Into the Heart of the Mind

An American Quest For Artificial Intelligence

"A good, acces­sible re­port for the gen­eral reader on one of the most bizarre fas­cina­tions of mod­ern sci­ence."

— Theo­dore Roszak, San Fran­cis­co Chron­icle

"Lucid and authoritative . . . it demystifies a disturbing subject. . . . No one knows how the cognitive areas [of the brain] work: how vision is interpreted, memory is stored, or thought is processed. No one even knows what thought is. Consequently, computer simulations of the brain are attempts to imitate the unknown."

— The Washington Post

"An excellent job of demystifying the AI research community."

— The Houston Post

"A science book that reads like a novel . . . fast-paced and fact-filled. "

— Booklist

"Heady reading . . . This engrossing book reports . . . experiments with MOPs (Memory Organization Packets) and other techniques in the attempt to program the government-funded computer Kim No-VAX."

— Publishers Weekly
FOR DECADES, some of the best scientific minds in the world have been competing to create artificial intelligence. But the approach they’re taking today—the approach that’s yielded such breakthrough programs as ChatGPT and seen startups like OpenAI and Anthropic reach valuations in the billions of dollars—is dramatically new. In the early 1980s, in a cramped laboratory tucked away in the Berkeley engineering school, another such team was trying it the hard way. “Machine learning” was a thing of the future. Like researchers at other AI labs at the time, they had to program the computer with everything it knew. Their goal was to teach a minicomputer named Kim No-VAX to think—not just to shuffle data but to learn, reason, remember, understand English, and exhibit what we call “common sense.” But first they had to get it to put on a raincoat before going outside in the rain.

 

National best-seller    Excerpted in Esquire as “The PANDORA Project”    Profile of AI skeptic Hubert Dreyfus adapted from the book for Science 85  ●  Also published in France, Germany, India, Japan, the Netherlands and the UK

The Sea We Swim In

How Stories Work in a Data-Driven World

"It’s a zingier version, then, of the post-Aristotelian story-theory books beloved of screenwriters, with a rich range of reference that takes in the novels of Gustave Flaubert as well as the twists of ABC's 'Lost.' But the analysis has a wider salience. . . . It’s critical thinking for an age of pervasive media."

— The Wall Street Journal

BUILDING ON INSIGHTS from cognitive psychology and neuroscience, ‘The Sea We Swim In’ shows us how to see the world in narrative terms, not as a thesis to be argued or a pitch to be made but as a story to be told. This is the essence of narrative thinking. More about this book...

The Art of Immersion

How the Digital Generation Is Changing Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories

"A highly readable, deeply engaging account of shifts in the entertainment industry which have paved the way for more expansive, immersive, interactive forms of fun . . . accessible and urgent."

— Henry Jenkins, author of "Convergence Culture"

NOT LONG AGO WE WERE passive consumers of mass media. Now we approach television, movies, even advertising as invitations to participate. We are witnessing the emergence of a new form of narrative that is native to the In­ternet. More about this book...