Chess Metaphors: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind by Diego Rasskin-Gutman
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
One of the most frustrating books I’ve read in a long time. Of the 160-odd pages about 30 hit the spot in terms of I what I wanted this book to be. the rest I could easily have lived without. Especially the epilogue. I’m still seething about that.
The book begins with a lot of backstory, biology, psychology and computing. Being a computer programmer I found the computing section to be little better than a quick tour of some of the figures of computing and a random paste of a snippet of C code. My suspicion being that any non-programmer would likely have taken nothing away from that as much as I really didn’t connect the impact of the biology to the later discussion.
The best bits of the book cover the development of artificial intelligence programs that play chess and how they worked against tournament-level players. This gave me a real insight into how such programs accomplish their task but distinctly tailed off towards the end leaving many questions unanswered. For instance the author seems lukewarm about the use of the minimax algorithm but declines to say what he prefers or say say why he’d prefer to see other algorithms champion the space. The point at which computers beat men then just turns into a turgid description of how much power the computers had.
Frankly, avoid this. Neither stimulating enough to be a layman’s tour nor in-depth enough to be a professional discussion of the problem space.
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