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Christmas books for 2017

December 8th, 2017 No comments

Some suggestions for books this Christmas. As always, the timing of books I suggest is based on when they reach the top of my books-to-read pile, not when they were published.

“Life ascending: The ten great inventions of evolution” by Nick Lane. The latest thinking (as of 2010) on the major events in the evolution of life. Full of technical detail, very readable, and full of surprises (at least for me).

“How buildings learn” by Stewart Brand. Yes, I’m very late on this one. So building are just like software, people want to change them in ways not planned by their builders, they get put to all kinds of unexpected uses, some of them cannot keep up and get thrown away and rebuilt, while others age gracefully.

“Dead Man Working” by Cederström and Fleming is short and to the point (having an impact on me earlier in the year), while “No-Collar: The humane workplace and its hidden costs” by Andrew Ross is longer (first half is general, second a specific instance involving one company). Both have a coherent view work in the knowledge economy.

If you are into technical books on the knowledge economy, have a look at “Capitalism without capital” by Haskel and Westlake (the second half meanders off, covering alleged social consequences), and “Antitrust law in the new economy” by Mark R. Patterson (existing antitrust thinking is having a very hard time grappling with knowledge-based companies).

If you are into linguistics, then “Constraints on numerical expressions” by Chris Cummins (his PhD thesis is free) provides insight into implicit assumptions contained within numerical expressions (of the human conversation kind). A must read for anybody interested in automated fact checking.

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ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 42 Artificial intelligence

December 2nd, 2017 No comments

What has been preventing Artificial Intelligence being a success? Yes, you guessed it, until now ISO has not had an SC (Standards’ Committee) dealing with AI. Well, the votes are in and JTC 1/SC 42 Artificial intelligence is go.

Countries pay ISO to be members of an SC and the tax payers of: Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and United States have the pleasure of being founding member countries of SC42.

What standards/technical-reports are those attending SC42 meetings going to working on?

The two document titles I have seen so far are: “Artificial Intelligence Concepts and Terminology” and “Framework for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Systems Using Machine Learning (ML)”.

I hope the terminology document arrives in plenty of time, before the machines take over. The ISO Standard for Year 2000 terminology arrived in December 1999 (there was a flurry of emails desperately trying to row-back on this document).

Want to join up? Wael William Diab is the chairperson.

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