Monday, November 30, 2015

The Master Algorithm

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World
by Pedro Domingos
Basic Books, 2015. 352 pgs. Nonfiction

This book discusses one of today’s hottest science topics, that of machine learning and the algorithms that allow it. In the digital age, algorithms are used for just about everything including how Amazon and Netflix recommend books and movies to email spam filters to how Obama’s 2012 election campaign used four simple questions to help win the election. However, our current algorithms do have their failings. They still fail to do seemingly simply things a human brain can do in an instant such as recognize a cat from any angle no matter how blurry the image.

In addition to giving you a basic understanding of how machine learning algorithms work, this book also discusses the quest to find the master algorithm. The one algorithm capable of discovering all knowledge from the data it is fed. This would include curing cancer, completely understanding evolution and genetics, and so much more.

I think this book would be the perfect read for anyone with a slightly better grasp of math and science than me. The author does try to write this for the average person and there were many fascinating parts, but I also found myself a little lost at times. Overall, a great read to better understand how important data is becoming in everyday life. Something we are all affected by and, therefore, should have a basic understanding of.


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