2016 marks the 60-year anniversary of the phrase ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and in this fascinating book, Luke Dormehl charts the weird and wonderful journey of one of mankind’s greatest projects, the creation of Thinking Machines.
This is a story of how what it means to be human in the face of accelerating machine intelligence. It’s about trying to make computers that are smarter than we are, and what happens when it goes wrong. About what creativity means when all knowledge is data that can be stored on microchips. Or about what happens when machines can learn from their mistakes much faster than humans can. And above all, it’s about the dazzling future around the corner, how our lives might just change forever, and whether you and I aren’t just thinking machines of a sort as well.
What if everything in life could be reduced to a simple formula? What if numbers were able to tell us which partners we were best matched with – not just in terms of attractiveness, but for a long-term committed marriage? Or if they could say which films would be the biggest hits at the box office, and what changes could be made to those films to make them even more successful? Or even who out of us is likely to commit certain crimes, and when? This may sound like the world of science-fiction, but in fact it is just the tip of the iceberg in a world that is increasingly ruled by complex algorithms and neural networks.
In The Formula, Luke Dormehl takes you inside the world of numbers, asking how we came to believe in the all-conquering power of algorithms; introducing the mathematicians, artificial intelligence experts and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are shaping this brave new world, and ultimately asking how we survive in an era where numbers can sometimes seem to create as many problems as they solve.
On 26 May, 2010 Apple Inc. passed Microsoft in valuation as the world's largest technology company. Its consumer electronic products - ranging from computers to mobile phones to portable media devices, not to mention its iTunes, iBook and App Store - have influenced nearly every facet of our lives, and it shows no sign of slowing down. But how did Apple - a company set up in the back room of a house by two friends, and one that always marketed itself as the underdog - become the marketplace leader (and the world's second largest company overall), and is it a good thing to have one company hold so much power?
In The Apple Revolution Luke Dormehl shares the inside story of how Apple Inc. came to be; from the formation of the company's philosophies and user-friendly ethos, to the "iPod moment" and global domination, leaving you with a deep understanding of how it was created, why it has flourished, and where it might be going next.
Luke Dormehl is a journalist and filmmaker and author of The Apple Revolution: The Real Story of how Steve Jobs and The Crazy Ones Took Over the World. His writing has appeared in publications including The Chap, SFX and Fighting Spirit. He has conducted numerous interviews with people for both print and television, including, Sir Ian McKellen and Alain de Botton. Dormehl has directed several documentary films, most recently The Pantomime (2009), a look at behind-the-scenes turmoil in a small village panto, which was narrated by the actor Simon Callow.