Book Review: Brainmakers

BRAINMAKERS: How scientists are moving beyond computers to create a rival to the human brain.

By David H. Freeman.
Touchstone. 1995.
224 pages. English.
ISBN: 067151055X

This is a somewhat old book that I found some time ago in a small book store (in fact, what I found was the Spanish translation “Los Hacedores de Cerebros“, which is the one that I have actually read). Although almost 15 years have passed since this book was edited, I found it really interesting for those who want to start with an easy introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Consciousness.

Even though the book is not specifically dedicated to the field of Machine Consciousness, the last chapter is devoted to this issue, and strong AI arguments are discussed. Hence, I think this book is a very neat entry point for someone who wants to get introduced both to AI and finally Machine Consciousness. The good think is that this is not just a descriptive book; instead it covers the bio-inspired approaches to AI through historical review, which I think is nice because it provides the reader with the required background to really understand the big problems behind current scientific advances in the field.

The book should not be taken as a comprehensive review of AI approaches and advances. In fact, it is quite focused in bio-inspired approaches, being Artificial Neural Networks, Semi-artificial Neural Networks, and Evolutionary Computation the main focus of the book. Other paradigms, like Cellular Automata and Swarm Computing are also briefly discussed, but many other AI approaches are simply ignored.

In sum, this is not the latest review of AI bio-inspired techniques, nor a comprehensive historical review of the AI field, but it worth reading if you are interested in some of the remarkable particular advances of the last decades that have lead us to the current state of the art. Nevertheless, it should be combined with other sources in order not to have a biased perception of the evolution of strong AI.



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