territory is familiar: cognitive diversity leads to better decisions. Like attracts like, meaning that we fill our organisational toolkits with hammers and neglect to recruit the screwdrivers, hacksaws and wrenches. That’s a bad idea, no matter how good the hammers are.But my hesitancy was a mistake: Rebel Ideas...

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